DNA testing of the disputed bull, Ballinloan Jaegerbomb, confirmed the identity of its correct dam in April of this year – and allowed it to retain its pedigree status. The Limousin Cattle Society issued a statement confirming that the parentage issue with the bull had been ‘successfully resolved’. 
April also saw payments starting to be made from ScotGov’s Less Favoured Area loan scheme, which was created to bypass delays in accessing the actual EU-funded LFASS cash via the troubled Rural Payments computer system.
More than 7000 advance payments worth over £42.8m had by then been processed, with the first reaching bank accounts in the first half of the month. These ‘loans’ would be automatically deducted from EU payments once LFASS 2017 scheme applicants were approved through the system. Meanwhile, further loan offers and payment runs would be made in the coming weeks. 
A University of Sussex scientist suggested that farmers should be paid to give over parts of their land to enable beavers to create natural flood defences. Professor Fiona Mathews, a professor of environmental biology, hoped that post-Brexit reform of agricultural subsidies could be used to greater incentivise farmers to allow their land to be set aside for use as natural flood defences, which could include reintroducing beavers to help slow the flow of water through river catchments with their dam-making skills. 
A Scottish diary herd was recognised as one of the 10 highest performing in the UK after being given the status of ‘Master Breeder’ by Holstein UK, one of the most prestigious awards within the breed. It was the culmination of nearly 45 years of breeding for the Sloan family – Bryce and Anne together with son Robert and his wife Emma – who were one of the first to introduce the Holstein breed at Townlaw, Ayrshire, some 45 years ago. 
In order to be crowned Master Breeder, herds must be of high standard in terms of classification and production, but also filled with trouble-free cows that boast longevity as well as desirable traits and confirmation. 
Promised changes to the EU’s unpopular ‘three-crop’ rule started falling into place, as rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing moved to seek derogation from imposing crop diversification in Scotland for the 2018 scheme year. 
Following the period of prolonged bad weather throughout last autumn and winter, then into spring, ScotGov chose April to move forward with proposed changes to the scheme rules. 
Commenting on his decision, Mr Ewing said: “The prolonged harvest and on-going wet conditions had a serious knock on effect on cereal farmers ability to sow planned crops. This has already seen a reduction of around 20% of winter crops being established and significant delays for cereal farmers in sowing spring crops. This has immediately reduced options available to meet the three-crop rule for Scotland’s cereal farmers. 
April also saw First Milk sacrifice its cheese production in Scotland by putting its creameries at Campbeltown and Arran up for sale. 
The move was announced to producers by First Milk chief exec, Sheila Hancock, who told them that following a review the two creameries were no longer a strategic fit for the co-op. 
Only around half of the 29 producers in the Kintyre milk field were there to hear the news. She stated: “A sale would enable us to continue with our focus on developing our major creameries in Haverfordwest and the Lake District and delivering best value for our members’ investment. The review identified that there is undoubtedly a market for the premium Mull of Kintyre and Isle of Arran brands but capturing the opportunities would require significant investment that is not core to our strategic direction.
“Campbeltown and Arran creameries will continue to run as normal during the sale process and we will be working closely with prospective buyers to ensure a smooth transition,” she said. 
A package of support for farmers and crofters to help address the impacts of the weather was announced by Fergus Ewing – including a new £250,000 fund to help farmers offset the cost of retrieving fallen livestock. 
The ScotGov appointed weather panel recognised that recent severe weather had caused a rise in stock deaths and that financial support should be provided for those incurring additional costs of disposal of dead cattle and sheep. 
It was announced that ‘meat-free Mondays’ had been introduced to council-run primary schools in Edinburgh, to the outrage of the Scottish red meat sector, which described the moves as ‘ill-informed and ill-judged’. 
The moves made the capital the first local authority in Scotland to adopt the idea, which was first instigated by celebrity vegetarian Sir Paul McCartney, and has since been taken up by schools across England and Northern Ireland, and as far afield as Brazil, South Korea and the USA. 
Edinburgh councillor, Ian Perry said: “Encouraging healthy eating is extremely important, so it’s fantastic that our primary pupils are being introduced to the benefits of eating less meat at a young age.” 
Scotland’s growers admitted that they were struggling through a stop/start spring. With a week of sun quickly turning to a week of heavy rain, many farmers failed to plant their planned areas of winter crops in 2017 due to the poor weather and with spring only just arriving, growers were having to be realistic about the yields of grain and straw from crops planted late in the year. 

Supermarkets were stealing the headlines as we went into May, with major retailers Asda and Sainsbury’s proposing a merger that those supplying the companies described as ‘dangerous’. 
It was believed that a potential union between the two UK supermarket giants would tie up almost 30% of the country’s retail market and create the biggest supermarket chain in domestic history. 
A statement from Sainsbury’s on April 30, promised to shave 10% off prices for every day items as well as streamlining supply chains, leading to concerns from suppliers over where those cuts would be made, and how they could potentially affect UK farmers. 
On completion of the deal, the new mega-retailer predicted to make £500m of efficiency savings, £350m of which were expected to be generated from access to ‘better harmonised’ buying terms – and the worry was that this greater buying power would mean it would expect better deals and cheaper food from suppliers. 
To widespread farmer disappointment, May saw EU member states vote in favour of an almost complete ban on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides. 
Since 2013, the EU had maintained a partial ban on the use of the three key neonic chemicals – imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam – as a result of scientific studies linking their use to the population decline in honeybees, wild bees and other pollinators. 
While that ban was confined to the use of neonics on maize, wheat, barley, oats and oilseed rape, the newly agreed regulation extended that to almost all outdoor uses of the chemicals. 
Despite ScotGov’s official refusal to review the legislation surrounding the outdoor access code, May saw continued sheep worrying incidents prompting a surge in support from SNP politicians for action to be taken to tighten the law on dogs in the countryside. 
Emma Harper MSP, who had been vocal in raising awareness of responsible dog ownership, met with NFUS representatives to discuss what action could be taken. Ms Harper explained: “Following a conversation with NFUS president Andrew McCornick, vice-president Martin Kennedy and other NFUS policy persons last week in Parliament, I spent the weekend reviewing current legislation regarding access to outdoors, land reform, Control of Dogs act 2010 and Dangerous dogs Act 1952 with a view to legislative amendments.”
Just a week after this, Ms Harper announced a consultation towards strengthening the rules on responsible dog ownership around livestock and wildlife. 
Despite caution expressed by ScotGov, Ms Harper – a strong supported of The Scottish Farmer’s ‘Take a Lead’ campaign, was given permission to develop a Members’ Bill on the matter. 
Grahams dairies gave their producers a boost by rescinding the 0.5p per litre reduction that was set to kick in from May 1, keeping their standard litre price at 26.75p. 
In a letter to producers, Grahams said it had made the move because its ‘agile’ business was able to respond to the markets that have strengthened. Managing director Robert Graham said: “As a family business we pride ourselves on our agility and one that recognises the importance of our farmer suppliers.”
While other buyers retained May price cuts, Grahams appeared to have done the right thing by their farmers, according to industry analyst Ian Potter, who suggested other buyers should take note. 
Peter Chapman MSP resigned as the Scottish Conservative party’s spokesperson for rural affairs. The regional list member for the north-east informed party leader Ruth Davidson by letter of his intention to step down, following disputed suggestions that his business interests had conflicted with his political career.
UK industry bodies and companies joined forces to promote best practice that would help protect the continued availability and efficacy of glyphosate-based herbicide products. 
After much debate, the European Commission had renewed the approval of glyphosate for five years – well short of the full 15-year approval the industry had lobbied for. To counter the arguments still being put forward by opponents of agro-chemical use, an industry coalition stressed the importance of action at farm level. 
Women in Agriculture’s spring event in Perthshire was hailed as a ‘fantastic success’, with around 80 delegates in attendance. Chair of Women in Agriculture, June Geyer said: “It is fantastic to see so many women come along to this event. Our presentations provided a range of practical advice as well as inspirational words for women working in Scottish agriculture.”
Changes in antibiotic use caused a row in May, as it was alleged that Scottish farmers appeared to have been kept in the dark about changes aimed at fine-tuning antibiotic use in livestock. The Red Tractor-inspired scheme came under attack just days before its plans were due to come into force. On June 1, the quality assurance scheme’s rules on antibiotic use would change to a ‘test and treat’ regime. Although primarily an English organisation, a lot of Scottish producers working under supply contracts for processors south of the border were under the jurisdiction of Red Tractors processes. Many vets and farmers argued that they had been kept very much in the dark over changes to the rules. 

June started off on bad foot for Crown Estate Scotland as it was slammed over plans to sell off one of its tenanted farms on the Fochabers Estate, with a price tag of more than £1,625,000. 
While other public agencies in Scotland were ‘scratching around to find scraps of land’ which could be used to help young people make a start in farming, the Scottish Tenant Farmers Assocication said that it made no sense for another publicly-owned body to be selling the 280-acre Auchenhalrig Farm. 
STFA said the decision to remove Auchenhalrig from the tenanted-sector was a ‘grave error’ considering the scarcity of available land to let, and wrote to both Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham and CES interim management committee chair, Amanda Bryan, urging them to reverse the decision. 
ABP Perth was awarded £4m from ScotGov’s Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation grant scheme as part of an overall investment of nearly £18m into the company’s infrastructure, intended to transform the site into a ‘world-class facility’, and create 80 new jobs. 
Visiting ABP Perth, Fergus Ewing said: “The Scottish Government is doing everything we can to support Scotland’s successful food and drink industry, which has been going from strength to strength in recent years. Our long-term ambition is to help double that industry’s value to £30bn in the next 12 years.
“Todays investment in ABP Perth is part of a long-term programme, which will help to fund major infrastructure projects – creating jobs and driving on the industry in Scotland.”
Milk producers got a wee bit of a boost in June, as a farmgate milk price of 30p per litre was once again in their sights – at least according to the NFUS milk committee, which declared that the rising commodity market could propel the dairy sector past that magic figure. 
It was prompted by the news that farmer-owned co-op First Milk would introduce a producer price increase of 1.2p per litre from July 1 on its liquid standard litre, taking that to 27.2ppl. 
Welcoming that increase and noting other recent milk price movements, including rises from both Arla and Muller, NFUS milk committee chairman, John Smith, a dairy farmer from Campbeltown, commented: “We firmly believe that a farmgate price of 30p per litre is achievable. It is essential that all parts of the supply chain ensure strengthening markets are reflected quickly in prices.”
Retired ‘king of dairy’, Alexander Craig Wilkie, better known as Sandy, was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list. Recognised for his services to the British and international dairy industry, and to the community in Lanarkshire, Mr Wilkie was one of 1057 people in total to be honoured with various titles. 
Before his retirement, the farming legend served the dairy industry for a number of years at Wilkies, Wiseman, and Muller Milk respectively, and latterly, Milk and More. 
Young people and the opportunities that the world of agriculture has to offer them were the focus of a new online jobs website launched by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. 
Jobfarm Scotland is aimed at raising awareness of work, careers and education opportunities for young people within agriculture, food and associated rural industries, and at introducing young people aged 16 upwards to a host of farms and employers who offer short-term work experience roles in agriculture. 
As part of the presidential initiative which this year came under the auspices of the Lothians, the RHASS is working with schools to give those that perhaps lack formal qualifications the chance to build experience and add things to their CV. 
Scotland’s declining livestock numbers were cause for concern in mid-June, with calls being made for urgent political action – and nothing less than a return to support payments calculated on headage would do. 
In a statement issued on the eve of the Royal Highland Show, Scotland’s meat processors warned that the event could be doomed to diminish in years to come if something wasn’t done to end the stagnation of Scottish farm productivity before Brexit exposes the sector to world markets. 
Calls also increased for a new Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme, to end the labour shortage crisis that was facing fruit and veg producers. Across the industry, the call went out for political action to avoid food being left rotting in the fields after Brexit closes off the existing system for attracting seasonal workers to gather it in. 
“Politicians are making lots of positive noises, but the time for talk has long passed,” Said British Fruits chairman, Nick Marston. “What we need now is action on SAWS as a matter of urgency. If solid proposals are not in place before we leave the EU next March 2019, an industry which is worth millions to the UK economy will wither on the vine and our beautiful British berries will not be available to consumers.”
The month ended in delight for Jennifer Hyslop at the Royal Highland Show as the Limousin she led out for the Graham family of Airthrey Kerse took the beef inter-breed championship. 
The show was also a successful one for The Scottish Farmer’s own Patsy Hunter, as her and her husband Ian, of Dalchirla, Muthill, near Crieff, were named as the 2018 recipients of the Sir William Young Award. The couple has a famed flock of Blackface sheep, which Ian runs alongside a successful commercial sheep operation.