Some 27 years ago, a month after we moved to Roxburgh Mains, a shabby-looking Transit van appeared at the farm – the driver had some tar left over from a previous job etc etc, a tale we have all heard.

The next week, all the farms on the little road that runs through Roxburgh village were burgled. All except us. We told everyone that it was because we had nothing worth pinching.

It was probably because, unlike the other farms which were on the roadside, we were almost a mile off the road with only one way in or out.

Last month, we were burgled. The thieves got away with our pickup, livestock trailer and two quad bikes. The first we knew about it was a call from the Northumbria Police.

Due to some very smart work by one of their officers who, wondering why we would be on the road at 9.30pm on a Sunday night, had stopped the vehicle. But for him, the story would have had an unhappy ending.

The driver jumped out, locked the doors and ran off into the darkness. We were extraordinarily lucky and got everything back undamaged.

We learnt later that a few days before the robbery, someone was seen near our road end operating a drone. Maybe it was coincidental, or maybe he was the modern equivalent of the man in the battered Transit van.

At 10.30pm, on October 26, the local agricultural college in St Boswells had three minibuses, four quad bikes, three trailers and various power tools, all with a total value of £70,000 stolen. I haven’t heard if anything was recovered.

Since then, we have improved security which was previously pretty-well non-existent and have availed ourselves of advice from the local constabulary. This was not only most helpful, but was also free of charge.

Other than converting the farm into Fort Knox, it is virtually impossible to make it thief proof. But, it is possible to make it more difficult for unwelcome visitors and to increase the chance of catching them by installing physical barriers, improved lighting and various alarms.

Some of these are surprisingly inexpensive and we found the advice about them from the local police very helpful.

I read the Scottish Beef Climate Group report. After some hours, I had reached page 42, which I noted with a gulp was ‘out of 210’. The report itself is actually just over 100 pages long. The balance is submissions to the group by interested parties.

Only one of them came from a farmer, others were from commercial organisations and the rest from official bodies such as SRUC, SQBLA and the SNFU. The end result is comprehensive, if fairly heavy reading.

Yesterday, I read in The Scotsman that another report, Farming for 1.5 Degrees, had just been launched. This dealt with global warming and climate change and the steps farmers must take to reduce greenhouse gasses.

Like the SBCG report, the new report rejected the current widely expressed opinion that our only option is to reduce numbers of sheep and cattle. The Scottish government had already had an attempt at steering us down the road of improving our act through the Beef Efficiency Scheme and, after that, the Sustainable Agricultural Capital Grant Scheme.

Maybe something with a little more teeth is in the offing. The worry is that as we raise our standards and possibly at the same time costs, the Westminster government will, despite recent setbacks, allow farm produce into the country which has been produced to a lower standard and which will undercut us.

Bull sales, like ram sales, have come and gone. With Covid-19 precautions, everything was low key. Maybe it reflected the standard of the bulls on offer but trade was humdrum.

In complete contrast, the females were a flier. All in all it was a great relief that the various sales went ahead, as September and October are such important months financially in the livestock calendar.

The drier weather over the last few days has been a relief after a second very wet October in succession – at least in this part of the Borders. Some of the younger cattle are now inside and the blare from newly weaned calves has died away.

Some of the cows are on stubble turnips which were direct drilled into winter barley stubble. This fits well with advice from the Suckler Beef Climate Group on both improving profitability and reducing greenhouse gasses.

But, it does increase labour requirement and, in bad weather, staff discomfort. I remember well in another era, when sheds were fewer, regularly being stuck in mud at a feed trough with cows pressing on all sides. Both ourselves and the cattle loved the day when we brought them inside.

The first time we tried late sown forage we sowed it into a growing grain crop. Germination was too patchy.

The next year we sowed kale post-harvest. The roots got into the tile drains and we had to dig up sometimes 30m lengths to clean them out.

Stubble turnips have solved that problem. I suspect that most of the bulbs are tramped in rather than eaten. Maybe they help the organic content of the soil.

Success of post-harvest forage very much depends on keeping costs down. We sowed 5gk/ha of stubble turnip seed (£30), spread 370kg/ha of 20-10-10 (£84). Sowing cost £50/Ha, spreading fertiliser £10 and rolling £16. The total cost of £190/Ha (£69/acre) is good value compared to feeding and bedding stock inside.

This year we have tried a Beltex on hoggs for the first time. The rams couldn’t be more different in appearance from anything we have used before. What is undisputed is their popularity with butchers and success in primestock shows. We also have for the first time have some Zwartbles which we use as recipients. I recall a moment 40 years ago when my lamber, the late Matty Little an out and out Cheviot man, first saw my newly purchased Colbred rams which had pink noses. He told me I had lost my pride. Like with climate change we must keep an open mind.