THE 1950s started off with some devastating news for farmers when in 1952 foot-and-mouth disease was found in Aberdeenshire and caused many cattle deaths across the country.

It was also a decade of mixed weather for farmers, with 1955 particularly bad. The year also saw some changes to wool marketing, the Royal Highland Show and saw much excitement built over the first free sales of fat stock. The end of the decade saw important government legislation introduced which would benefit Scottish farmers greatly.

– The turn of the decade saw the establishment of the British Wool Marketing Board in 1950. The board was set up in order to operate a central marketing system for UK fleece wool, with the aim of achieving the best possible net return for producers. The board is still active today, giving farmers a price for the wool sold on the open market.

– A year later, farmers were told they could make money from turkeys with 1951 seen as the eve of big developments in the turkey industry.

– 1952 was a year in which there was a serious outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Only in March had it been reported that there was an outbreak of the disease in Canada, which was causing devastation. Then, in May The Scottish Farmer reported the situation was "most serious" as there were concerns that if the disease was to get out of control the agricultural output of stock and stock products would be greatly reduced. It was reported that the standstill order in place at the time was causing a great inconvenience. The disease broke out in Nethermill, Aberdeenshire, and spread "plague-like" in just a week. It also hit the world-famous Muirside herd of Ayrshire cattle. Owners were paid £54 14s – the largest sum ever paid for one outbreak. The situation was made a lot worse when it was announced by the Ministry of Agriculture that three cases of foot-and-mouth disease in Dumfries and Kirkcudbright had existed for 14 days before they were notified. The SF described this revelation as 'disturbing in the extreme' as 'failure to report is an alarming admission on the part of those concerned, unless they were completely unaware that their stock had contracted the infection.' It was reported that the disease caused 75,000 deaths in the UK.