NOW THAT some of the fog is clearing on what the possible outcomes for our 'divorce' from the EU might mean, the one thing that is abundantly clear is that a hard-Brexit will mean Armageddon for some farming businesses.

Sheep farming, in particular, will face an uphill struggle – no pun intended, because it will be the hill sheep systems that will face most pain. In the worst-case scenario, the sheep industry in Scotland would be halved as we will not have a home market hungry enough to swallow the output and exports will become untenable due to high tariffs. Unthinkable as it may seem, it is still possible.

The beef industry might be better off in some respects from a hard-Brexit but, like sheep farming, there is no complete solace from any of the three possible Brexit scenarios (see page 4 for our story on this). Even a soft-Brexit will cost the industry in terms of compliance at points of import/export to Europe as we will have to pay for the dreaded 'paperwork' to be processed.

In that respect, too, there is a growing feeling that even were we to have success in negotiating the best possible deal, with almost unhindered access to Europe, there will still be the possibility of passive resistance to our products going through European ports. There may even be stronger opposition from the likes of French farmers who have been fairly passive towards UK produce in recent years when we were part of 'the family'.

When we get our 'divorced absolute', there is every reason to suspect that as with all things of that nature, there will be acrimony and disharmony. And, just like any divorce, it could be five or even 10 years before things 'settle down' into a workable, amicable relationship.

The irony is that while the UK scrabbles about looking for new bedmates, our old partner might actually still be the hottest option!

Sterling work

TOXOPLASMOSIS is a killer disease in both sheep and humans and so the news of a breakthrough in how the parasite that causes it 'works' is welcome indeed.

This disease causes countless losses in breeding sheep across the UK and is spread mainly by domestic cats. But if this work eventually saves the life of one child, then Glasgow University's sterling work will have been well worthwhile – that would be a priceless gift.