THERE'S nothing like the Highland Show for polarizing and re-forming opinions, and it is fitting that at the event which woke up to the Brexit poll vote three years ago, it remains a focal point of discussion.

It's pretty evident that the chronic sickness of Westminster (it's own version of BVD?) has pretty much infected the whole country. Would that Scotland could have a 'Brexit-free' zone just as it has a TB-free designation (more of that later).

But some time spent with politicians and prominent farming lobbyists at Ingliston, lends itself to the notion that while Conservative Party front-runner Boris Johnson, should he become PM, might have the ability to unite the blue brigade south of the Border, he will seriously endanger the Union north of it. It was said more than once at Ingliston, that Boris will be more of an ally to independence, than a threat.

On top of that, this industry is so seriously fed up with the gerrymandering from the Brexit fall-out and subsequent leadership shrapnel, that even the Tories in Scotland – many of whom have agricultural links – are privately coming to terms with this notion. However unpalatable to them that may be.


Scotland is proudly TB-free. But could that be about to change?

There are now a few 'hot-spots' of this debilitating disease which, as well as the animal health aspect, could also have serious financial repercussions for the industry, should current outbreaks be allowed to harm that hard-won status.

On the face of it, we are told that isolated incidents will always happen. But for some of the newer ones and, indeed, the longer standing problem in Kintyre, an inability to pinpoint their exact source must be worrying to both vets and farmers next to where these outbreaks have occurred.

For those buying from the more suspect areas in the south, expect the current isolation/quarantine rules to be rigorously applied.

Mart support

THE ABILITY of the livestock auction mart to act as an arbiter of the price of livestock – and many other things for that matter – is a thing to cherish.

So, we should all be worried about news from the south that a major auction business appears to be foundering. Add to that rumours of the viability of some others and we could have a further polarization [that word again] of these important trading points – the only places where you can take your entry home from, should it not make the price you want.

There is no doubt that in the auction trade, as in farming, the big get bigger and the small sell out. This is one area to watch, however the industry can help itself if it wants to preserve these valuable outlets – and that is to support them. It's that simple.