Positivity was a word that was oft used at the Royal Highland Showcase this week. Even the more sceptical amongst those who doubted RHASS' decision to go ahead with a behind closed doors event, would be blown away by the professional way the show was undertaken.

That it went well and provided hours of on-line entertainment was quite positively down to the high standard of stewarding of the various livestock sections. In many ways, it was a lot more relaxed than a 'normal' event, but by no means less well run.

That was a factor in the exhibitors enjoying the process and getting back into the way of doing what the Highland does best ... putting on a grand show of livestock. But what an eerie sight it was to see half of the Highland Hall empty.

For those forced to watch from the comfort of their own homes the quality of production was first class and there were very few tecchie glitches to annoy the viewer. It has to be said, also, that the commentating teams put up by RHASS were able to interpret 'show talk' very well – with some cheeky comments to help lighten proceedings when not very much was going on.

And, the good news is, there's still much to see this weekend with the promise of a great show of dairy calves and showmanship classes, as well as the excitement of the sheep shearing and the announcement of the Young Farmer of the Year winners.

Plus, there's showjumping action and light horse competitions for the equine enthusiasts to drool over.

A bad hand?

The expected trade deal with Australia appeared to get off the ground this week and it's not a great deal for British farming and with Scotland's weighting towards livestock, any bounce back will have a more pronounced impact for us.

For the moment, the only saving grace is that there would not appear to be a great deal of meat around in the world and that might mean that importing red meat from the other side of the globe is not the attraction that it might be. Jim Brown's recent Farm View column and Norman Bagley's opinion on this page, have been sceptical that the world is not awash with meat proteins.

The worry remains, though, that 'equivalence of standards' promised will not stand scrutiny. The one thing we can be thankful for is that hormone-treated meat appears to be off the menu – but again there is a nagging doubt that not much will be done in the way of checking the provenance and veterinary standards of such imports.

A Government that gives away Scotland's lucrative seed potato trade at the stroke of a pen, yet still allowed imports into this country, does not engender much positivity. There's that word again, but in a different context.