IT IS our fervent hope that a White Knight, emboldened by the possible tightening of dairy products being imported into the UK – thus boosting the home-grown product – will ride to the rescue of North-east Scotland's hardy bunch of dairy farmers by building the processing plant that the region so badly needs.

But, we fear that it is a hope that is getting ever fainter given the news that one of the leading lights which could have been at the forefront of supplying it, doubts the future of the industry so much that a large portion of its dairy cattle were dispersed last week.

What is muddying the waters considerably is that EU funding would have been readily available for such a project under various rural development schemes. However, the political system in the UK is in such disarray over Brexit, that it would be a brave organisation that would put a heap of its own cash into a project to build a plant in the hope that the government would buy into it. And, expecting the EU to bust a gut in helping anything to do with the UK industry in the run up to Brexit, is a non-starter.

The uncertainty surrounding future support for the agricultural industry goes far beyond the Basic Farm Payment scheme – rural development funding is also questionable post-Brexit and in some areas, it is just as important in maintaining a viable industry as monies put into supporting what will be 'formerly known as the CAP'.

Weed's get a golden 'hello'

SO WE now have five years to find a replacement herbicide to glyphosate – that's going to be a tough job considering no one ever thought that the best selling, best acting and cheapest product would ever be banned.

At very best, the glyphosate ban will be rescinded once the German political situation settles down, at worst we really will face a ban on a chemical which is out of all proportion to the risk and which the best scientific brains say is safe to use.

But, the final outcome will be the development of another chemical, that in all likelihood will be less effective and more expensive. Had glyphosate been banned this past harvest season, God knows what sort of mess the Scottish cereal-growing business would be in – and so, it's a big 'Hello' to pernicious yield-robbing weeds like brome, couch and black-grass.