WE CANNOT help but view Muller's proposed price cut of 1.5ppl in January as something akin to a lemming jumping off a cliff. The only problem is, it would appear that the other lemmings are queuing up to do the same.

There seems little reasoning behind such a move. We have been hearing of butter shortages, cheese production being squeezed and even liquid milk difficult to find in retailers' shelves, yet here is doom and gloom being peddled as the reasons why there needs to be a cut.

The biggest worry, surely, from the processing point of view is continuity of supply. Tee-ing off most of your suppliers does little to bolster that in an industry which was just showing signs of recovering some confidence after an almost two-year-long hammering.

There will be every justification if producers, many of whom are also facing a fodder crisis because of the poor summer, simply turn the milk tap off after Christmas. While this will most likely trigger production penalty clauses and on the face of it would be self-defeating, a collective action by milk producers, could help sway their big buyers. They cannot last without supply and the Scottish government is so worried about the lack of clarity in the way milk processors operate and structure their prices schedules, that serious questions are being raised.

It is a scenario largely being mirrored by potato growers who are facing similarly bearish attitudes from their buyers. Many tonnes have been rejected by some of the trade and for seemingly spurious reasons, with the prices hovering at around half of that achieved last year.

But, both production sectors can rightly be outraged by the fact that retail prices have shifted not one jot downwards – in fact, there is even evidence to show that potato prices have actually sneaked up in the shops.

It remains a conundrum with little means of solving it – unless producers, collectively, gain some power. Ever since the demise of the marketing boards, the pendulum seems to have become stuck on the side of the processors and it is high time that the industry stopped having the Sword of Damocles hung over it.

There is a lot of sympathy for farming's lobbyists who are doing a lot of excellent work behind the scenes, NFUS especially, but are limited by budget. The fear must be that the machinations of Brexit are taking up too much time and effort from everyone, the farming unions and politicians, and that the processors are making the most of that.

Maybe it's time to give Brexit a back seat and concentrate on the immediate problems facing the industry?