What I now call the Westminster circus, has become very boring.

Equally boring are the clowns whose performance, in many cases, is worse than children playing games at school. However, I have to give a few a little credit for their ability to twist the truth, or wriggle out of what they had stated a few weeks earlier.

Not Gove – he can twist the truth to absolutely incredible lengths, and tell Andrew Marr blatant miss-truths with a straight face about claims he made before the referendum in 2016. My colleague, Richard Wright summed it up perfectly last week by saying – 'out of the Brussels frying pan and into the Westminster fire!'

The 'poisoned chalice' job of farm minister has now been vacated as George Eustice has resigned his post. I met him on a panel at Dingwall a few years ago and though from farming stock, he maybe did not have much practical experience to his credit, but he did come over well to the audience.

Will it really matter who replaces him? It appears that a farm minister these days has very little influence on agricultural matters at Westminster. Our industry seems to be treated as an 'after-thought' in London, and many of those in power in the south just want to turn Scotland into a wildlife park.

Mind you, maybe it is nearly as bad in Holyrood after hearing the plans to give beavers protected status! Roseanna Cunningham’s statement announced: “Farming will not be compromised.” Dream on!

Wildlife takes too much precedence over food production, but the day will come again when that situation will be reversed back to the importance of farming in the food chain.

Last month I asked the question – is the beef sector in crisis? Well, I can tell you that because of Brexit, it is now and will remain so until the flood of Southern Irish beef coming into the UK, slows down, which is unlikely to happen before April 1.

And, if it does not come in from Ireland after that date, you can be sure Westminster will allow it to come in from anywhere else in the world, as long as it is cheap and no matter to what standards it is produced! Gove maintains that it will have to be produced to the same standards and regulations that operate here in the UK, but if you believe that you will believe anything.

So, where are we going? I guess one of two routes – weather the storm, or exit beef production! With dry feed costs at £200 per tonne, bedding straw in excess of £100, it is doubtful if there is any margin at all and that is not taking into account any fixed, or own labour costs.

As an example, a decker load of 30 cattle at 380 to 420kg apiece might just be leaving a slim margin. At 340 to 379kg, they will just wash their face and at 339 and lower, will likely be making a loss. That proves the old theory, that if they don't weight, they don't pay.

With Scotland’s costs much higher than most other parts of the beef producing world, maybe the time has come for a hard look at how we produce beef. Can we learn anything from the countries that are likely to be exporting beef to us – the largest being the US, South America (Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay), Australia and maybe New Zealand, whose farmers were receiving £2.75 per kg deadweight for carcases of 290kg on average!

I do not know their production costs, but it certainly does not seem to cost very much to get their lamb here which is, at the moment highly competitive with UK lamb. Does that mean that sometime after April 1, we beef producers are going to have to compete with the New Zealand beef ,which seems to be the lowest priced of the aforementioned countries and with no claimed support? This is in contrast to Ireland which has three times more support than in the UK.

Should we look to the US, where 70% of the beef kill has Angus genetics in it and with the other countries mentioned, similar or with a high percentage of Hereford. One aspect that is very different to the UK is their beef grading system.

This column has made it clear many times that we are miles behind in recognising taste, flavour and succulence, which encourages repeat purchasing. After my last visit to the US, I highlighted the challenges we faced if we came out of the EU.

With the world wanting to send their beef here, that time is now close and we have done nothing to give us a competitive advantage over imported beef, which will be, whether it is corn fed or grass fed, graded for flavour. Our EUROP grading system discourages the production of tasty beef.

We have the genetics in this country and we have the breeds (some would say too many?) to produce what's needed. The Aberdeen Spring Show judge, Melanie Alford, said last week that she was looking for an animal with a good top and shoulder loin with tremendous spring of rib, but not an excessive back-end and 'my champion has exactly those assets'.

If we are be competitive with imports, then we need to change a few things. Some we can, others we cannot and largely because of our climate and the need to house cattle. Yes, we have a few favoured farms that do not need housing for the most part, but the majority do.

Bedding of any kind is expensive. Cubicles are the obvious choice as I am not a fan of slats and if a whisper I heard comes to fruition from the Animal Welfare Council, if we leave the EU, they want to ban cattle on slats like they did with hens in cages. It will be over the same time scale of, I think, eight years.

Sadly, we farm in a country where too many 'do-gooders' increasingly state their cases about how they think we should keep our livestock. So, be warned, if you are thinking of putting up a slatted building, be prepared for changes ahead.

Can we reduce our costs by relying more on grass and super silage? Certainly, that is possible if we move more to native bred cattle with more hairy coats and a capacity to handle larger amounts of forage.

Now I know I will be unpopular with some, but the days for extreme, tight-ribbed cattle with big backsides for the show ring and EUROP scale are numbered. You do not see those type of cattle anywhere else in the world of commercial beef production, no matter what the system.

Even the rest of the EU is changing and what to? Our Scottish native breeds – Aberdeen-Angus, Highland, Galloway, and though it is not totally native, it has much of it in its make-up, Stabiliser.

Unless March has a record rainfall, we will have experienced the driest winter in over 30 years. There is no doubt that January and in particular, February, have been absolutely wonderful. I even cut my lawn on February 15 – January was the only month I missed!

In the space of four days last week, I was in the west at Ardrossan watching my grandsons playing rugby and just a stones throw away, early tatties were being planted into perfect conditions. A few days later, in the East Neuk of Fife – to where my grand-father’s brother emigrated from Lanarkshire in 1913 – the spring work was well under way.

Finally, one of the big three Irish companies has launched a vegan 'burger'. I am afraid some suppliers to the company are not amused by this but I can tell you, I will be enjoying a well-marbled Stabiliser rib-eye nonetheless!