There are some good and not so good aspects to my thoughts this month – but one which has raised many questions in the past few days, is the weather.

Tuesday,August 4, created a new record, being two-inches falling in 24 hours. The highest before that was 1.5-inches on December, 1994. The other aspect that is intriguing me is that today, on August 9, my gauge so far this year stands at 30.25-inches.

My 30-plus years' average is 38-inches, so with most of August to go, plus other four months before the year ends, it makes one wonder what this year’s total is going to be? I assume we are going to have a prolonged dry spell, or we are heading for a record rainfall year, which up until now was way back in 2002, at 49-inches – watch this space.

You may recall that our first cut silage, like many others, was around 25% less than usual, but as expected, there is usually a correction, which in our case took place in a short weather window and from July 18-24 we managed to ensile a second cut of excellent dry grass, albeit a little mature.

That means that we have at least enough silage in the pits to last 18 months or more, which is a comfort. The first cut pit was opened on the day our second cut was being ensiled and although I do not yet know its analysis – it is excellent.

Not all of Scotland suffered that memorable wet Tuesday. I heard that friends in the South-east had only a quarter of what the majority of Scotland endured and by Friday, they were sowing grass seed with the dust blowing! That's in contrast to herds of dairy cows being re-housed because of very wet ground conditions.

To briefly touch on the dairy sector and what its consultation on the future contracts and pricing should be in order to reduce volatility and the vast differences that producers receive. This can be as much as 6ppl – in a few cases more – for the same quality of milk.

Little wonder 17 ceased milking in the first six months of this year, which, I am afraid, is going to continue unless there is a more level playing field. That is not going to happen until some aspects of producing milk change – some form of control of production. But do producers want supermarket type contracts applied to all milk production?

I am well aware of all the hoops that some supermarket suppliers have to jump through. In truth, they are so draconian that some suppliers have sleepless nights wondering what new rules will be dreamt up next!

For the most part these contracts do just cover cost of production plus a wafer thin margin. But in order to achieve any margin, I could fill a page with all the regulations that have to be adhered to.

Many of them have no bearing on the quality or quantity of the milk produced, yet the stress and mental health problems they are causing dairy farmers is horrendous. In reality, those supermarkets are in total control of those farms and if they were applied to all producers, we would see a massive reduction of dairy farms.

For example, there is at least one supermarket that dictates the number of days and hours the cows have to be at grass. That rules out hundreds of milk producers where the cows are housed 24/7 all year round, largely because of their size, or in most cases milked by robots.

Regarding auction markets, I would like to congratulate Grant MacPherson – the boss at Dingwall Market – on how his small team handled Scotland’s largest July sale of store cattle of just over 1800. Grant had an excellent burger van outside, with a good range of food, which was much appreciated by several people who had travelled hours to be in Dingwall for one of the best sales of the year – confirmed by high averages.

He introduced another safety feature by taking the temperature of all entering the sale ring, plus a one-way system, with all doors tied open, all seats for the 66 attending, numbered and when anyone left, he sanitised the seat for the next person. If there were two people from the same household, they could sit together.

Paul Spencer even slowed down a little so that I could understand his accent! Recently, I had seen a few young auctioneers in the rostrums with one of the best I have heard being Scott Chapman, at Dingwall, who has a definite gift for the job.

However, we need changes before the big autumn sales. I understand that the 2m rule was on course to be reduced to 1m, at the beginning of August, which the First Minister refused to allow, with which I disagree.

Maybe the reason for her decision is because neither she, nor her advisors, have ever been to an auction market to see how large, open and airy they are.

The restaurant trade has been badly affected by this pandemic. Speaking to our local businesses, one in Coatbridge, Mondos, and one in Glasgow, Miller and Carter, on St. Vincent Street, who are both supporters of Scotch Beef, have been surprised at the number of requests for tables after opening on July 15.

Since the 'Eat out to help out' scheme started at the beginning of August, it has been pandemonium. The boss at M and C said it was unbelievable. If there are no vacancies on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday to take advantage of the scheme, they will take a table any time – and the average spend has risen, despite the fact that they have not increased their prices and costs have gone up.

It is a similar situation along the Clydeside garden centres, with some queueing up to two hours for a table, because of the demand for cheap food! One of the downsides was rudeness to staff that were asking customers to adhere to the rules.

I was asked the other day, why had the prime beef price risen and was likely to rise more. My answer was 'demand'. The reason is simple – not only for beef, but for lamb, fish, eggs milk and all basic food – it is in demand because there is somewhere around 8-10m more people on our islands at this time, who would not normally be here, but abroad on holiday.

I heard about two butchers’ shops north of Inverness that ran out of beef by mid-day a few days after the July 15 because of demand from holiday makers. I know of a shepherd's hut beside a barley field that was booked out until October within 48 hours after booking opened – heeding advice to holiday at home!

Finally, to Northern Ireland where beef farmers are on the highest prime beef returns in the UK. How have they managed to get ahead of Scotland? The reason is no different – demand and lack of supply, plus a little distortion because of the VAT 'reclaimers', which is more prevalent there than in Scotland.

What seems to have developed there and to a lesser extent, here, is a two level market, particularly in the store ring and even the fat ring in NI. What seems to have developed is that the VAT men compete for the heavy cattle, eg those above 500kg that will kill before the end of December, which is the Treasury's date for changes to the VAT reclaim system of 4%.

For example, last Thursday in Ballymena market (and other NI marts) there was a clear difference in the value of the heavy cattle close to slaughter, compared to lighter weights. The same is happening here in Scotland, to a lesser extent, because there is a much lower percentage of finishers on the VAT reclaim scheme in Scotland