The fantastic spring and early summer in the Nith valley continues – after the deluge we endured from January until March of 550mm of rain, present growing conditions on our heavy land have been almost perfect.

The 12mm of rain during lambing in April followed by 45mm in May saw great availability of spring grazing. With heavy showers at the end of May and the start of June, coupled with the heat, the first cut silage was safely gathered in perfect ground conditions. Only a handful of gravelly fields on Tower and Whitehill, near the Nith, showed any signs of drought stress.

Since silage finished on June 8, we’ve had more than 60mm rain, with more thundery showers forecast for this week. The regrowth has been unbelievable.

Hopefully, most of the country has seen enough rain to break the drought and in particular get spring crops moving.

There is no doubt that this fabulous spring has contributed to the earliest ever start date for killing lambs. In 2019, we started killing on July 20. This year, we started on 11 June and the lambs were the same weight but almost six weeks younger!

With another draw of well fleshed lambs for this week and silage aftermath jumping, there is no reason why they won’t just keep finishing quickly, which is very positive.

It’s a pity that some of our loyal (not!) multiple retail customers are about as committed to stocking locally produced Scotch Lamb as they are to locally sourced Scotch Beef. In fact, it’s more than a pity, it’s a disgrace that at a time when 'we are all in it together', these retailers continue to shaft us and UK taxpayers.

Asda and Tesco have no (or very little) local lamb and their support for Scotch Beef is pathetic as well, as the Retail Radar published in The SF makes absolutely clear. Sainsbury's is, at least, supporting UK lamb with more than half of it Scotch, but with ABP supplying them as well as Asda, their support of Scotch Beef is abysmal.

With Kepak as its main Scottish supplier, Tesco continues to behave appallingly in terms of their support of Scotch meat. As long as they are getting their margin, they couldn’t care less about the livelihoods of their UK/Scottish farmer suppliers.

It’s quite interesting to see its recent TV ad campaign which is focussed on what Aldi are doing. It used to be Asda they used for price comparison and looked over their shoulders at. With Asda seemingly without any real identity in the UK, neither the cheapest nor the best quality, just treading water, it is the German discounters, Aldi in particular, that Tesco clearly fears.

It has been suggested in various articles I’ve read and recent documentaries I’ve watched that the operating costs of Tesco could be double those of Aldi. That wouldn’t surprise me, as one is publicly quoted and continually panders to its big institutional investors, the other is a privately-owned German company controlled by the Albrecht family, reportedly worth many billions of euros and one of the richest families in Germany.

Short lines of communication and a clear, simple strategy seem to require a fraction of the managers and HQ staff of Tesco. Its store layouts and locations are much more cost effective, too, leading to this reported 50% of Tesco’s operating costs.

Mind you, when you pay your CEO (Dave Lewis) £6.42m for year ending March, 2020, following a couple of years at 'just' £5m, it’s no wonder costs are higher. That on top of a raft of £multi-million annual payments to other directors and in March, 2020, a £10.7m payment to ex CEO, Philip Clarke, in settlement of a pension dispute (dating back to his time as CEO in 2014), makes it easy to see why Tesco’s cost base is so high – are we really all in this together?

It’s interesting to note reports in the last few days of the actions of other retailers and businesses with regard to Government funded support as a result of the Covid-19 chaos. Ikea, for example, announced this week that it will repay any salaries it received from nine Governments around the world, including the US and Ireland, through the countries’ various furlough schemes. It didn’t use the UK Government furlough scheme.

Games Workshop will also repay UK Government furlough money after its sales recovered more than they expected. And Spectator magazines will do the same as its sales were not impacted as badly as feared.

Contrast these three diverse businesses with the behaviour and attitude of some of our glorious multiples. All of them will receive £multi-million Government support through the Business Rates Relief Scheme announced in March. In Tesco’s case, this will be around £585m of taxpayers' money.

I’m sorry to harp on about this – actually I’m not sorry, I’m bloody livid! As taxpayers, why the hell are we paying the likes of Tesco when grocery sales and on-line sales have been at record levels now for nearly three months.

To rub salt in the wounds, they can’t even put a bit of Scotch Beef or Lamb on their bloody shelves. On April 8, Dave Lewis reported on a conference call for analysts that, and I quote, after early panic buying 'stock levels had now stabilised'.

That being the case why, at the beginning of June were Tesco’s red meat buyers still claiming they can’t stock Scotch beef and lamb because it’s logistically 'challenging' and may impact on product availability? It’s bullshit.

This is about ripping increased margins out of consumers and suppliers’ pockets to line their own. On the same call in April 8, Dave Lewis also defended the payment of a £5bn special dividend due to investors in early July (including to him and all fellow directors who had share allocation bonuses).

This is money from the sale of Tesco’s operation in Thailand and Malaysia. He said: “We wouldn’t pay a dividend if we felt it would jeopardise our ability to serve British shoppers." That’s a relief for his long suffering Scottish red meat suppliers I’m sure and the shoppers who have been offered Irish beef or NZ lamb instead with no explanation or choice.

It’s pure spin, nothing more, nothing less.

This corporate greed is on a scale not seen since the banking crisis, when remuneration committees benchmarked one overpaid senior director against another claiming it was 'the market rate'. Now David Potts, CEO at Morrisons (ex Tesco), earned £4.5m in 2019 and £4.2m this year, and Mike Coupe (CEO at Sainsbury) earned £3.9m in 2019, despite the collapse of his proposed merger with Asda.

Along with dozens of other senior directors of these multiples, this provides all the cover and salary comparisons the sector needs to justify such outrageous remuneration packages.

No wonder the hapless Mr Coupe was caught singing 'I’m in the money' on live TV before an interview last year. At least David Potts, at Morrisons, has been a staunch supporter of British suppliers, not least because the its business model is founded on an integrated supply chain where they own most of their own processing capacity.

But neither Tesco, Asda or Sainsbury's have shown the slightest support for British or Scottish farmer suppliers during Covid-19. Instead, they totally focussed on lining their own pockets, whilst claiming they actually focus on consumers.

And then we, through our elected politicians, are chucking even more money at them in Covid-19 grants. It is immoral, obscene and disgusting.

Owners of pubs, restaurants, hotels, hairdressers, small shops, the self-employed tradesmen and many others, all over the country, are literally bleeding to death financially, waiting for a coherent strategy to help them out of this chaotic, illogical lockdown they are being forced to endure.

Meanwhile, the same politicians who are overseeing this mess chuck more cash at businesses that have never had sales like it and reward their directors with obscene financial packages.

Of course, good people should be rewarded for hard work and running successful businesses but that applies to the 'wee man and woman' as well as fat cats.

If Nicola Sturgeon and Kate Forbes are as skint as it would appear and need extra cash, why don’t they start by filling the Government kitty and holding on to all this Business Rates Relief promised to these undeserving cases?

That must be worth at least £150m to the Scottish Government. One thing is for sure, unlike Ikea, Games Workshop and the like, you can be bloody sure that they won’t offer to repay it.

Their motto is 'we are all in this together' – rather, in the words of poor old red-faced Mr Coupe 'I’m in the money' is what really drives them!