Famous rugby farming son appears at Sevens final

The weather is unsurprisingly still making the headlines. Scotland has endured the most extreme gales, causing immense damage to polytunnels north of the Forth.

Last month, I was concerned about the lack of rain, but fortunately we have been spared the incessant drought that some parts of the country have experienced and our crops have turned into the healthy, dark green that I had been hoping for despite the wind.

Spring barley is looking considerably better than last year. Extra nitrogen applied will, hopefully, have the desired effect of increasing our yields, which have not improved in the last 12 years. Increasing yields is not all important, but it’s still something that every farmer aspires to do. This is why I have just spent £10/ha more than expected by applying Aviator Xpro (bixafen + prothioconazole) to the flag leaf of my wheat.

The disastrous outbreak of E coli in Germany has horrified me. From personal experience, growing fresh vegetables is a precarious business and the Spanish producers must be in turmoil at the moment. They have my sympathy, but it underlines how important it is that we ensure that nothing like that can ever happen in the UK.

I went to the final of rugby’s HSBC Sevens World Series with my son and his pal at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, which saw South Africa clinch a dramatic 36-35 victory over Australia. There was some tremendous rugby, but I thought that I would text my neighbour to see if he would like my company for a wee while. He replied, saying that he was a bit busy just now. Feeling slightly jilted, I turned to the big screen to see it filled with him in the Royal Box about to present the prizes to the winners. Only then did I realise what an important fellow former Farmers Weekly columnist John Jeffrey is in rugby these days.

Neil Thomson

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