©Jim Varney

Seeing as I talked a lot about rugby in my last article, I feel it’s only right I mention it briefly in this one.

Watching Scotland’s glorious defeat to Australia has left emotional scars, which may be with me for some time.

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No sporting event has ever had this effect on me and I am wondering if counselling other than the liquid form (weekends only) is available?

Warm, dry days in October have allowed preparations for winter to progress well. Calves have now been weaned, clipped and housed, cows have been TB and Johne’s tested and put back outside after a settling.

On the sheep side of things, mating is well under way, with rams now out with the main Fearn flock while teasers are doing their bit on the nearby hill unit.

Embryo transfer went well, with our Aberfields yielding just fewer than 10 a ewe, while our Beltex managed to average 12. Let’s hope there are relatively few returns.

Purchasing Cheviot ewes to top up numbers on the Sutherland block has proved challenging, but we eventually sourced enough by paying more than we originally planned.

Our shepherd, Martin, leaves sometime soon. He has decided a year in New Zealand would be a good idea – and at the age of 23 why not? We will certainly miss him while he’s away.

His decision has prompted us to review staffing levels in the business and the outcomes have been really positive. Our main change is that Shona Brown will join the team in a farm admin role later this month.

This means Fiona will still do all the accounts in the office, but the pile of paperwork on my desk relating to movements, performance recording and anything else that challenges me will be relocated to Shona.

Emma, our Kiwi lamber, has offered to come back from New Zealand for seven months, which will give the outside team a boost. We also also trying to source additional team members for the spring rush.


John Scott farms 200 suckler cows, 4,500 breeding ewes as well as some crops across 2,226ha. He also has two contract farming operations and generates energy from a small scale wind turbine and biomass boiler.