Tractors have been very visible in recent weeks as Welsh farmers join ranks in mass protests to remind the government where our food comes from.

Some commentators have questioned why an industry needs government support if it can afford these expensive machines.

Should our farmers not be trundling along the roads in a hotch-potch of rusty old tractors or that nostalgic favourite, a grey Fergie?

Much like cars have advanced since the days when we were at the wheel of our Cortinas, our Capris and Escorts, so have tractors.

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Newer and more reliable farm machines cost tens of thousands of pounds, money that farmers can ill afford, but the cost of not committing to that high level of investment is lost production.

If a farmer’s tractor breaks down during that all important weather window for harvesting silage, baling hay, drilling next year’s crops, the financial cost of that missed opportunity amounts to a far greater sum than the interest payments on financing a newer model.

With investment comes greater efficiency and productivity too, producing more from less land, which means more and cheaper food for all. We get the food system that we pay for.

Farming in the dark ages won’t nourish the world. As the size of the UK population has grown, by around 20% in the last 50 years and predicted to be 72.4m by mid-2045, the industry has had to find smarter ways to feed everyone.

Agriculture is supported by governments across the world for all sorts of reasons; in the UK it is because they want farmers to deliver public ‘goods’, and those don’t come cheap and neither do the high standards of food production that the consumer and regulators expect of Welsh farmers.

Welsh agriculture has somehow managed to defy economic gravity in recent decades and believe me, the modern day workhorse of the farm, the tractor, isn’t a play thing. It will almost certainly have been bought on finance and is a necessary investment the farmer has made on behalf of us all.