OUR grannies didn't half know how to sook their eggs!

But what's that got to do with the production of beef, I hear you shout? Well, it's just that our forefathers certainly knew and appreciated how much natural goodness we could get to feed our livestock from the environment around us ... but we're catching up (again).

The use of seaweed in diets to reduce methane is not new science, but has recently been given fresh impetus in the race to make beef production more environmentally acceptable, though some will argue that we are already progressing in many ways in that direction. Anyone with any experience of buying livestock from the islands and coastal areas, will know that those shore grazers are definitely healthy stock. There is a sheen about them that makes them stand out, their feet are harder and they are good 'do'ers'.

The Islanders and Highlanders have long known that's down to the little bits of seaweed and shore vegetation in their diets. There's also evidence to suggest that animals grazed on the shore rarely (if at any time) need wormed because of the effect of the natural salts, enzymes and trace elements from seaweed.

So, are we lagging behind Australia on this (see page 7)? Well yes, but we are catching up (again). The SF knows that M and S – always a leader in promoting and accrediting production systems that have a direct correlation to their end customers' expectations – is investigating the regular use of seaweed in cattle finishing diets to that very end, ie much reduced methane production. QMS is also closely monitoring this.

Claims of a reduction in this important greenhouse gas of 80%-plus is quite incredible and as if by chance, this was also one of the important side strings mentioned within the Suckler Beef Climate Group recommendations and which should be further scrutinised and acted on by the new 'Implementation board' tasked with generating a new, greener agricultural policy for this country, announced just last week.

The other great news about all this is that it will be a great contributor to the circular economy of Scotland, where we have vast resources of seaweed to harvest for this very purpose and which will further the provenance of 'bred and fed' Scotch Beef and Lamb. No need for expensive maize, imported by-products or manufactured animal feed additives – it's all sitting there waiting to be harvested.

Importantly, if it is managed well, then it will be a highly sustainable. Importantly, seaweed is already used in the production of many foodstuffs as a gelling agent and in pharmaceuticals, like ladies make-up. What's not to like?

While we're on about it, whatever happened to the production of early potatoes, especially in South Ayrshire, where the land was coated with seaweed as a fertiliser prior to sowing – but no longer get the benefit of it. Am I in a minority that thinks those early spuds tasted better?

So, let's get back to the future and use what granny did for her spuds ... before sooking her eggs.