Farmer Focus: Neil Thomson in competition

I promised I would tell you how we fared in the Border Crop & Grassland Management competition.

The competition looks at whole farms and entrants are split into four classes, according to farm size, enterprises and the environment. The winners of each section then compete in the championship the following year.

The farmers and farms competing against us in our section are all outstanding, so it was a huge surprise to find we will be competing in the championship next year.

It’s a terrifying thought with the likes of Will Hamilton from Bee Edge, Jim Sutherland of Hillhouse and Giles Henry of Oakwood Mill challenging for the top place next time.

This year’s champion was fellow columnist Robert Neill. A farm walk round Upper Nisbet is a must for anyone who wants to see first-class farming.

Robert’s attention to detail is meticulous and second to none, although he didn’t win the spring barley section at St Boswells show.

Blame the judge, Robert. I’d seen 17 excellent fields of many different varieties; even one measly wild oat can swing it.

I can’t avoid mentioning the weather. We’ve all had some horrendous rain in the past three weeks, making a mockery of predictions for a continued dry summer.

The poor folk in Bowmont valley, having just recovered from last September’s floods, are back replacing roads and fences washed away again.

Nearly 2in of rain fell in two hours onto my newly planted broccoli, washing away a vast swathe and turning the field into a paddy. It’s frustrating and demoralising, especially when the plants had all been sitting up proud and looking good.

But let’s look on the bright side. By the time you read this, all the winter barley will be cut, and even my combining peas will be in the barn – fingers crossed.

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