With the weather gods granting us a decent spell a couple of weeks back at the end of March, most minds were probably focused on avoiding wet holes in fields as a start was made to the spring work.

Understandably, this might have meant that many missed out on the plethora of political announcements which were made in the last few days before the Scottish election purdah period kicked in.

In fact there were more government reports, initiatives, decisions and declarations rolled out during those last few hours than you would normally see during the course of a month of Sundays.

Traditionally, the six-week period prior to elections is a time in which civil servants must be seen to be politically impartial - and avoid any new or controversial announcements being made on government matters which could be construed as being advantageous to either an individual or a political party.

So, for those keeping a keen weather eye on farming matters, what was squeezed out under the wire by the administration in the last few hours before the traditional restrictions on communications activity came into effect?

Well, on top of the announcement which materialised from the RHASS about the £750,000 which the Scottish Government had coughed up for the Highland Show bailout, there was also the passing of new legislation on the control of dogs which saw the fines for attacks on livestock massively increased and bolstered by the threat of a year’s imprisonment (although, to be fair, this received pretty close to unanimous cross-party support).

We also saw the release of the latest update to Scotland’s Land Use Strategy Report, a major paper on the 'Just Transition' towards the country’s greener future, an interim report from the climate assembly, the response to the independent review of deer management and confirmation of the most recent Scottish Agricultural Wages Board order.

You might question just how many of these things were ever likely to be viewed as possibly breaching rules on parliamentary procedural propriety – but these things are taken very seriously and no one would want to run the risk of a judicial review.

However, in most cases, I think that rather than seeking any political gain, their publication was more of a tidying up exercise to get them in before the bell – along the lines of the rush to get the last bits of paperwork sorted out before the farm assurance assessor visits.

But it was a bit disappointing to see that the publication of the reports from the farmer-led groups on climate change, which were also released on the very same day, seemed to get a bit buried in this headlong rush.

Rather than receiving the fanfare and press attention which met the beef suckler group’s initial report which came out last year, the new reports slipped in almost under the radar.

On the positive side, I suppose the pressure to get the reports completed by the late March deadline provided the discipline of having a target to aim for – as with sowing, lambing and calving all kicking in as spring appeared, I suspect that there would have been a bit of a dilution in the keen focus which the members of the groups were willing (or able) to give to the issues, however important they’re going to be in the long term.

Pictured earlier this week: Carnegie Crop Services, Brechin spraying Wheat at Dendoldrum Farm, Inverbervie, Aberdeenshire

Pictured earlier this week: Carnegie Crop Services, Brechin spraying Wheat at Dendoldrum Farm, Inverbervie, Aberdeenshire

Having been a member of the arable group, I know that those chairing the groups and the individuals tasked with the job of pulling together the range of thoughts expressed at the meetings and drawing them together in a coherent form for the final reports put a huge amount of effort into producing a set of readable, farmer-focused documents which seek to address the extremely difficult task of changing decades – if not centuries – of mindset.

While active farming and food production remain the central features of all the reports, they also recognise that taking a King Canute approach to climate change simply won’t work and that additional aims, and other goods and services, will need to be delivered by the industry if it’s going to be seen to be doing its bit towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

There’s no getting away from the fact that this will see a fair bit of upheaval within the industry.

But I don’t think that there’s any denying that it’ll be far better to work willingly with recommendations made by people with practical experience of the industry, than it would be to cope with the harsh expediency and big stick which might be wielded if we don’t.

For it certainly wouldn’t be difficult to imagine someone who didn’t appreciate the complexities of the situation on the ground thinking that getting rid of a large proportion of the country’s cattle, whacking a hefty tax on fertilisers and other inputs like sprays and doing away with the rebate on red diesel might be a quick and easy way of meeting greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

One worry which came up – and which I mentioned in an earlier piece – was the way in which the groups were set up: With one for arable, dairy, pigs and crofting and hill and upland, along with the earlier suckler beef group. This sort of ‘silo’ basis, with each sector looking at their own individual issues could have led to division within the industry and huge complications within the majority of businesses operating in more than one sector.

So, I was relieved to see that one of the firm conclusions to be put forward by all the groups was that the issue simply must be tackled in a whole industry way. Because there’s no getting away from the interdependence of all the sectors of the industry – both at individual farm level and on a national basis.

I’m also pleased to say that the arable group steered away from favouring any one single approach as offering a silver bullet answer to the issues being faced.

At a time when there’s no end of single interest groups trying to claim the moral high ground in the fight against climate change, it would have been easy to side with either min-till fundamentalists, hard-core organic practitioners, regenerative agriculture fan boys (and girls), techno-agriculture geeks, or the many other such groups which are battling for the attention of the policy makers.

But instead, Andrew Moir must be congratulated on steering through the highly readable 25-page report which sees a whole range of options as the way forward – with the suite of measures recommended by the report offering permutations almost as diverse as the systems adopted on individual farms.

The management options recommended by the group range from measures such as support for basics like liming and drainage through to the adoption of high-tech precision farming techniques.

Another important point picked up by most of the groups was the fact that a good deal of flexibility should be built into any new system – with the realisation that both the science itself and the measuring and auditing techniques behind both emissions and sequestration are still in their relative infancy meaning that improved metrics and understanding could alter markedly as the science matures and this could significantly change how the issues are viewed.

It has to be said, though, that while all these documents offer a huge amount of sage advice to the policy makers, at the end of the day they will need to be acted upon.

While the shelves of reports offering suggestions and recommendations for the future of farming in Scotland – which surely adorn the walls of the Cabinet Secretary's office must now rival that of the British Library – decisions need to be taken and put into action not only to address climate change but also to give the industry the confidence which it needs to operate, plan and invest for the future.

Lets just hope the next administration prioritises the pre-purdah panic – and puts it into practice.