Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. So it's good to hear that the potato industry has faced up to its own particular Armageddon – the devastation caused by potato cyst nematodes – which experts predicted might cause the foreclosure of the Scottish potato industry within 30 years.

In fact, there are some in the industry who predicted it would have a terminal impact much quicker than that, given that much of the chemical armoury used to fight has been eroded, both in terms of being allowed to use them and their efficacy, which is being continually denuded.

All hail, then, the rise of the humble shellfish which has come to the rescue of this important Scottish crop. Who would have thought that a chemical within shellfish would act as a deterrent to the nematodes that wheedle their way into ruining potato crops?

It is fantastic that the spud industry has been allowed to think out of the box to counter this severe threat, but can the same be said for grain growers who have an ever decreasing list of tools to use against the diseases that rampage through our crops thanks to our temperate climate?

Is it worth grain breeders producing crop varieties for our specific climate? Probably not, given the restraints placed upon them by the UK Government and, more specifically, the Scottish Government. As Brian Henderson points out in his Arable Matters column (page 13), we have the technology to rebuild the grain growing areas of Scotland using gene editing techniques to produce crops that are tailor-made for our circumstances.

The irony is that much of the work being done to confirm the credentials of this particular science in breeding super seeds capable of withstanding disease, pestilence and drought, via CRISPR technology, is actually being carried out in Scotland at the James Hutton Institute. And yet the Scottish Government, which will, at least in part, be funding this ground-breaking work, remains stubbornly opposed to allowing the industry here to even consider field trialling it.

Let there be no mistake. This is not the Frankenfood use of genetics from other life sources – fuelled by big business manipulating it for its own ends – this is, for the most part, being done with honourable intentions. As one seed breeder put it, this is quite a natural process that takes huge development costs out of breeding new varieties by accelerating the process of selection. It's not that much different from genomic selection in livestock and so why should we eschew methods that would allow grain farmers to grow more, from less and using fewer chemicals?

ScotGov very much sets its stall out that it actively encourages innovation. We are, after all a small country that has the potential to make a big impact, so why be so Luddite in the approach to this exciting new technology?

After all, this science manipulates the genomes within the target's own make-up, thus eliminating the bad and accentuating the positive ... and if that doesn't set you off singing the praises of this technology, then nothing will!