THERE'S nothing like a record price to get the chat going and that, it has to be said, produces the rough and the smooth of such huge prices – and what an immense price it was when Sportsmans Double Diamond set the tongues wagging last week.

Had drink been taken? Was there a temporary loss of sanity? Is any animal ever worth 350,000gns? What kind of farming business can afford to pay that huge amount and get it back?

This newspaper has always taken the view that pedigree livestock trading is a thing unto itself. It often bears no relation to the trade in commercial values and is a reference point in breeders' searches for 'perfection.' Therefore, this makes it a thing to be lauded and applauded that there is sufficient spare cash around that can nurture this search for excellence.

There are a few codicils that have to be remembered, though. The most important of those – especially for the detractors – is that the fuel that generated this magnificent price is money that is not entirely generated from farming. Also, that the apex of the stratified sheep industry that we have in Scotland has to have a pinnacle – and that's just what was headily achieved last week.

But the good news for all sheep owners is that the sheep trade is on fire at the moment – and that's for both commercial and pedigree stock. Records are falling like nine-pins for a wide range of breeds and the prime and store trade is through the roof, so there's money for all – maybe just not a third of a million!

There is a bad guy hiding in the wings, though. Mr No Deal-Brexit – sired by Boris, out of the French import, Barnier – has the potential to put, at best, a debilitating case of footrot into the sheep trade and, at worst, give it a full-blown braxy! As usual, the optimists are outdoing the pessimists at the moment and in many ways paying close to £100 for a store lamb is just the same as paying 350,000gns for a tup!

There is no doubt, though, that there is much enthusiasm in the finished trade at the moment, too, both for lamb and beef. Those who bought cheap beef cattle stores in the early spring will be thinking they have hit a Klondyke seam. Who would have thought, though, that the Chancellor's 'gift' of the 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme would have generated so much of a swing back towards eating prime cuts of beef and lamb (see our front page)? But it has.

The fact that many eating houses are extending this in some way off their own bat after its phenomenal success, is testament to how highly they value it. Now, it's up to the producers and the killing trade to cater for that enthusiasm, for there is no doubt that any void created by this unprecedented demand will only act as an inroad for imported meat products – and that's the last thing we want.