We farmers live in a global market and even with increasing nationalism – very different to patriotism – this is still true.

This was emphasised to me by events on opposite sides of the world this month. I visited Australia for two weeks in October and spent time travelling in the rural areas of NSW, ACT and Victoria. Large areas were suffering from multi-year drought and in this year alone, large areas were suffering from their worst annual recorded drought in roughly a century.

This still constitutes ‘weather’ rather than a climate change, which is defined as a change over 30 years. Nevertheless, this is causing major hardship and exportable wheat surpluses will be down to around 60% of a normal year.

Medium term, predictions are of less than a 50% exportable surplus, as yields drop and internal feed markets increase with lower pasture yields. This will impact on global wheat prices this year.

Indeed, some farmers cannot afford to feed their pedigree stock and so there will be damaging effects on the genetic potential of the national herd.

As I left at the start of this month, the drought broke (to an extent) in some areas of Victoria and Queensland, but not in time to save wheat and rape crops which were well into ear.

This is only just spring and many soils are already parched. Water prices have surged to £500 a megalitre (a million litres) in the Murray Darling River Basin, with water intensive crops like almonds, cotton, citrus and also olives getting thirsty in 38°C temperatures.

Much of these crops are destined for the huge Chinese and South-east Asian markets, where 60% of the world’s middle class will reside by 2030. Like NZ’s dairy and Australia’s mining industries, Australian Ag is dependent on Asian markets, as are their whole economies.

I witnessed the eco riots in Melbourne first hand at the global mining conference, which is an industry that has driven the Aussie economy for decades.

Restrictions on available water for environmental purposes by 25%, under the Murray Darling Plan have exacerbated the current droughts impact. There is much discussion of the ‘environmental drag’ of ‘green’ regulation and services from the Australian farming industry, as benefits are achieved for the public good, but at significant and inequitable cost to the private landholder.

This fact is now being more recognised, with these regulations allowing Australia to meet its Kyoto obligations but a cost to the impacted landholders. We need to watch this situation is not repeated in Scotland as pressure comes onto our industry over greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s interesting to note that a recent EU report showed 85% of carbon offset schemes did absolutely nothing to reduce emissions. Interesting also that US electric car manufacturer has announced a dramatic drop in profits on the back of lower sales.

In Oz, more than £3bn is being earmarked for drought relief and ‘Pay to walk away’ payments are being mooted. One of my farmer friends was talking enthusiastically about rebuilding organic matters with cover crops, organic manure, minimum tillage and fallows. How this fits in with loss of production and income, plus an increasing swing to a plant-based diet was less clear.

In our operations in Ukraine, harvest yields are significantly down on the 10-year average in cereal and beet crops. Autumn drilling has proceeded, but difficult drilling conditions represent a threat with both area and crop condition impacted.

There is no further firm news on the lifting of the agricultural land sales moratorium, but watch this space for investment opportunities.

A second experience which emphasised this globalism was in Sweden, this summer. It is a rural right that even on private land the public have the right to pick wild berries. In the last few years, groups of Thai pickers, paying their own air fares, have arrived to pick these abundant fruits for industrial jam contracts for overseas companies.

The problem is not overpicking, but illegal camps and human pollution in the pristine forests. This has now been regulated more firmly, but who would have imagined such a situation a few years ago. A global village.

The third global event this month is the fuel riots in Chile, due to the increasing cost of energy associated with environmental carbon taxes. This follows the short-lived French precedent of the gilet jaunes protests over ‘green’ taxes on energy.

This follows what I call the ‘Clipboard Syndrome’, which is the disparity between many people’s stated buying intentions and philosophy when asked by a clipboard wielding researcher, and their actual different decision when opening their wallets or purses.

As a result of the violent Chilean riots, the latest International Climate Conference has been switched to Madrid. This has, unfortunately, led to Greta Thunberg being stranded, on the wrong side of the Atlantic to make a contribution in Madrid – and pleading on Twitter for help to travel to Europe.

Sadly, a crew had already been flown out to the US to sail her much publicised ‘carbon-free’ yacht back across the Atlantic. Whilst I respect the passion and engagement of young people on the issue, I fear they are victims of the exaggeration and hysteria of an alarmist agenda on a climate ‘crisis’ that just isn’t.

Even more worrying is the effect on young people’s mental health and attitudes. This is exemplified by the Extinction Rebellion ally movement Birthstrike, which misguidedly decided not to have children to protest the impending climate ‘crisis.’

The truth is, extreme weather events have not significantly increased (IPCC), nor have wildfires in the US and Amazon compared to historical levels (NASA). The global harvest, despite drought issues, remains on track to join the last six as near record harvests, with EU production the second highest in over two decades.

With increased consumption, global stocks are now reducing significantly. Doesn’t look to this experienced global observer we have only 10 years left, let alone only the two forecast by some.

The reassuring news is that, with ever decreasing forecast horizons, the alarmist bluff will be called soon enough. We need to preserve, mitigate and conserve, but in the right way and at the right pace, and cost.

So to Brexit. There can be no one in the industry left who now doesn’t realise that, with or without a ‘Deal’, Brexit represents an existential threat to the vast majority of UK farmers and also supply industries. Recent tractor prices point that out eloquently.

The first of November, or Remain Day, came and went without the promised Leaver riots promised by many a Brexiteer. Not with a bang but with a whimper.

Life’s a ditch and then you lie!