WE'RE out available to buy at least a day earlier than normal this week!

This is to try and beat the twin threats to your weekly delivery of The Scottish Farmer from the VE Day Bank Holiday and no Royal Mail deliveries at weekend because of the Covid-19 lockdown. We didn't want to disappoint our loyal readership, so – for one week only – we have re-jigged our print schedules to try and get this week's edition to you in time for the weekend. We hope you enjoy your favourite farming newspaper.

While The SF has not come through these difficult times unscathed, we have people striving hard from the confines of their own home to produce this newspaper and we have several staff on furlough, not to mention being part of a steep economic downturn.

While it has been a treacherous time for us, that does not belittle the efforts of our front-line NHS staff, the people who support them and you, the farmers that support everyone by filling the nation's shopping baskets with some of the finest food available. It has been a team effort. Well done to all.

Highlights this week include:

• Our new Living in Lockdown series explores the effect Covid-19 restrictions is having on some of those who support the industry. Patsy Hunter interviewed photographer Catherine MacGregor, rosette-makers Marjory and Ian Davidson, and some of the stockmen and women that will really miss the show season, Kim Brown, plus husband and wife team, Carol and Richard Rettie, on how they are coping with the downturn … or in some cases, the upturn!

• A bright spot would appear that the property market is set to ‘bounce back’, according to estate agency, Galbraith, which we report has a book full of ‘significant pent-up demand’.

• Our search for the ‘Champions of the Decade’ continues this week, with the Highland cattle, Border Leicester sheep and Holstein dairy breeds in the frame to choose from. We also report on the first of our short leet of winners, the top three from the Suffolk, Beef Shorthorn, Ayrshire, North Country Cheviot and Aberdeen-Angus breed are announced in the paper – did you get it right?

• Our popular ‘Stockmen of our Time’ feature this week gets Mauchline-based Jack Ramsay’s views on Highland and Beef Shorthorn cattle and his first love – bantams!

• Star of our Women in Ag page this week is crofter, book writer and whisky expert, Mary MacGregor, from Islay. Kathryn Dick has produced a great read and an insight into island life.

• The Contractor’s Yard series this week are the Pollock family, who operate almost a stone’s throw from the Royal Highland Showground, where they run a successful business alongside a sizeable poultry unit. Julie Wight found out how they juggled their work load to keep both businesses running smoothly.

• Fancy trying out some new recipes this weekend? Then turn to our Lifestyle pages where some of our staff reveal their favourite (and in some cases award-winning) recipes … plus a couple of tasty Scotch Beef meals from QMS to put something different on the table this weekend. Enjoy!