Our hearts go out to farmers grappling with Schmallenberg in their early lambing flocks—let's just hope this wicked disease doesn't venture north.

The Bristol University post-mortem services laboratory has been critical in tracking the disease, but if the outbreak were further from facilities, alerting farmers to the disease would be an even tougher task.

What to do with the information of a confirmed outbreak is unclear. Resistance in flocks and herds will be higher after an outbreak, making expensive vaccinations less appealing, that is if pharmaceutical companies restart making the medicine.

We need to watch carefully for midge-borne diseases, as with increased reported temperatures, the chances of transmissions in Scotland will rise. However, so far, Scotland’s livestock seem to be in the clear.

SRUC veterinary services regularly provide diagnostic advice to local vets, so they can both investigate cases of milk drop and abortion as part of routine surveillance and always consider Schmallenberg as a potential differential. This season they have seen no evidence of cases in Scotland recently but will continue to look for this through ongoing surveillance.

In Scotland, farmers have witnessed a decline in the number of post-mortem facilities in recent years. While the Scottish Rural College (SRUC) diligently surveys the disease burden on our livestock, obtaining accurate data relies on getting samples.

For those within reach of a vet lab, testing deadstock is a valuable exercise, but amid the chaos of lambing and calving, this crucial task often takes a back seat.

Perhaps the Scottish government should consider building on recent initiatives subsidising worm and fluke counts as well as action on pneumonia in cattle. It would be worthwhile increasing subsidies for post-mortems and disease investigation in the new rural policy when it arrives.

The concept is there, and we could build on this. Boosting livestock health is a triple win: enhanced efficiency, reduced emissions, and, crucially, food production.

However, ensuring the nation's plate is filled at dinnertime seems to be slipping down the government's priority list.

One clear government target is for quality food production, but this remains undefined, leaving us questioning whether what we produced in the past lacked quality. As more land is claimed for urban expansion, nature restoration, and tree planting, the remaining farmland must bear a heavier load.

Achieving this while the government commits to a 30% reduction in methane production in the coming years needs a detailed plan urgently if there is any hope of success.

Perhaps we need an ITV drama to shine a spotlight on this messy situation before we witness any substantial action.