Much has happened since I last wrote – though I can’t believe five weeks have passed since then and we are now hurtling towards August. How did that happen?

The Highland Show now seems a dim and distant memory. I was sure over the four days, the visitor numbers would be up with the Food and Exhibition halls bursting at the seams, however the stats show more people visited last year.

It’s been a long time since we had a show which was as consistently dry, apart that is, from some heavy rain on the Wednesday evening. Now we know the caravan has a leak!

Dairy numbers were up, according to those in the know – personally, I couldn’t see it! That was particularly evident in the Jersey lines, which means we’re very likely to lose this section if numbers don’t improve dramatically. What lacked in numbers though was certainly made up for in quality.

Well done (again) to the Laird family from Blyth Bridge, who produced not only the Holstein champion, but the Jersey one too. What an achievement.

Colin had to 'fall into line' behind his wife in the supreme honours, though, as Izzy lifted the inter-breed championship with her third-calver. The black and white judge, Rickie Barratt, had us and the Wilsons, from the Evening herd, on tenter hooks as he deliberated between our cow, Witherslack Mincio Joanne and theirs, Riverdane Ashlyn’s Gold.

He very nearly swapped the pair which would have given us second place and, as it turned out, the reserve championship. Now, that would have been a cause for celebration.

Alas it was not to be. We’ll just have to keep trying.

As the Highland drew to a close, the schools began to break up for the summer and with it a timely reminder from NFU Scotland on farm safety.

Last week was Farm Safety Week, but in my book every week should be Farm Safety Week. We should be extra vigilant every day and take every precaution to make our farms safer for children, and adults. My heart was always in my mouth when my kids were younger, and they wanted to take a friend 'out on the farm'.

We can’t wrap them up in cotton wool, but we can take every step possible to make it as safe as possible.

Like most reading this, you will have grown up on a farm and personally I believe there is no better place to spend your childhood, but any death or injury is one too many, especially when it involves a child.

A farmyard is not a playground, so please establish rules about what young people can and can’t do on the farm. An accident of any kind would make you feel bad enough without the added onus of it being something which you could have prevented.

Late last month visitors had the fabulous opportunity to view the Boclair herd of Holsteins, which was crowned winners of the Premier Pedigree Herd competition in 2017. More than 450 people descended on the Bearsden farm for the Holstein UK open day, run in conjunction with our own Scottish Club.

What an opportunity it was to see great cows from great families. David and John Brewster welcomed visitors to Boclair where we had the chance to view their exceptional cows which have won the Scottish herds competition no fewer than 11 times.

The morning was taken up with a stock judging where the Brewster’s were able to showcase some of their best cows, which are milked through Lely robots. It seemed that every second person you speak to is installing robots which are renowned for taking herds to high levels of production – and some heifers at Boclair are giving more than 15,000 litres.

Are dairy staff about to become a thing of the past as robots take over?

The Brewster brothers certainly left me in no doubt how much winning the award meant to them. However we can’t forget the man behind them, their father Jack – 'a stalwart of the dairy industry' if ever there was one.

If you look the word up in the dictionary – a stalwart is loyal, committed, devoted, dedicated, an advocate, a supporter. I could go on and on, but many of us would struggle to find a more committed man to the Holstein breed than Jack. His sons are most definitely following in his footsteps.

Our own herd of Northshields Holsteins will have the chance to compete for that same award next month. I cannot tell you how proud I am of my husband and the rest of the Wilson family on wining the Scottish herds competition. You could have knocked me over with a feather!

We will now represent Scotland against England, Ireland and Wales next month. Blood, sweat and sometimes tears really do pay off! And this year's judge is none other than last year’s winner, David Brewster.

The Scottish competition was ably judged (I would say that of course) by Yorkshire man, Brian Moorhouse, of the Aireburn Herd. He was too modest to mention it, but his son had just been crowned 'Diversification Innovator of the Year'.

Sam Moorhouse recognised the increasing pressure on farm income and the need to identify a way to remain strong. He had read about Icelandic cows and the production of skyr, a cultured dairy product similar to strained yoghurt. He discovered there was a demand for it in the UK and as the saying goes 'the rest is history'.

Life within this industry never gets any easier so perhaps more of us should be looking towards diversification.

At long last we, at least, have had some much-needed rain. Hopefully, this will help grass grow and lessen the threat to harvest yields. Farmers up and down the country are worried about the lack of straw and the likelihood of that available taking a ridiculous hike in price. Yields are down by two tonnes to the hectare in some areas.

On a positive note it has been many years since we saw so much good hay being made. Fingers crossed that the lack of forage isn’t as bad as is being predicted.

Finally, I can’t go without banging on about the price (or the lack of it) of milk. Rumour has it that Producers everywhere are all on at least 30p. Not true!

Some buyers don’t seem to have recognised rising costs across input commodities and the widespread effect the prolonged heat and lack of rain is having on both fodder quality and quantity. Producers need a rise in the milk price to help offset the rising costs of fodder replacement. Rant over – for now!