IT'S BEEN a benign spring thus far for both livestock and arable farmers. But for crop growers – who should be champing at the bit in such weather conditions to get on with things – there are dark clouds gathering.

At the centre of the storm that's swirling about is a regulatory process which seeks to deprive them of many of the tools with which they maximise yields to feed the world. We keep hearing that the world population will reach 10bn by 2050 – that's 2.5bn more than now – and yet the significant loss of chemistry with which farmers fight pestilence and disease, has the potential to make crop growing in some areas totally non-viable.

We're going to lose the greatest ever herbicide, glyphosate to a document produced by a dodgy French institute; we've lost the potato farmer's friend, diquat; we've lost seed treatments which means that oilseed rape growing is marginal in some areas and needs a heap of other chemicals put on it because of that; we're losing the most effective and cheapest slug pellets; and now we hear that the longest-lasting fungicide of all time and one which has beaten resistance from disease, chlorothalonil, is heading for the guillotine.

Much of this is being driven by EU legislation. Now a tiny little something is ringing in my ears telling me that we will be leaving that cadre pretty soon (though nothing's set in stone!). Of course, the use of chemistry represents risk and no one is saying it doesn't. But, too much coffee can give you cancer; nicotine certainly does; and just about everything you ever consume (apart from clean water) has the potential to give you cancer. The word 'potential' is key.

There is little reward without risk and in this case, the 'reward' is to be able to eat food produced to the highest standards with little threat from mycotoxins, bacilla or salmonella. The fact is, crops produced without these important herbicides and fungicides are not actually that 'green' at all and will add cost by both reducing yield and have the potential to increase processing costs.

The key to countering all of this is for the industry to stand up as one, but it is going to be an uphill struggle. One which will require prejudices to be overturned and blatant politically driven 'research' debunked once and for all.

Of course, arable farmers in Scotland (and indeed, livestock farmers) face the considerable hurdle that is the Scottish Government's refusal to allow gene editing to be part of our armoury in beating some of the things that plague us. This is not the genetic modification that became a big scary monster in the 1990s, it is, in fact, a clever way of grafting into a plant or animal specific genes to beat disease and fight pests.

Maybe, if we do have post-Brexit chaos in the shops, it will bring it home to politicians that their entire food policy has been driven by Facebook and a scaredy-cat approach to single issue minorities who still have not grasped the fact that you do not have to kill a sheep to get its wool. But I doubt whether they have the will or the want – yet – to see the food for the trees.