My eldest grandson, Robert Hendrie, rang me the other day, asking me what the rainfall had been since Lockdown – now some 10 weeks ago – and I could tell him it had been the longest dry spell since July-August, 1976.

His thoughts are that this super weather coincides with lockdown because the pollution levels had dropped dramatically world-wide and it changed the climate.

There is no doubt lockdown has changed many things. Living some eight miles from Glasgow and surrounding central belt’s 2m people, we are right below the flight path for Glasgow Airport and we do seem to have a clearer view over the city, even to the Isle of Arran on the West Coast.

They travel south to north over me and then turn west over Boclair, domain of the Brewster family, so congratulations to Jack on his Holstein award. He, his family and wife Marion, have been a guiding light for more years than I can remember and deserves all the accolades he receives.

I can remember my first visit to Shawhead, Coatbridge, where Jack’s father, David, who was a great friend of my predecessor of my great uncle, Bob Dunsmore, to see the Shawhead Friesians – I would be about 10 at the time – with my father and uncle. Seeing all those black and whites tied up was an impressive sight, even though I was with two Ayrshire cattle enthusiasts. I even bought my first bull from Jack, before moving on to Holsteins.

Briefly to politics. I would not only sack Cummings and Boris but all seven Tory Scottish MPs who voted against the Parish amendment to the Agricultural Bill, which would’ve prevented all the crap food from anywhere in the world from entering our shores.

These seven are a disgrace, especially all coming from predominately rural constituencies. It just proves that there are only a few politicians one can trust. In the run up to being elected they promise the kingdom of heaven and the minute they get on the gravy train, they forget every word they had uttered previously.

Fortunately, there are a few with principles, but Boris is not one of them. I watched him the other night on his Covid-19 press briefing. He is really a disgrace and could at least turn himself out more respectably! He blatantly refuses to answer questions and I have my doubts as to whether he knows what a straight answer to any question means.

Silage making has been made easy with the perfect weather and it is the first time in almost 60 years that we have finished first cut in May. The previous ‘best’ was June 2 and it is probably the most beautiful silage I have ever seen. But, like most friends I’ve spoken to, the silage pit is around 25% less full, but let’s hope the next cut will be able to correct the deficit.

At long last the finishing beef sector is beginning to see some positivity. The correction is taking place largely because of two factors – increased demand and reduced supply, particularly from Ireland, but not solely.

The Irish kill has for some weeks been down by as much as 6000, which is not far short of Scotland’s average kill of 7500, with almost a 1000 of those being supplied by the top 10 finishers here in Scotland. Not only are the processor packers getting into fewer hands, so too are the farmer finishers, with many smaller units exiting because of zero margins.

Alasdair Macnab, from Dingwall, in the The SF, May 23, did an excellent job of highlighting the many aspects of our industry which need to be addressed to be sustainable. With the beef industry being controlled in both the UK and Ireland by three Irish companies, ABP, Dawn, and Keypak – ABP being the dominant and controlling factor.

From a producer perspective, we need a united UK and Ireland forum of some kind. But, just think how difficult it would be given that one element about to leave the EU, not to mention the difficulties Irish beef farmers have had lately in keeping an united front! The chances of a United Co-op of beef farmers coming together are zero!

Our only hope is by government legislation as President Macron has done in France, where the cost of production has to be covered, plus a margin for primary producers, before anything leaves the farm. Or, do we want to go down the milk sector route where some producers are paid as much as 25% more for their milk contract with selected supermarkets?

Although we have seen some substantial rises in the beef price in recent weeks, we are still some way short of where it was in June, 2018, which is where it needs to be! I have said many times that it is more important to stop this volatility at the producer end, which was £4221 per load of 35 cattle between 2018 and 2019.

The difference at the consumer end over the same two years was virtually zero, which begs the question, where did all that money go?

Since lockdown, I have not been seeing so much of our countryside but I am being kept up to date on my phone from friends around the UK. Historically, April and May are the two driest months in the year. This year is a new record, having only recorded two inches for those months and many parts of the UK are heading for a drought.

So, the question has to be, when is the next shortage going to appear? Will it be water, followed by food, because every contact I have in UK tells me how all crops are short of water. Even the store cattle trade at Markethill Auction, in Ulster, were cheaper because of a shortage of grass.

Even since I started penning these notes, the prime beef price has risen to a level last seen in 2013 after Horse-Gate. We are certainly in unprecedented times in more ways than one!

Duncan Pickard made a response to my column on May 2 when I blamed Mrs Thatcher for the demise of the milk boards, but I stand by my view. The then Tory party treasurer, John Wade, a cheese maker, complained to Mrs Thatcher that he could not get enough milk for his business after the introduction of EEC milk quotas, which Mrs T bitterly opposed.

Her first announcement since ending the Milk Boards was made when, as the only time a UK Prime Minister ever visited the NFUS’ HQ at the request of Sir Ian Grant, where she made the statement that milk producers had it too good, for too long and she would bring them back into line with the real World.

She used, what later turned out to be an EEC regulation that did not comply with Monopoly Law and it was, in fact, Margaret Beckett, the farm minister in a Labour Government, who signed the document that terminated the MMBs. I sat beside her at the C.B.I. dinner the day she signed that document, where she confirmed it.

Mrs Beckett did not agree with the termination of the MMBs but by that time there was no going back on the legislation Mrs T had put in place. I could give Duncan chapter and verse of how Mrs Thatcher was incandescent with rage about the introduction of milk quotas – which incidentally had just been introduced 48 hours before. She told me in the strongest of terms, that no way would she allow them to happen!