No matter where I have been in the past month, whether it is at markets three times a week, two one-day shows, family gatherings, or my phone, one subject has dominated the conversation – the Royal Highland Show.

Sadly, it has not all been good news. Several comments have gone so far as to say it is the beginning of the end of the RHS, similar to fate of the Royal, in England.

Many asked the question about the common sense and understanding of the directors at Ingliston. It does appear that they are out of touch with the farming community, particularly the generation that has supported the show over many years.

Yes, I am aware that technology is moving on, but they should remember that there are many areas of Scotland that do not have a reception for this modern technology, nor do they have an all singing and dancing phone, or grandchildren nearby to show them how to work it!

Many decisions to attend the Highland are made at short notice, depending on the work load of the farm, especially on livestock units, with the weather being a big factor. Also, how many of the non-farming public will know about the complicated pre-booking rules?

They will not even get their car in the car park unless it is pre-booked, thus surely missing out on the spontaneity of the tourists and public looking for a surprise day out. Also, why have two pop concerts on the same week?

Historically, there has been traffic congestion caused by the show traffic, without adding more non-show traffic? What is going to happen to all the coaches that travel a distance, especially from Ireland?

Sometimes, at the show I have wondered if I am at the Highland or Balmoral, due to all the Irish voices in the company round the ring. I was told the other day that Northern Ireland is nearly empty of farmers on Highland show week.

The craic the other night was, that they will now go for an extra day to Balmoral as it was only costing £24, car park £10, pay at the gate, no worry about pre-booking.

And, why limit Ingliston numbers to 50,000? The big question is now, will they need to? Formula 1 racing has 420,000 visitors and sits on five acres, there can be 96,000 at a football match and that is on two acres, and 94,000 at a boxing match are packed like herring in a box. So what is the problem of 50,000 spread across 100-plus acres!

Surely, they should be encouraging people to come through the gate to recoup the unfortunate losses, not putting obstacles in their way? Now, there have been a few anniversaries this week. It is 70 years since I went to Lanark Market with my father to buy my first two gilt pigs and he gave me a lecture to never buy anything if you cannot pay for it on the day, a lesson never forgotten!

We met the then boss of the mart, Ian Clark, who gave me more advice, ‘young man, just watch for the sparrows in the rafters’, and that is still true today ... in some markets!

Fifty years ago (as I write this on May 7), I started our beef enterprise. I had just emptied a small bank of cubicles of 32 dairy heifers out to grass and Robert Smellie, at Hamilton Market, chanced to call.

I asked him how I could make some money from this empty building and he suggested that I come to his market to buy some beef store cattle, which I did the following day.

The result was 32 beef stores, costing £42, fed on silage and potatoes inside and sold prime in September for £87 on average. I wish that could be done today!

Our beef enterprise was seasonal until 1985 when we took on another farm and were able to expand it up to 750 head per year. After the dairy cows departed in 2006, we now finish a few thousand per year.

The third anniversary is 40 years ago of writing this column. Angus Macdonald, then editor, invited me to take over the column written by the late Sir William Young, ‘Kyle’ as he was known. At that time I was doing a monthly report to the Dairy Farmer called ‘Scottish Viewpoint’, so I suggested to Angus that he found a few others to share the space and I would manage to do it monthly.

I have not missed a slot, but you have to remember it is not a solo effort as my better half, Jesme, sub-edits, corrects spelling and grammar, censors it and she questions, and argue over some of the issues! I write by hand and Jesme types it – deciphering some of the words!

How much longer will I go on? The editor tells me it will be my decision. Most readers seem to enjoy my articles and sometimes debatable comments.

One of the most frustrating jobs for a farmer must be catching moles, or should I say, trying to catch them! Last back-end, I thought I had cleared our acres of every mole.

This spring proved my dream was untrue. Where they come from completely baffles me and they certainly know where to find the best, free draining land.

I have even shown my grand-daughter the art, but emphasise to her that one needs a great deal of patience for the job. Even her grandmother tries her hand, but I think the attraction is to collect the lovely fine soil for the garden! One thing is for sure, they are smarter than we think!

One election I was pleased about last week was the re-election of Emmanuel Macron, as French president. I only wish he was our Prime Minister!

One thing is certain, French farmers are delighted he is back, not least because he put into law that farmers must be rewarded for the cost of production for what they produce.

Sadly, there is no chance of that here. The EU also needed him in order that there is stability and continuity in Europe. He seems to have a rapport with US president Joe Biden, which is more than can be said about the clown at Number 10!

Another of my loves is grass. I was once introduced to an audience as a 'grassland fanatic'! It has been a perfect spring for grass growth this year in this part of our wee country. Even our silage was almost flat on its back on May 4, having had, for the 10th year running, only 3000 gallons of slurry per acre and no bag fertiliser, which is a bonus this year.

Back in 2006 when we made the investment in slurry storage that took us to seven months, I wondered if we were doing the right thing. It did not take long to prove that it was a correct decision and that was when fertiliser was only £200 a tonne.

Today’s fertiliser prices are mind-boggling. One aspect that has greatly displeased me are the recent regulations proposed to cover the slurry towers by 2024. It is absolutely crucial that beef slurry gets rainfall in order to be of a consistency which allows it to be pumped long distances by umbilical pipes.

If the rainwater is not allowed into the slurry, then water will have to be pumped from another source and that is not going to help climate change. It also adds cost.

If you want to keep up with what is Scotland’s most important crop, go to ScotGrass on May 18 where my good friend, Hugh McClymont, will let you see the latest in grass production and how it should be done.

My mentors back in the 1960s were his predecessors, Dr John Frame, Dr Malcolm Castle, and IV Hunt. They were the trail blazers 60 years ago.

With cereal prices heading to crazy highs, grass and silage, plus native cattle, will be the only way beef production can continue. I am hearing that wheat could be £500 per tonne by the end of the year.

If that happens, there is no way it can be fed to livestock. Maybe my prediction two months ago about bread being first to be rationed will come true.

I think it was about four years ago that I mentioned the possibility that soon after Kepak took over Two Sisters at Porlethen, near Aberdeen, that soon the beef price to producers would be the same throughout all of the UK and Ireland. It has happened.

So what is the beef price to finishers and where is it going? We have now had four weeks at the same price, which is only a few pence higher than it was this time last year. The only way it will rise enough is if supply becomes much tighter, which will happen. The only question is – when?

It has taken milk almost 20 years since Mrs Thatcher destroyed our milk boards for a near adequate increase to happen. Milk is at 40p per litre this week with some companies going up 7p in one go to stem production drops and 50p will soon be the norm.

If beef production drops as fast, £5 per kg will be the norm. It is amazing how supermarkets change their attitudes when shelves become bare!

Rees-Mog is doing his best to keep shelves full by NOT implementing the import checks that should have commenced when we left the EU. The reverse happens to exports going out of the UK, they have to comply with every procedure possible.

On a lighter note, we spent a pleasant day out at one of the first Ayrshire county shows at Kilmaurs, where there was a large turn- out, all enjoying the release from so many months of restrictions, and boosted by Young Farmers’ activities.

Even 95-year-old John Millar, from West Gatehead, was glad to be back at the show, which he has not missed since he was 12, enjoying the chat with fellow farmers.

Ayrshire YFC put on a great show of calves and did well with their tug-of-war. Great to see so many young people enjoying being back in competitions.

The same could be said for Ochiltree's large turn-out of dairy cattle. Congratulations to the Templeton family, from Knowe, having done the double.

Now a subject which is likely to become quite controversial – how much longer can we have a saltire on our beef and lamb? Is breed about to become more important?

Ask Jim Fairlie, the SNP MSP about his experience on ‘Twitter’. Ask thousands of Glasgow Rangers supporters and you will not like the answer. Ask your English customers and you may not like their response either, bearing in mind that England is by far our largest market.

I have not yet touched on the thousands of live, both store and prime beef, that have gone south this year alone and do not forget that the genetics of beef cattle, both native and continental, throughout the UK and Ireland, are the same!

How long will it be before beef on shelves will be identified by breed and not country of origin? Are we about to witness anti-saltire sentiment outside these shores? Watch this space!

Finally, here is a new rainfall statistic – March and April, with 1.75-inches, is the lowest two months together in 30 years. There have been a few pairs together at 2-inches, but this last pair set a new record.