THIS DRUM has been banged so many times, that it seems to have induced deafness in those who should have been listening to it.

We speak, of course, about the IT fiasco – there can be no other word for it – that continues to plague the agricultural industry with late payments, monies 'on hold' and a seemingly endless stream of bureaucracy to try and make sense of it all.

The Scottish Farmer believes that this failed IT system has cost the Scottish taxpayer close to £250m and has delivered hee-haw in return but broken promises, deadline failures and inaccuracies. How can this still be the case three years down the line.

This week, former NFUS president Jim Walker described this – again – as a scandalous state of affairs.

We should note that when this problem first arose, it was reported that it cost the Scottish Government £1.1m in extra wages for staff to do the process almost entirely manually. Even rudimentary arithmetic tells us that doing it this way means we could have done without a dodgy IT system for 200 years – and still had change at the end of it.

So, we still have a bespoke, but broken system that will largely become redundant next year when we leave Brexit for the La-La Land currently being fudged in a backroom in Westminster.

That leads the entire industry to ask what will happen now to the failed IT system. Can it be re-purposed? Does it have a second-hand value? And, to keep in line with the 'green' criteria that this industry and The Great British Public is so often asked to comply with, can it be re-cycled?

We should be told.

Drug testing

THE RED Tractor assurance scheme has never really had a fan base in Scotland. It was largely seen as an 'English' thing, or a great big advert for Massey Ferguson.

However, Scottish farmers will increasingly become aware of its power when new regulations aimed at curbing antibiotic use come into force in a few days' time.

The aim of having animals tested prior to administration of antibiotics should, in theory, lead to a more targeted and responsible approach. However, the flip side is that no one seems to know much about how this came about – given that it will affect almost every milk producer in the Borders and South-west Scotland – and it will be a cost burden on an industry which is already teetering on a knife-edge of profitability.