Having had three weeks away from writing this column – some on the road in the US travelling from Nashville to Memphis and then down to New Orleans – it makes you appreciate our dryness back home!

We think we get a lot of rain in Scotland, but out there – especially when following the Mississippi for quite some way – the storms and hurricanes appear to be a regular occurrence. Three to five inches of rain per day are normal, along with violent storms that saw more than 140,000 houses in Memphis without electricity when we were there.

We watch the weather forecast here as a habitual routine as it affects our daily work and life but out there the weather TV programmes go out non-stop and were accurate to the minute. That meant we were able to plan our movements around the storms and managed to avoid the worst of it.

If we had the forecast accuracy here which pin-pointed the land to be affected to a small area, then that would make land work operations, such as spraying, so much easier and cost effective. I do not know why we cannot get this up-to-date accuracy here, given all the technology that we have at our disposal.

Due to the large amount of rainfall around the Mississippi – the world’s third longest river and which has the second largest sugar cane refinery on its banks at New Orleans – we did not see much from our vehicle as we travelled south approximately 1000 miles from Nashville.

This was due to the large amount of vegetation and dense forestry areas lining the long straight motorways. When there was a gap in the trees, I could see large grass fields with mostly Aberdeen-Angus herds grazing contently in the 80-90°F (27-32°C) heat.

There appeared to be very little cultivation until we visited a cotton producing estate and sugar cane plantation.

In the past, slave labour and oxen were used to produce cotton, but now they are very modern. All the work is done by machinery, but the cotton still ends up in big half-tonne wrapped bales.

In the past cotton was financially highly lucrative, but now prices are so competitive that it is only the larger farms, such as the one that we visited, that have survived. It had about 2500 acres of cotton grown commercially.

The sugar cane plantation also had a long history of production. We were shown through a mansion house that the owners lived in when the slaves did all the work and the sugar cane fields looked immaculate and well managed.

The cotton fields had all been levelled with GPS technology to make sure that there was no flooding on the large fields, some of which were more than 200 acres in size. When the rains came, the crop management was impressive with lots of John Deere equipment in evidence.

New Orleans is approximately six-feet below sea level and with the large amounts of rain there are levies, or flood banks built around the city to keep the lakes and rivers from flooding the streets.

A levy burst about 10 years ago, when hurricane Katrina came through and again about three years later, which caused an immense amount of damage. There were 2000 deaths and many houses and buildings washed away.

It took years to rebuild the city and even today there are gaps in the streets where houses used to be.

Most of the deaths occurred when the inhabitants moved upstairs and had nowhere to escape through the roof. Now, house owners keep an axe upstairs to cut their way out through the roof.

Over the past three weeks back here, most of the discussion has been around yet another election and the weather which has seen November, 2017, new crop wheat futures hovering around £142. Not much different to that which I left, but they are still the highest new crop prices at this stage ahead of harvest since 2013.

UK wheat is now around £10 per tonne too expensive to export. That said, weather issues around the world have supported prices and Spain has started its harvest in dry conditions.

This will see a barley crop there of around 6.1m tonnes, or a third from last year’s 9.2m tonnes.

Dry weather is also playing havoc in Australia where planting has been delayed, with approximately 15% of the crop still to be sown. In the US, crop ratings have fallen to a 29-year low of 55% ‘good’, compared to 79% last year – due to dry hot conditions across the Northern Plains.

Oilseed rape was up £10 on the week as weather concerns hit US soya and Canadian canola crop prospects. This is because of lower than usual rainfall in the Southern Prairies and forecasts of hot and dry weather for this coming week. News of strong Chinese soya imports also helped to support prices, with a record 9.59m tonnes imported there in May.

As always, weather and currency keep market volatility going and, along with the recent political goings on, nothing looks likely to change in the near future.