After the death of his father, William MacConnachie looked around High Dalrioch holding, just outside Campbelltown, and surveyed what had been left to him in succession.

In 1962 Mr MacConnachie wondered if he could make a living from the farm, which was made up of bleak whin covered slopes. Problems abounded for him - the 190-acre holdings were composed of rushes and water at 250 feet above sea level.

He decided to turn his head to the flock of 100 ewes scattered among the heather but he worried how the cost of wintering them and the five cows added little value.

Mr MacConnachie's love of the land pulled him through and TSF reported on his lush, green oasis in a brown hillside which he achieved through draining and fertilising eight further acres which were reclaimed from the whins and heather.

A herd of 21 Ayrshire cows and followers was carried and hoggs were home-wintered. It took Mr MacConnachie years of hard work to achieve this success and took him right up to his year of retirement.

He said at the time: "I have been working since 13 years of age and, if I had my chance I would do it all over again."

10 years ago

Milk prices hit the headlines in 2002 with farmers speaking out about over production and a price of 8p a litre.

Ian Evans, of Penklin, Garlieston suggested producers got on the phone to the chief executive of the co-op they supply and urge them to do a deal with a creamery and toll process surplus milk.

John Duncan, chief executive of First Milk said to carry toll processing out on a large scale was not feasible.

A scarcity of farms to let was feared if proposed pre-emptive right to buy contained in the Scottish Executive's Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Bill is given the green light.

The warning came from Calum Innes, head of the Rotal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) who said: "I can appreciate why the farm tenant right to buy looks attractive but, as professionals working in the market, we are aware that landowners are likely to be discouraged from letting land, or, indeed, investing in let land as a result."

Following the foot-and-mouth crisits, Scottish agricultural shows received a boost when the Scottish Executive confirmed that cattle taken out to only one show would not be subject to any foot-and-mouth quarantine on return to their home farm.

Show organisers hoped this would encourage a fair portion of the show's regulars to turn out. Farmers were also reminded to bring cattle's passports on the day so a full record of movement could be completed.

Pro-foxhunting campaigners announced they were planning a march on September 22, 2002 in London.

Countryside Alliance chief executive, Richard Burge, promised there would be no let up in the pressure being put on the government over the direction of its rural policy.

He said: "This march forms a key part of, but is not a replacement for, the varied and continuous programme of events and demonstrations which the Alliance has already confirmed it will be mounting as part of its summer of discontent and beyond."

25 years ago

The sheep industry was trying to get its act together in the face of the summers of 1987's major review of the EEC sheepmeat regime.

NFU Scotland invited all producer organisations to a meeting to hammer out a co-ordinated industry view which could be presented in the forthcoming discussions with the UK Government and the EEC authorities.

John Ross, vice-president and livestock convener of the union said it was vitally important the industry spoke with one voice and defended the current arrangements strongly.

An announcement was made that the price-setting of Britain's wholesale fruit and vegetable markes is to be examined in detail.

The co-operative Development Board of Food from Britain has commissioned a major study into wholesale markets to see how much they affect prices farmers and growers received for all their produce.

Milk board officials admitted that quote leasing in 1987 was a dead duck.

Scottish Milk Marketing Board, Walker Duff believed that with the new marketing year already started and with no decision made by the government about a continouation of leasing, the matter had probably 'fallen by defailt'.

He said: "We have been advising producers for months to plan their production on the basis that leasing would not be available."

Employment prospects for graduates in agriculture and horticulture had improved over the previous three years and were seen as very good.

Of 593 students graduating in agriculture in 1985, 93% found jobs by the end of the year. Some 43% went into farming, 32% into industry and commerce, 13% into public service and four% into teaching.

The figures came from the annual meeting of the UK Conference of Agricultural Professors who also warned that there was a decline in applicants for degree courses due to "the adverse publicity received by agriculture in connection with food surpluses and damage to the environment."

50 years ago

Hill sheep farmers were anxious over the low state of in-lamb ewes and decreasing prices for hill wools published in the British Wool Markeing Board's 1962 schedule.

Flock masters had begun comparing the year with 1947 when sheep losses were disastrous. The start of hill lambing saw hard frosts being reported all over and snowfall at the end of the previous year had interfered with tupping and many ewes failed to get in-lamb as a result.

Wool prices also worried farmers and they began wishing they had opposed more vigerously the move to stop payment of the hill premium.

The first ever Crofers' Parliament of the Highlands and Islands met in April of 1962, with eight crofters' unions sending delegates and resulted in the creation of a Federation of Crofters' Unions.

Articles of constitution were formulated for approval of the individual member unions. It was decided the aim of the federation was to unite all crofters' unions and to promote the formation of these where none at present exist. Its duty was to advance lands and Islands and to maintian inviolate their secutity of tenure.

A brand new extension was opened at Lawmuir Agrucultural School, Jackton, East Kilbride at a cost of £100,000.

The new steading included a silage pit, hay shed, stores and dairy premises, dairy byre and pump room, hay shed and calf pens, milking plant, milk cooling plant and lots more.

It allowed the number of pupils to rise from 40 to 60 and saw boys from Glasgow schools send there for a year at the age of 14.

The Central Scotland Pig Breeders and Quality Bacon Association Ltd was formed to improve British bacon.

Mr W K. G. Reid, Netherton, Bridge of Allan said the formation of the association was an attempt to place Scottish producers on the same level with English producers in the matter of quality bacon.

It was felt there was scope in the area for such an association which would help producers and breeders to improve their management.

100 years ago

Wood worms prompted a colourful article in 1912 in which the correspondent questions what a wood worm looks like.

"Having occasion to break up for firewood some old packing-cases that had become riddled with holes, and where a danger to the furniture, I came across several of the little "worms". They are like tiny, fat, white grubs. Looking up a dictionary, I find that a wood-louse is described as a flat, slate-coloured insect, which infests rotten wood - evidently a different species altogether from the house-pest. The 'wood mite' is defined as an insect that attacks old wood - probably the same as the worm. After all, what does it matter what we call it?"

Gretchen gave a top tip to brighten leather-covered chairs in 1912.

Thake two parts of boiled linseed oil, and one part vinegar: shake well together in a bottle. Wipe the leather clean with a damp cloth to remove dust and grease, and when dry, apply a little of the above mixture on a soft flannel, rubbing it well in; then polish with a soft duster, finishing off with selvyt.

Delightful weather was seen at the Royal Dublin Society's Annual Spring Show.

It was reported that the country looked very green with grass far forward. The show "lacked go" which had characteristed it in recent years.

During the show butter, cream and cheese was judged by Mr John Drysdale, Edinburgh. The competition was largely confined to creameries. Two of the most successful were the Rattoo Co-operative Dairy Society and The Duke of Ballyvistea Co-operative Dairy Society.

A worried farmer asked what steps should a farmer take to authorise a person not in his employ to shoot dogs worrying his sheep.

He was told that the only persons who are warranted in shooting dogs while in the act of worrying sheep are the owners of the sheep or persons in their employ, and also the owners of the dogs.

The answer added, it has not yet been satisfactorily decided, that an uninterested person is entitled to shoot the dogs.