Farmer Neil Thomson smiling in front of his tractorNeil Thomson ©Jim Varney

Kelso Show (or more correctly the Border Union Show) held at the end of July is an event in the calendar that is enjoying continued success thanks to a healthy mixture of competition, business and not least a lot of socialising.

It is where town and country come together and it was pleasing that the weather stayed fair. But so perfect that keen farmers in the region were tempted into the cabs of their combines.

Instead, most of them were to be found somewhere on the showground, often with a pint or a dram in their hand enjoying each other’s company. Now in my book that is a success.

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The following day there was no such complacency, combines sprung into life mowing down winter barley. The barns, it seems, are not going to be as full as last year, our first field of Cassia was disappointing.

As I write at the beginning of August, only one neighbour is busy harvesting their oilseed rape, he reports that it too is, at best, average.

Harvest is going to be challenging, I have a crop of rapeseed up the road that looks ready to celebrate its first birthday.

But, by the time you read this I expect we will have cut some Cordiale wheat down here, long before any of our spring barley is going to be ready.

This is alarming, it suggest the crop has run out of puff and died back prematurely, unlike the rest of the wheat throughout the farm, which is still as green as leeks.

We are expecting to see our vegetable-cutting squad arrive any day now. I am always really pleased to see familiar faces return for a second year.

To me it is a sign everything about the job and the conditions they are work in are good and they are happy.

Of course this is linked directly to how much money they make over the season, which to them, thanks to the exchange rate, will not go as far as it went last year. But I don’t want to go into that topic again.


Neil Thomson farms 607ha in partnership with his father and brother from Caverton Mill, Kelso, on the Scottish Borders, growing combinable crops and brassicas. Some of the mainly medium loam is let for potatoes, and the farm also has cattle and sheep.