Most of Scotland’s livestock farmers by now should have ample, excellent quality forage stored, either as silage, haylage, and even some super smelling hay secured. I have seen plenty of absolutely beautiful smelling winter keep on several farms.

Our country’s largest crop is grass, with a large proportion of it conserved for the needs of our livestock during our long winters. What has been disappointing as I travel to various regions, is the amount of under grazed grass. Is that because of less livestock or the exceptional growth year we seem to be having? One thing is certain, bonnie wee Scotland is really looking picture perfect right now!

In a few days I will be taking my annual trip up the centre to Dingwall Auction Market’s Anniversary Sale, viewing the stunning sights and the various types of farming on the way. Hopefully by this weekend, the boss at Dingwall, Grant, will know what the whole auction system rules will be regarding new Covid regulations by July 19.

Speaking to their chief, Neil Wilson, I do not think we should hold our breath because his response from ScotGov has been absolutely disgraceful. Oh, to have Fergus Ewing in control! We have a major problem in this country called civil servants, or should I say, little Hitlers, and we all know what happened to him! It is a great pity when power goes to some people’s heads, they lose their common sense!

Hopefully our auction markets will resume normality very soon for many reasons. We are not like football crowds. Take Wembley, as an example – could they have packed any more people in with most not even vaccinated? I would bet that more than 90% at auction markets are vaccinated. I should not go down the Wembley result route, suffice to say that not everyone in the four nations was mourning!

On the Covid vaccination subject, I am afraid I cannot understand why some perfectly healthy people will not get the jab. If they sadly catch Covid, they will have difficulty finding sympathy if they refused the vaccination.

The pain of leaving the EU is now really kicking in. Firstly, the fishing industry has clearly been sold down the river (pardon the pun) with Westminster doing its best to keep the severity of that out of the news headlines. Could we, in agriculture be next? I certainly would not like to be farming in England with their hare-brained replacement for CAP.

It is absolutely clear that they want reduction in food production to be replaced by wildlife and non-food producing ideas such as wild flowers and weeds. I can only assume this Tory administration thinks there is plenty of cheap food around the world that can be imported, with no effect on polluting the environment by hauling it around the world instead of producing it here at home. Look at the damage Brexit is doing to staff availability in virtually every sector, from lorry drivers to every conceivable machine operator you can think of, and dare I mention our own industry, from milking cows, fruit and vegetable pickers, and every processing facility.

Highlighted last week were the abattoirs that are heading for a serious shortage of staff, all because Boris and his Tory cohorts have made it virtually impossible for Eastern European workers to come back into the UK, and what is the result going to be – massive inflation. I have been talking about it for months, all because labour costs are going to rise, plus materials, such as steel and timber for example, have doubled in the space of months, not years.

Back at farming level, fertiliser, fuel, feed, repairs to machinery, particularly tractors are all rising. I am afraid no matter how hard Boris tries, the cost of food to the consumer can do nothing but increase and one that certainly needs to do so is beef in all its forms.

I did some market research on supermarkets – fillet, sirloin, rib-eye and mince, all of which have hardly moved up in 10 years. I did Aldi, M and S, Morrisons, Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury. All had steak at under £20 per kilo, and Aldi was as low as £16, followed by Tesco, Asda at £16, M and S, and Sainsbury at £18. Virtually all had steaks at £4 or less per steak with mince as low as £5 per kilo. Meat to the consumer is cheap when one compares it to fish, for example, which, on a per kilo basis is more expensive.

At the farm level we are not at the required £4.20 per kilo yet, on average, but there is every indication that it might get there soon. With the cost increases at the production end £4.20 needs to happen, otherwise the decline in numbers will continue, which is, of course, what come civil servants want anyway!

So, are we going to see empty shelves of beef? I nearly saw it at M and S in Coatbridge last week when there were only six sirloin steaks left on the shelf – no fillet, no rib-eye, plenty of mince. Maybe I was in at a bad time!

Another interesting aspect of my supermarket visits was what I found out by talking to several customers at the beef shelves. I think there is a move away from the lean, red meat with no marbling fad, and that was within an age range from 30’s to 60’s plus. The message I was finding was that there was a distinct move to marbled beef because of the taste and flavour. Is there a move from the consumer towards quality beef as opposed to lean, tasteless beef?

One thing is for sure, if Aussie beef does come to these shores, in volume, you will have a job finding lean meat from ‘down under’ with the same applying to products from the USA. It is not the cost of imported steaks that bother me, it is the quality and consistency. We have no chance of competing, and as I have said many times, it is because of our out-dated EUROP grading system!

Now to another slant on global warming, and it has nothing to do with cattle emissions! At Ayr Market last week I was speaking to pigeon racing enthusiast, John Dunlop, who works at the market, and has enjoyed this hobby for many years. A couple of weekends ago, pigeons from all over UK were let off south of London to race home, but only a handful of the Scottish pigeons arrived home.

Normally they travel at around 45 miles per hour, but last week it was only half that speed. It seems the majority of the Scottish pigeons ended up on the Continent, and the pigeon people are wondering why?

Is it because of airway changes? Have 5G phones something to do with it, as that is one theory? It begs the question, are scientists going down the wrong road about pollution and its effect on climate? 50 years ago we had no mobile phones so the airways were little affected by this modern technology. How much pollution did Sir Richard Branson’s trip to outer space cause last week?

Take this tiny phone I carry in my right breast pocket, which allows me to communicate with people anywhere in the world, in seconds. I could not do that 50 years ago, but do we know how much that is polluting the atmosphere? Is that a cause of climate change? Take our five grand children, who have phones constantly in use. Stop for a moment in any shopping complex, and note that almost 90% of the young generation are on the phone, and older ones too!

The question must come soon as to when are our airways going to become overloaded and will the scientists tell us that has a part to play for climate changes? So, why blame the cows? Whether it be dairy or beef, they have not changed in 100 years. They have a calf to rear and feed, or produce milk, which humans consume to survive. Yes, the technology to produce the milk has changed from hand-milking to parlours and robots, all computerised through the airways, even to leg bands that communicate to the farmer by mobile phones, when they come in season!

Hand held readers that communicate EID to computers with every piece of information, through the airways, which was historically all done manually. That is only one tiny aspect of livestock farming. Look how much the airways are polluted by industry. When we left the EU, our TV screens were filled with thousands of trucks going to and from the EU, which did not happen 100 years ago.

I often wondered how many of them were empty and just burning fuel needlessly at a massive cost to both the business and environment! Human affluence has a large part to play in all this pollution, with livestock, which has reduced significantly over the last 100 years, being miniscule, in comparison.

My father, who lived until his 90th year, often said he had seen many changes, but pollution and climate change were not in his vocabulary.