A LOT has happened, including hitting the half way point to the year and the longest day, since I wrote last in The SF.

Not only did the Royal Highland Show stay dry – apart from one heavy shower on the Thursday – we had an extremely successful show day on the Friday. The only thing that could have been better was the next step up! Both our Holstein and Jersey entries finished the day as reserve champions in their breed.

Well done to the Lairds and the Scotts who were breed champions and inter-breed champion and reserve. The Scotts were champion with their Jersey heifer, but to add even more glory to an already ‘top show’, Robbie and Margo two sons, Rory and Kyle, were champion handler and had the champion calf on the Sunday. Hope Margo has plenty of Duraglit!

The following week the Scottish Holstein Club held its annual stockjudging and open day at Woodhead and Roundbush, Annan. What a fantastic day, hosted by the extremely hospitable hosts, the Jamieson family. The two farms are a credit to John, Allyson, Callum, Bryce and Alex, with fabulous set-ups and great cows.

They ticked all the boxes, and all their hard work certainly paid off. They even got the weather right! Visitors from as far away as Cheshire made the trip North for what was a memorable day, however the overall open winners and top scorers were from home soil – Hugh Kennedy (aka Papa Shug) and Mungo Bryson.

Onto the more serious stuff and the dreadful news that the Wright Marshall’s market at Beeston has gone into liquidation, not to mention its employees who’ve been made redundant. Is this just the tip of the iceberg?

The closure has been blamed on a period of challenging trading and a downturn in livestock volumes, leading to cash flow pressures which left the directors with no option but to place the business into administration. The challenges facing the agricultural sector are well known and the market, seemingly, had made unsustainable losses.

Wright Marshall was particularly well known for its dairy sales and attracted buyers from all over the UK. Apart from a difficult trading environment over the last few years, increasing competition from online platforms selling livestock has also hit the market hard.

The market, which dates back to the 1840s, is based in a TB1 area, so cattle numbers, particularly dairy, have fallen back due to restrictions around Cheshire’s edge. And, of course, cattle going direct to abattoirs has also had an effect.

Reading market reports up and down the country this isn’t the only mart seeing a downturn in stock going through the ring. Thankfully, in Scotland we can’t cite TB as a factor, however all the other pressures ring true. Let’s hope this isn’t the start of something!

Staying on the subject of closure, Muller is to wind down production at its dairy in Foston with the loss of 223 jobs. By the end of 2019, processing will be absorbed by its other dairies. Patrick Muller has blamed the closure on declining consumption of fresh milk and significant changes in retailing.

Three years ago, the dairy giant confirmed it would close its Aberdeen and East Kilbride plants, with the loss of up to 225 jobs. The same dairy giant pulled out of this year’s Highland Show citing economic reasons. What’s next?

In my last Farm View, I was incensed by Chris Packham, the TV presenter and wildlife expert with a passionate concern for conservation and the environment. Personally, I think he’d be better described as someone who has become a bete noire for agriculture.

This week I’m having a go at Evan Davis (and I’m not alone) after he said farmers in the UK wouldn’t want the public to see what goes on at their farm, when interviewing NFU president, Minette Batters. How dare he and it borders on the slanderous. The NFU president called on him to apologise to the agricultural community, saying she absolutely rejected that.

Mr Davis’s next faux pas was to claim UK animal welfare standards were ‘not good’. Get your facts right Mr Davis. The UK leads the way in animal welfare standards. Ms Batters said she found his comments extremely offensive and untrue and invited the presenter to visit her farm.

She also said it would be unfair to say this bias pervaded the entire BBC – it is currently the only broadcaster that devotes significant time to farming and rural issues. It is also wrong to say the farming industry is not up for challenge or rational debate.

Yes, I agree, however, why should a National Broadcaster – which is funded by the licence payer – be allowed to make false accusations and let presenters spew out their biased, skewed opinions. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again the BBC is there to report the facts, not to give their opinion.

I would like Mr Davis to visit our farm. I spend so much time looking after my calves to the extent that my husband says the only thing I don’t do is tuck them in at night! Yes, there are bad farmers out there – there is a bad element in every walk of life, but the vast majority are good examples.

Well done to members of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs who took part in a cycle challenge to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support last weekend. Members cycled from Kelso on Friday, to the Fife and District charity event at Easter Bucklyvie, Crossgates, and then onto to the East Area Rally at Balgay, on Sunday.

SAYFC has been raising awareness of cancer in the agricultural community and its effects on membership. If you would like to support the challenge, there is a link to the justgiving page on SAYFC’s website.

To round off – do you know what QBA is? It means Qualitive Behaviour Assessments. It is a method of assessing animals’ emotional state by watching their behaviour and scoring them for traits such as relaxed, sociable, agitated, lively or bored!

Now this goes one better than rearing calves in single pens being wrong because they can’t interact with each other! The fact that they can see each other, touch noses, keep any bugs to themselves, have their own buckets and not have their naval sucked by another calf doesn’t come into it.

Anyway, back to QBA – apparently healthier cows show more positive emotions and are also more productive; herds with increased mastitis and lameness show lower mood expressions and herds with higher milk sold per cow per year were the herds where more cows showed more positive moods – you don’t say!

To use a social media expression LOL. In the name of the wee man, what next?!