Finally, some dry, warm weather to lift the spirits after the worst spring, certainly the wettest spring, I can remember.

It is too late for some winter crops and too late for thousands of lambs that didn’t make it through the rain and the cold, but at least spring has arrived. Fortunately, later sown spring crops look great and silage making is underway across the country, so a total disaster has been averted… but only just.

The spring of 2024 will be remembered for all the wrong reasons for a generation.

We have fantastic grass growth, although some of the wettest ground is still a bit tender as the roller makes its way across the silage fields. Ewes are thriving and lambs are also finally enjoying lying on a dry bed with the sun on their backs. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly conditions can change at this time of year, and a good week has transformed the fields and the stock that graze them.

We only had 19 dry days from September 1, 2023 until the end of April this year and that’s a record I hope isn’t broken.

On a more positive note, we have sold Mule and Blackie hoggs over £200/head and cast BF ewes up to £140 which has also broken all previous records. Quite astonishing, really, albeit very welcome after the traumatic lambing time. Sheep numbers appear to be tight and with these cull prices so high they will undoubtedly get tighter. I’ve already heard of some folk who are cashing in when prices are so strong and they can’t face the prospect of another struggle though lambing time, and who can blame them?

So, not only is the suckler herd shrinking, the sheep flock is as well. Once again this will be music to the ears of Scot Gov officials desperate to cut livestock numbers to meet climate targets, whatever they will now look like! It seems that the crazy pledges made by Nicola Sturgeon to reduce emissions faster and further than any other part of the UK have proved as elusive as every other broken promise made by this failing government. But then, anyone with half an ounce of common sense or knowledge knew that the day she announced them.

Saying you are going to do something is not the same as actually delivering it, even if you keep repeating it. And the present SNP administration have been absolute masters at talking the talk but totally failing to walk the walk, and their climate targets are a classic example of this. Mind you, so are the non-delivery of ferries for increasingly exasperated island communities around Scotland, a crumbling NHS, a total lack of coherent policies for agriculture or rural Scotland and an appalling reduction in standards in a failing education system.

Interestingly, the now ex-FM Humza Yousaf was involved as a minister in a couple of these areas, but of course, so was his successor, John Swinney, who didn’t exactly set the heather on fire, (if I’m allowed to say that!), when he was responsible for the education brief, and previously as party leader.

But it seems in the world of modern Scottish politics that the worse your record is, the more likely you are to get promoted. As long as you are big on promises and rhetoric, even if you actually achieve sod all, it doesn’t seem to matter.

The recent game of musical chairs that has been playing in Holyrood by the SNP seems to many of us watching on the side lines to be as convincing as Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater’s grasp of economics. Bringing back John Swinney, (and Kate Forbes), may have avoided outright civil war inside the SNP, but I can’t help thinking that as far as us mere mortals and the country is concerned, it represents little more that rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Mind you, if this lot were building the Titanic it would never have sunk as it would probably still be going through sea trials or back in dry docks for repairs!

John Swinney and Nicola Sturgeon were inseparable, and Sturgeon’s record as FM stands up to no scrutiny whatsoever. John Swinney brokered the disastrous deal with the Greens that has brought rural Scotland to its knees. He may well be from a rural constituency but he was happy to allow Lorna Slater free rein to introduce any kind of madcap environmental idea she fancied at the expense of his farming constituents.

He stood by as money has been syphoned out of the Ag budget and disappeared, never to return other than through the smoke and mirrors of some worthless future promises or rehashed announcements.

He made commitments to the NFUS president Martin Kennedy about the direction of Ag policy that never came to fruition and frankly never will. Yet still, one organisation after another have welcomed his appointment. I suppose, on the basis that he couldn’t be any worse than what we’ve had to endure, they could have a point, but is this what Scotland really needs right now, particularly rural Scotland as people and livestock leave the countryside in their droves, never to return.

Kate Forbes has made some pretty bold statements about what she intends to do with the Scottish economy. And she clearly knows full well the problem farmers have in planning anything with the shambolic state of Ag policy – or the lack of it, to be more accurate. But it remains to be seen what authority or, more importantly, what financial levers or firepower she has to actually do anything about either of these vital issues.

Despite the penal tax rates levied against middle and higher earning taxpayers in Scotland, (described as a 'progressive' tax system by poor old Humza the Brief and his mad Green friends), the truth is Scotland is skint.

And even now that she’s out of a ministerial job, Lorna Slater’s legacy will live on as it has been reported that the waste company BIFFA, (and there will be others), is about to sue Scot Gov for the collapse of the calamitous Deposit Return Scheme. Numbers in excess of £150m are already being reported, money Scot Gov does not have.

Kate Forbes and John Swinney need to return the money their colleagues took from agriculture as a first step to restoring some credibility with the farming industry.

But of course, they don’t have the money and the cost of the legacy of the Greens won’t help.

So my guess is we will continue to endure ‘business as usual’ from Scot Gov, whoever is in charge. During lambing time, a non-farming friend of mine called me to see how things are going and the only phrase I could think of to describe my mood and how I was getting on was ‘the same shit, just a different day’.

I can’t actually better that when it comes to describing our ‘new’ government in Scotland, so I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for anything to change for the better if I were you.