Better weather doesn't half make put a gloss on things – from lambing and calving, to spring sowing and planting, there's not much to complain about.

Yes, there's a lack of grass; yes the seedbeds are cold; and yes many tatties have remained in the seed box hiding from Jack Frost, but it's much preferable to plowtering through mud, losing parts and losing the rag. Seasons like this are much easier on men and machines.

And that's just as well. It would appear the perfect storm of Covid-19, Brexit and a shortage of steel have conjured up a triple whammy for those thinking of replacing machinery of just about all kinds, even parts are scarce to come by – so don't overstretch those machines! Take advantage of the good conditions and take your time – you don't want to be shredding a tyre at the moment, as we hear that getting a new one might involve quite a hunt (see our front page story for how there's a machinery drought as a result)!

But while the real storm clouds have been scarce for the past few weeks, there are some metaphorical cumulus overshadowing the industry, with beef farming again taking a bit of a pounding this week – ironically in the Great British Beef Week. Even Prime Minister Johnson had a gratuitous pop at livestock farming as being a major source of greenhouse gases – again conveniently forgetting that the grass-based systems that major in the UK are actually ideal for carbon sequestration.

All the more reason, then, for proper auditing and research into how much is produced and how much is saved and stored in the ground b y our stratified system. Add to that the role that livestock plays in increasing biodiversity is so many of our hills and glens and there are strong arguments for maintaining, or even increasing livestock numbers of the right kind and in the right places.

Along with a rapid implementation of many of the common-sensible recommendations made by the various farmer-led groups, pumping some money into pure research – without a biased or desired end-game built into it – should be a priority for the next parliament following the Scottish elections on May 6.

Actually, the race to be 'green' and seen to be 'green' has piloted the words 'regenerative' and 'sustainable' into just about every press conference and release these days. But the farmer-led groups have been pretty consistent across the board about these new buzz words and what measures can sensibly be taken to comply with their mantra, but when you boil it all down what it really means is that you can't keep taking from the land and not putting something fairly natural back in.

In that respect, there is nothing new under the sun – and so maybe it's back to the future for many agricultural practices. Farm yard manure, for instance, is not a waste product, it is a valuable source of nutrients and a wonder substance for improving the organic matter levels in tough soils.

And that's not a load of ....