The main thing that comes to mind over the last month is that it has rained.

We have had 10 inches in October, making it the wettest month of the year and taking our total to 42 inches – a little over the five-year rolling annual average, with two months still to go.

We are a test farm for an SAOS managed project based around the use of sensor technology on farms with a company called Smart Rural. They are using some magical wizardry to send information to a computer, or phone app that might help our management. There is an electronic rain gauge that has measured three rainfalls this autumn that have resulted in floods.

Other gadgets include a temperature sensor in the medicine fridge which showed some uncomfortable variations, which prompted a new(er) fridge and a sensor in the silage pit effluent tank also reminded us that rainwater run-off fills the tank at a time when it is easily ignored.

Not all the sensors have proven useful yet. The tracker on Neil’s quad bike tells me where he was half an hour ago, which isn’t always very helpful, and we haven’t got a solution to a lone-worker alarm, although the tech-guys are hopeful.

In an area where we have little mobile phone signal and jobs where we could find ourselves in peril at odd times of the day or night – an easy to send ‘help’ request may one day be useful.

Lambs have done well on red clover aftermaths with 300 gone this month. They have averaged 20.2kg deadweight and returned just over £84 home. This is up over £15 on the year and £10 on two years ago.

Sales are forward a bit too – if you count 400 lambs sold for breeding already. The remaining lambs are now all on forage crops and we hope to keep picking away at them with a draw every fortnight.

We thought we had done a good job of drafting them into weight bands at weaning to save time sorting through light lambs when they could be left alone in the field gaining weight.

We swithered about putting light lambs straight onto rape but turned them onto a rich field of red clover in the interest of an easier transition at weaning and maybe growing them out.

However, when we gathered them to move onto forage after a month, some looked a bit bouncy and we drew about 10% ready from that mob too. Those lambs must have put on 10kg in a month – which is over 300gms per day.

Rams have gone out to Texel ewes. A proven sire that we used heavily last year, a new chap from Fearn and two home-bred ram lambs. We are looking to balance continuity with trying to find the next successful sire and keeping a good selection of bloodlines going forward.

We were excited about a smart, homozygous polled Simmental bull with good figures in our sale, and we were fortunate that John Ritchie allowed us to draw semen from him before he leaves. David Baxter had the unenviable task of getting between a very keen young bull and a horny cow at the critical moment, collecting two jumps that produced 800 frozen straws at UK Sires. We will use some of this in the Simmental herd this year.

Luing bullocks are mostly away finished, returning around £1200 at 320kg grading mostly R and some O+ at 4L fat cover. We doubt they’d have made £900 at turnout, so I think that’s a fair margin for summering them.

This year was a bit of a trial and we will repeat it. A field of extra mouths for the summer competes well against cereals in terms of margin and leaves another field for sheep to pinch a living off at the shoulders of the season.

Some of the last bullocks will go to the local butcher for Neighbourfood orders in the run up to Christmas. The beef we are selling just now is an 18-month-old Aberdeen-Angus cross Luing grass-fed heifer and is eating really well, with a lot of positive feedback from customers.

Calves are mostly weaned and inside with one big lot still out in an area of woodland grazing. Some good silage analysis is going to keep the ration cost for their winter under control especially as we have found dark grains hard to source. There is plenty of mediocre silage as well – but cows are in very good order and can stand to lose a bit of condition.

Part-time tractorman, Brian, has got a step up to a good cattleman’s position in Fife, where we wish him all the best. This means that Neil has had to learn how the new tractor works – is he the only farmer who doesn’t like driving tractors?

We were discussing EBVs with a ram client recently, who said something like ‘the figures are a good guide and you wouldn’t buy a tractor just because of the colour, would you?’ … awkward silence followed, as it seemed we just had!

I am trying to fit in a Rural Leadership course this winter. Because it is mainly on Zoom, it means the time commitment is more achievable. I am enjoying meeting the rest of the group and the early sessions have been interesting.

In a psychometric testing analysis I learnt that I am a last-minute kind of person. I have a feeling that The Scottish Farmer editorial team already knows this!

Angus did a few days hand-lifting potatoes in the tattie holidays. Both children are back at school and having lots more serious tests in case exams don’t happen again. They are glad to be back meeting friends at Scouts, although Rugby and Pony Club are a bit stop/start with changing regulations.

Strathmore Rugby Club has been very clever, introducing a Strava (exercise app) group, awarding players exercising the most in a week. Unfortunately, rolling bales and forking silage is not a ‘recognised activity’.

Finally, it is our 20th wedding anniversary next week. You don’t have to know that. I’m just putting it out there – in case Neil reads this. Hoping for a more romantic effort than the Hoover for our 10th anniversary....