Minister McConalogue and his officials are into their 13th month of ruminating on the idea of introducing a voluntary dairy cow reduction scheme, with farmers still none the wiser as to whether or not the scheme will go ahead.

A little less introspection and a bit more clarity would be welcomed by farmers running businesses with shifting regulatory goalposts and ironing out succession plans.

After all, the dairy proposal is a carbon copy of the suckler cull scheme, which emerged from the Food Vision beef group and was firmly taken off the table after a few quick months of consideration.

Is the scheme on the table or off it? Or maybe it has just fallen between stools. Then again, if farmers now have to cull for nitrates at their own expense why would the minister bother spending funds on a cull scheme?