Agriculture has been in the mainstream news this month for both serious and comic reasons.

Claas Dominators were for a brief time the most searched item on the internet as MP and farmer, Neil Parrish, was forced to resign. Although it was never made clear whether he watched the complete tractor porn movie, or just the trailer?

The war in Ukraine continued to dominate headlines as Ukraine shut it's Black Sea ports and the battle raged at the key Ukrainian grain port of Mariupol. Rather like the Alamo, the defenders of the Azov steelworks have held at bay and tied up overwhelming invading forces.

The Battle for Kyiv led to a Russian rout and a decisive victory for Ukraine, with Western aid to level the odds.

The ripple effects that we predicted at the start of the war are playing out strongly, with dramatic rises in grain commodity markets and global food security challenges. Spring sowings in Russia are ahead of last year at this time.

In Ukraine corn sowings are down 17% year-on-year. The final total is very much in question, but could be down 20% at 4.4m ha. Farmers, too, are heroes in this war.

Shortages of cooking oils on UK supermarket shelves, barley and sunflower shortages are now evident. It is likely the biggest knock on effect is for the poorest, in the poorest regions of the world, such as Africa as predicted.

This has put a greater emphasis on both domestic food and military security in all European nations.

John Kerry was a misguided voice in the wilderness, when his response in the early days of the war, the week that Chernobyl was captured, was to hope that the war would not distract Putin from Russia's climate change net zero efforts.

Misguided 'Green' farming strategies, which would result in increased cost and imports of for European and UK consumers, are looking rather foolish in current and any likely future scenarios. We can see the effect of other misguided Green energy policies at play in Germany, where the cessation of nuclear and reliance on gas and wind as a result has hamstrung them into effectively feeding Russia's war machine.

A lot of Green red faces and rightly so. So many costly Green policies founder on the twin rocks of reality and complexity and the Law of Unintended Consequence.

The new Scottish National Test Programme for Soils is rather lacklustre and underwhelming as has been pointed out elsewhere. That means Scottish carbon capture, with less favoured hill areas covered in carbon hedge fund conifers, is likely one more such policy.

The collapse of rural infrastructure, such as marts, suppliers, shops and schools, has not been taken into account, as fewer working families can find a foothold in these areas. What price Net Zero now in this new world order?

The veneer of both civilisation and privilege is thin. Diplomacy is now dormant in this war after Russian atrocities.

Putin achieved the exact opposite of what he attempted, by using his military might to hide both major structural and economic weaknesses at home and to re-establish Russia and himself as a credible global player. He is doubling down on failure.

Back in the field of Ukraine, planting efforts continue and after excellent progress, some welcome rain delayed potato planting. Weed control on spring wheat will be applied this week and more sunflowers drilled.

There are a few instances of poor spring wheat emergence, no doubt as a result of sub-standard seed, as quality control and supply faltered in March. Wartime fuel and fert shortages continue and food processing is disrupted.

We continue our aid efforts in a variety of ways. Last week, we distributed free, high quality seed potatoes to a number of villages to replace supplies that had been eaten, or replace their own, which some have grown on for more than 15 years!

Our latest aid project is to raise funds for three four-wheel-drive vehicles to rescue villagers from threatened villages in the South-east. Some of our staff remain on the frontline, away from their families, as are many men in Ukraine.

We are humbled by, their heroism, as we are by the passion and stoicism of our farming team. We are also humbled and cheered by the support of the Scottish farming community. The latest major contribution from John Kyle and his staff at Caledonian Marts, in Stirling, was particularly welcome and their collection is still open for contributions.

Whilst our own UK Governments efforts to support Ukraine have been commendable, this should not detract, or excuse the many domestic failures and scandals at home. This includes the disgrace of the Ukrainian visa process and the 'Mone Talks' PPE police raids.

Though the electorate spoke loudly in May, Labour still appear to be suffering from a tad of Long Corbyn syndrome. The effects of Brexit in NI caused a major loss for the DUP.

As the second largest party behind Sinn Fein now, their support is needed to restart Stormont. Their price is the end to the Brexit Protocol they voted for and Frost and Johnson described as a great deal, whilst the ink was barely dry on the parchment. A game of chicken with the EU is not a warming prospect.

If this agreement is ended, we can expect wider repercussions and further trade difficulties hitting food and farming businesses, as well as wider economic effects. The gene editing technology ban is being reviewed by the EU and this valuable technology will be the theme of our SSCR agm on May 25 at JHI.

Controlled gene editing technology will now be allowed in England in legislation proposed in this week's Queen's Speech. Scotland needs to follow this lead or risk being left behind by both the rest of the UK and the EU.

Whilst export lorries queued in Kent, our new Minister for Brexit Opportunities and arch Brexiter, Rees Mogg, extended the lack of UK import inspections further. This on the basis of excessive Brexit paperwork and bureaucracy fuelling inflation even further.

Widely condemned by farmers, it is a clear admission, from the minister responsible himself, that Brexit is not 'Done' but 'Broken'. This is the man who has acquired an Irish passport, avoiding Brexit passport queues and who is on record as saying Brexit advantages would take half a century to become apparent.

UK businesses are now stuck with the worst of all worlds, increased difficulty, paperwork and lost markets for exports and little protection against cheap, inferior imports. To believe that the unscrupulous will not be taking advantage of these lack of import controls is naive. This will not only hit farming businesses, but food safety and animal welfare standards too.

Moving to supermarket own brands will not suffice in dealing with this cost of living crisis, where 2m UK citizens cannot afford to eat every day. This in the sixth richest country on earth. Time for an energy windfall tax?

The proclaimed Brexit benefits of freeports, which we could institute pre-Brexit anyway, have taken an interesting turn. The owners of P and O, DP World (DP stands for Dubai Ports), had been granted two contracts for running them in the UK.

DP World also runs the much criticised Dubai freeport and have been criticised for tax evasion, losing major judgements against HMRC. DP World is ultimately owned by the Dubai Royal family, from whom HM The Queen distanced herself following a High Court judgement on domestic abuse and horse doping in their racing stable.

They have now exited the Solent freeport development in April due to criticism over P and O sackings. Let's be clear, the Brexit Dividend is real and tangible, but only if you're still in the EU.

What a disgrace that Putin used the May Day Commemorations of heroic WW2 Russian losses, to suggest the current Russian military barbarities are in some way an historic parallel. Abuse of the heroic dead, as well as the heroic living.

Unlike their stoic parents and grandparents 80 years ago, they have failed massively so far. A further disgrace is the pathetic attempt of the Russian Orthodox Church to promote it as a holy war.

Western aid and sanctions and Ukrainian strength and valour have combined to thwart their barbaric efforts. The endemic corruption and skimming of enormous military spending by Putin and his cronies has come home to roost, in the largest military disaster ever for Russia. The attrition rates are far higher than Afghanistan, or the US in Vietnam.

Russia has already lost the war and Ukraine won, but there is no room for complacency. Finns will have started their entry into NATO journey this weekend.Without his nuclear option, Putin would be floundering even further.

It was interesting to note that Putin did not declare all out war and conscription at the May Day parades, as this would have been a public admission of defeat. Putin provided nothing new. Nothing but a retread of discredited lies around Nazi rhetoric.

As Kennedy said at the time of the Cuban missile crisis 'you do not back a nuclear opponent into a corner.' I'm afraid we can no longer cut a sizeable majority of the Russian population any slack, in claiming they are unaware of events. This flawed hypothesis is no longer tenable.

There are still those brave enough to protest but the majority support the war, particularly the elderly, less educated and rural. They too must now face the verdict of history in this 78th day of War in Europe as many bright, educated young people leave Russia.

The war in Ukraine has also fed into the cost of living crisis in the UK, but much of the price inflation was dialled in well before Putin's invasion due to Brexit, gas price hikes and Covid. Latest Bank of England forecasts have worryingly shown lower GDP and higher inflation than hitherto. Employers struggle to find employees and significant wage inflation lags behind food and fuel inflation.

Sunflower oil is now absent from shelves as the world's No 1 exporter concentrates on an existential threat to Western liberty. Increased plantings of SFS (sunflower seed) in, for example, Poland will not make up the shortfall and produce prices rise to reflect this.

The CEO of Kernel, the biggest grower and processor of SFS in Ukraine, reported exports to be down to 10% of normal and forecasts production to be down by 40% in 2022. Kernel are a major player in global sunflower markets, as I learnt a decade ago when evaluating their farming operations for them on their rich black soils in the east.

Their major limitation there is rainfall of 350mm per year – unlike our farm in Western Ukraine that is double that. Dry conditions in many parts of Europe so far will compound these production effects.

With Black Sea ports closed, more pressure is being put on Ukraine's rail network, both internally and for export. Railwaymen and women are the unsung war heroes.

The difference in rail guages between Ukraine and Europe and shortages of rolling stock, compound the difficulties in this export route, as we found over the years exporting OSR to biodiesel plants in Germany. Rail grain exports tripled this month, but they are less than 15% of those normally flowing through the Black Sea ports.

Meanwhile, in the Far East, China appears to be making a series of strategic mistakes. It's zero Covid policy is unravelling and locking down farmers at a key planting time is not a sensible strategy for domestic food security. Wheat plantings were already down due to flooding there.

Its support of an increasingly marginalized Russia looks more and more untenable. How long will the China-Russia axis survive as a partnership when Russian exports diminish and commodity based economy falters?

As reported in earlier columns, this is likely to be the first reduced global grain harvest for a decade after a steady upward curve that has fed the world. This will be caused by reduced fertiliser usage due to energy insecurity, together with reduced plantings and harvest in both Ukraine and China.

It will not be due to climate, but humanity. You will no doubt have seen the heavy promotion of the new Saudi city of the future venture, NEOM. Here they claim to be revolutionising food production with vertical greenhouse farming.

Vertical farming will be a useful contributor, but only a rounding error in global food dynamics. These will never make up the shortfall of 2022. Such costly vanity projects as NEOM may provide some costly garnish or herbs on the global dinner plate.

The staple main course will, of course, continue to be provided by farming heroes all over the world, tilling the soil carefully and diligently as it's aye been.