I always read John Elliot's take on life – he is of the same vintage as me.

It was very interesting to hear his justification for the high eye-watering prices paid in the pedigree rings – serendipity he called it!

After the First World War, a shipping magnate paid £1200 for a ram from one of his kin. This was a very high sum paid and I doubt that there very few, if any, paid that sum for a whole year salary in the UK, whereas there are plenty that are paid £150k a year nowadays, or even per week!

I think the reality of what is paid in the ring at Scottish auctions for pedigree stock is unreal. It is more a club outing of the well-to-do, and one has to have the right 'smell' to get a high price.

Working with Highland pedigree cattle for over 40 years, I soon learnt my lesson. All one has to do is watch who gets the prizes and the high prices – it is the same clique. Occasionally an outsider will get a high price, but the buyer is a one-off.

If one reads farming papers from other districts of the UK, the prices paid for pedigree stock are a fraction of prices paid in Scotland, yet they have a robust beef and sheep industry. Why?

Their beef and sheep meat are sold in UK shops at the same price as Scottish, so the product produced is on a par.

Or has a section of Scottish farming got too much cash and are out of reality – millionaires that don’t know what poverty is?

This ilk, which has the love of money ingrained in their veins, shortcuts to more riches are often taken, integrity is usually thrown to the wind, the latest that has been caught was within the 'smelly bunch' of Limousin breeders, but how many more are out there?

Does the price paid for the bull or the ram make it produce better progeny? Does the ground that is able to produce the better grass make a difference? Does the rich farmer/crofter make him/her a better stockperson?

The answer, my friend, is in the wind

Angus A Macdonald,