Have you ever started a marathon before being told the route? This is what suckler farmers are coping with as they prepare their herds for the future beef calf scheme.

There are huge gaps in the rule book, but the scheme has effectively already started. Unless the scheme gets sorted, there is a danger farmers could be pushed out of business through no fault of their own.

It all comes at the very time we need our cattle industry to fire up the rural economy, underpin grass sequestration, and feed the nation with the finest beef in the world.

It beggars’ belief that a farmer who discovers that their bull has not performed could have their calf scheme payments cut for two years.

Plugging the gap in their accounts with the missing calves is hard enough without the need for an extra kick from the Scottish Government.

Lame bulls, infertile sires, and disease outbreaks all happen in a farmer’s career. When they do, businesses are often challenged to near-breaking point, and unless the Scottish Government makes allowances for these circumstances, we will see good farms fall.

It might not feel like it, but if you check the date of this paper, we are now in the month of May. This is a time when farmers traditionally could catch their breath following a battling winter, albeit those further up the hill will still be working round the clock bringing newborns into the world or low ground growers planting tatties getting tubers in the ground.

While there have already been forage harvesters rumbling in the south-west making silage to feed dairy cows, many tender spring crops are only just poking out of the soil in their 100-day race to harvest.

There is reason to be hopeful though, following the turmoil in Holyrood, this week which was kicked off with the breaking of the SNP and Green agreement.

The Bute House agreement did farmers little good with Green influence pushing national parks, beavers, and farm audits too far up the agenda.

Without their influence, we will see if it really was the green tail wagging the dog, or if the junior partner was simply the scapegoat when the SNP felt the pressure.

We will remember Humza Yousaf for a well-publicised appearance at the Highland Show where his political charm made many warm to him.

Furthermore, his speech at the NFU Scotland conference in February – the first FM to appear in years – went further than many hoped in committing rural payments to food producers.

However, his government still swiped 10s of millions of pounds from the agricultural budget to plug funding gaps and we are still in the dark over so much of the future farming rules.

Farmers have every right to feel let down over his short tenure at the top, perhaps we are lucky he only lasted a year.