Hot dry spell brings harvest on quickly for Neil Thomson, but then…

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 and is let for potatoes, and the QMS ‘Monitor Farm’ also has cattle and sheep

Last month, I said I didn’t think there would be any harvest around here in July. Wrong! A good hot dry spell brought things on quickly and combines were busy.

It was just as well because since then it has been monsoon season. As I write, on the “glorious twelfth”, there has only been the odd occasion to go, there are hundreds of acres of unharvested winter barley and oilseed rape has only been nibbled at.

I also told you that our combine would be chomping happily after its winter service. Wrong again, after niggling breakdowns, which have not helped, especially when in a field next to the main road first time round on the eve of Kelso show. You can imagine how much the locals enjoyed that as they supped on yet another pint at the show.

What is it about farmers that we get pleasure from others’ misfortunes? The answer is simple we have all been there – even our neighbour (yes, that one).

He phoned the other morning to apologise that there were 30 of his cattle cavorting in our wheat. I couldn’t help but smile, secretly enjoying his predicament, but glad that this time it wasn’t our cattle on the rampage.

Our vegetable cutting team has arrived. The first-timers often look like rabbits caught in headlights as they step off a bus and, according to stereotype, I greet them wearing a tacky leather jacket, greased down hair, rudely shouting one word instructions in “polescots”.

I always admire their willingness to graft and their general attitude to working on a farm in Scotland.

Imagine then working on the same farm for 50 years. That’s what Jock, one of our men, achieved the other day on reaching 65. Thankfully, he didn’t tell us to stuff the job.

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