We need food and we need wood, just perhaps not every day. There is little doubt that pressure for tree planting is here to stay, but the government must acknowledge that these plantings are not happening in a vacuum but within an already fragile rural economy and community. Once a farm is under trees it spells the end of what is often hundreds of years of family farming.

Clearly, there are places that could be enhanced with trees and many farms can accommodate shelter belts, small woods, and areas focused on nature. But large-scale blanket planting of forestry must be handled incredibly sensitively as there is a danger the government's grants and planning permission will force the closure of whole communities which are underpinned by farming and crofting. As set out in the Farming for 1.5° report a public interest test must be used to control investor-led afforestation.

Sadly, it is naive to think that livestock farming and overly ambitious planting targets from the Scottish Government can co-exist in harmony. As one forester explained, if the land is not fit to sustain a cow or a sheep, it will be of little use to grow a tree. This puts trees and livestock at loggerheads unless there is more work to integrate trees within agriculture.

READ MORE: Scottish farmers frustrated with woodland expansion

Another pair of butting heads is the community of Leithholm, Eccles, and Birgham with developers who are looking to install massive battery storage units. The community of less than 900 people in Berwickshire is in the crossfire of big business and ambitious government targets which is leaving common sense behind. The financial figures being offered to farmers to rent fields are transformational but as the saying goes if something appears to be too good to be true, it usually is. Battery storage is a good idea, but there needs to be a sound understanding of the long-term plans for these sites and the local impact. Just like trees, there is a place but a joined-up approach is a must.

The impact of 2021's seismic vote to disband the potato levy is rippling through the industry, as funding gaps in practical research start to appear. Field trials and applied studies are vital for bridging the gap between pure science from the lab and delivering on the farm. Commercial trials have a part to play but independent study is critical to ensure growers can take measured decisions. Whilst there is little appetite to reverse the AHDB vote, a route to improve practical advice for potato farmers must be found.

And finally, despite many growers up the glen still working away on their combines, the Union has called ‘harvest home’ and the results are in with spring barley averaging 2.3t/acre across the country. Yields have been said to be variable, with the highest reported from farmers in the pub on a Friday night.