Politics, the loss of the Queen, children off on OEs to New Zealand and coming rugby tests against the All Blacks are what’s on John Scott’s mind.

FAIR PLAY TO LIZ TRUSS, OUR NEW Prime Minister. She’s found a whole new level of ‘hold my beer moments’ taking over from Boris Johnson who was fairly useless – she stumbled at the start when curtseying to King Charles and hasn’t recovered since.

Our economy is in a perilous place at the moment with interest rates on the rise and operating costs of businesses in every sector spiraling out of control. I would offer to swap you, but by the sounds of things Jacinda is equally feckless, though on the bright side, at least she’s consistent. Or it could be like Putin, whose hand seems to be awfully close to the red button as the world watches nervously. I really do hope it doesn’t happen and Russia and Ukraine soon find a way to cease fighting.

Anyway, enough of politics. Our Queen passed on in what can only be described as an amazing shift; a shining example to world leaders and a huge loss to not just the United Kingdom but the wider Commonwealth. I wouldn’t describe myself as a royalist but I was glued to the TV and shed a tear when the news finally broke, and I mourned with many others as we had a quiet day on the farm to honour her funeral.

Whilst I never met the Queen, I have spent time in the company of Princess Anne when we hosted the international and world sheepdog trials. Like her mum, the princess has a passion for the countryside, a real understanding of breeding stock, and a wicked sense of humour.

I hope our new King can carry on where his mother left off, whilst adding his stamp to the role, and that the next generation royals get the support they need from the wider family to fulfil what is becoming an increasingly difficult role.

Speaking of family support, Fiona’s been keeping me right following the departure of our oldest kids, James to NZ and Izzy back to uni. It was great having them around over the summer but the hole they have left is taking me a little longer to fill and adapt to than anticipated. I enjoyed sharing responsibility with them and they did take the pressure off me, but it’s great they are away and experiencing the world, and before you know it they’ll be back and I might be grumbling that they are taking over.

Our gap-year students have had a meteoric rise in terms of responsibility as we are light on full-time stock people – an ongoing problem faced by the whole industry – and to be fair to them, they have really taken to it and are thriving, which is just great to see.

Murray’s taken a lead in the sheep enterprise and with a mating plan drawn up by James before he left, rams will be let loose by the time this hits your kitchen tables, while Ed has taken a lead with feeding the cattle using the mixer wagon plus making sure finishing steers hit weights while the price is decent.

We have about 200 steers to finish with half now on feed and the others still grazing a block further north. With the price at £4.60($NZ9.28)/kg we will move some of the cattle direct off grass at lighter weights. Ideally they will be 250kg plus deadweight at 18 months of age, which works for native cattle that have had minimal inputs to date. Those on feed should hit 300kg and more, but with feed barley at £250($NZ504)/t and climbing we just can’t justify feeding too much of it even if it is home grown.

It would be fair to say we have gone beyond optimum in terms of cattle numbers on the farm and we will tweak things back a little for next year with fewer trading cattle bought for finishing.

The next few months seem to be filling in rapidly including the autumn rugby tests, which might or might not be a highlight. With rugby’s world cup countdown on selection should be interesting. If our coach gets it right then we have a chance to break our duck against the All Blacks – they do seem a little vulnerable at the moment.