Another month goes past and another month of Putin and Russia weaponising food, fertiliser and fuel to the great detriment of humanity.

As I stated in my March column, the ripple effects are wide and far reaching across the world. They are now becoming waves, not ripples.

Meanwhile, Putin's grim basset hound, Sergey Lavrov, claims the reverse to be true, whilst holding out the deceitful prospect of a path for grain exports across the Black Sea. Black Sea BS, this whilst attacking export facilities and grain storage in the port of Mykolaiv. A city we know well and a former Soviet submarine yard.

We built and ran a huge irrigated sugar beet farm business there over 10 years ago, with the largest travelling wheeled irrigation span in Europe at 1.5km.

With the heroic achievement of 80% of the Ukraine's normal sowing being completed, a number of farmers have been killed by landmines in the East. Total area sown is down from 16.9m ha in 2021 to 13.4m ha this year, but what an achievement.

These tragic deaths are the real and bloody cost of food security. Make no mistake, Putin is condemning millions more to death through hunger again, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. For instance, Senegal receives over half its wheat from Russia and Rwanda, Congo and Eritrea are even more dependent.

Western sanctions have no connection with this barbaric use of grain as a weapon against the poorest. Interesting that eight times more refugees will be coming back on the return flight from Rwanda under Patel's costly agreement than will be outward bound on the first flight to Rwanda.

There are more than 20m tonnes of grain from harvest 2021 still in Ukrainian silos – around a million truck loads. Harvest, 2022, is roaring down the tracks in a week or so and so one thing forgotten by many commentators is that drilling for harvest 2023 will begin in less than eight weeks, and planting will be a real act of faith with grain storage and transport logistics in barbaric chaos.

Cashflow is a major problem for farmers who have not yet sold their 2021 harvest, let alone 2022. Yet they need to fund the seed, fert and fuel for harvest '23. The annual planting cycle and climate wait for no man, this is doubly so in regions with short growing periods and harsh winters.

Meanwhile, the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian military and people continues with Western support. As predicted, this is no short term campaign. Ukraine has been fighting Russia in the East for nearly 4000 days not 120, so many thanks to John Kyle and his team at Caledonian Marts, at Stirling, for their fantastic fundraising for farmers in Ukraine.

For the Russians, propaganda is an all-important battle for hearts and minds in Africa and the Middle East. Regions of the world where the poorest are likely to be hit hardest by Ukraine's inability to export its huge shipments of grain out of the Black Sea ports. Hence Putin's socially less distanced meeting with head of the African Congress to blame Western sanctions. Once KGB always KGB.

In the latest chapter in propaganda-driven theatrics, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, visited Ankara last week for talks on opening shipping corridors, but the Ukrainians rightly observed that they, the actual owners of the ports, were not at the table – so no deal in Ankara without them.

These deceitful overtures, in return for blackmail to ease sanctions, have created volatility in markets recently. My view is that there will be no major grain exports from Black Sea ports in the near future.

Mining of the approaches to Odessa by Ukraine to help fend off a seaborne assault on the city would take time to clear. Who would insure an expensive grain freighter in such circumstances and at what cost, let alone the risk to life?

As highlighted last month, road and rail connections west are limited by gauge, volume and available rolling stock. Even with increased exports from Gdansk in the Baltic and the Black Sea port of Constanta, in Romania, they still need to get there across land. Useful no doubt, but no replacement for Black Sea. Global logistics are challenging at best.

Meanwhile, India has doubled its imports of Russian oil – no sign of sanctions there, in a heat stricken nation curtailing grain exports. After three decades, modern renewable energy still provides only 4% of global energy needs.

Current high energy costs give us a glance of a Net Zero future. Fossil fuel company shares remain high, whilst tech stocks drop and these energy sources are, and will remain, a big part of the future. As a renewable energy pioneer, I have no doubt of that.

Our crops in the West of Ukraine are looking well and growth has been rapid in warm conditions. Temperatures are now a little too hot and conditions dry. Rain is needed even in the wetter west of the country. Scottish crops look bountiful too, every tonne will be needed.

It is often cited that the Eastern Ukraine is more Russian looking and speaking than the West. It's worth noting the historical reason for this is the massive past genocide of 5-7m Ukrainians killed by starvation in the last Russian genocide, the Holodomor, under Stalin in 1931/32. The Stalin that Putin hero worships.

The deserted villages were then repopulated by Stalin, moving native Russians into the country. Even these historically Russian facing Eastern Ukrainians are now in the overwhelming majority against this new wave of Russia aggressors.

All yearn for peace, but not at any price.

President Zelensky was asked recently by an Italian journalist: "Which areas of Ukraine would you be prepared to give up to secure peace with the Russians." His reply was a curt: "How about Lake Como?" We cannot allow a bully to gain from his bullying, or where will it stop?

Meanwhile, weather cycles – not climate – have impacted on other parts of the world's crop production. The powerful La Nina continues to exert a powerful effect with an earlier dry season in South America and Western US and wetter conditions in Australia. Whilst our first crops of soya were excellent in Brazil, the second crop (or sarfina) of maize has been disappointing as have cover crops to protect the soil and increase soil OM.

On a trip to France, last week, I witnessed premature ripening of both wheat and barley. Thunderstorms in the Paris Basin coming too late for many crops, with earlier dry conditions hitting ear numbers. Poland, too, has suffered from a dry spring.

Thus, grain prices will remain high in my view.

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. They will never make up the shortfall of 2022.

Such costly vanity projects, such as NEOM, may provide some costly garnish or herbs on the global dinner plate, but not the staples. After my comments on the DP (Dubai Ports) ownership of P and O and dubious freeports last month, it was interesting to see them in the headlines again as sponsors of the DP European Golf Tour.

A tour in conflict with the Saudi backed new Liv golf tour. Yet another appendage waving contest for rich sports-washing nations with dubious international credentials, especially in the current conflict.

The world is currently full of examples of the Law of Unintended Consequence and policies being OBE'd (Overtaken by Events). Nowhere more so than in our sphere of food and crop production.

The Dimbleby report in the UK and the EU's aim to have 25% of Europe organic have both been kicked down the road into the long grass. The former due to the cost of living crisis and the unpalatability of UK salt and sugar taxation.

More to do with political expediency in placating right wing MPs and avoidance of hitting households with even more tax than any vision. This after a vote when 75% of Tory backbenchers expressed zero confidence in PM Johnson.

The guarantee of farm subsidies until 2029 is also being ditched in England. Martin Kennedy, of NFUS, is quite right in stressing the need for food first in any strategy. There should be no conflict in profitable, secure food production and environmental protection, if facts and evidence rather than dogma and wishful thinking are applied.

The EU change of direction is due to the greater need for EU food security and the realisation that organic farming is unsustainable in its hunger for that most important resource– land. The spectacular recent failure of nationwide organic farming initiatives in Sri Lanka, and before that in Cuba, are proof of that.

I was honoured to visit Ploughlands Farm, on the Mertoun Estates, this month to address the Borders and Lothian NFU meeting on the subject of 'Global grain prices.' It was a delight to see and hear about the investment that Jack Parsons and the estate has put into place.

It is almost 40 years since I first visited Ploughlands to assess field trials for ESCA (later SAC) with the indefatigable Bill Chapman. Good to see excellent crops and investment in new technology as there was back in 1983. Such investment and faith by farmers in these challenging times deserves government support as we calibrate into a new world order.

Is that support likely forthcoming with new food strategies announced this week? We will already see a £93m shortfall in farm funding in Scotland alone from 2021/22 to 2024/25 compared to when in EU.

An unexpected drop in UK GDP announced this week and no UK long term economic plan from the Government, do not bode well. Northern Ireland and the Republic are showing record growth post-Brexit, but with NI Protocol posturing this week and a possible trade war with the EU in sight?

These new 'problematic' border checks are causing problems across the Irish Sea but apparently no issues across the English Channel into the EU, according to Johnson. A man whose grasp of detail and work ethic is legendary, I hear.

This proposed legislation runs against the express wishes of the majority of those in Northern Ireland. British exports are already down 16% whilst globally trade is up 6%, there is no doubt Brexit has made this gap worse. Brexit is Broken.

At the same time, the UK and Russia are aligned in one respect. They are together in being the only big rich countries with a zero growth forecast going forward. At the same time UK inflation is running at 9%, the highest in rich economies, and productivity is low.

New Government policies need to reflect the increasing importance of home grown food and a sustainable and healthy system, not only environmentally but economically. In my view, the Westminster policy announced this week seems rather lacklustre, lacking trade protections. Long on promise but lightweight on policy and commitments.

Farmers and the whole industry, not to mention the consumer, deserve better. Hopefully, the Holyrood policy will have more vision, but a vision grounded in the day to day needs and realities in this new world. We shall see.