Archive Article: 1998/05/22 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 1998/05/22

22 May 1998

Stock, quota, machinery, implements and dairy equipment

were all on offer at one Warwickshire farm sale last week. FW

stopped off in Shakespeare country to see what was what…

The location was Glebe Farm, Snitterfield, Stratford-upon-Avon and the auction was for John Keen who was retiring. Visitors flocked to the venue from far and wide. From Carmarthenshire to Derbyshire, in fact.

Its not an easy job predicting what the weathers going to be like at this time of year. While elsewhere in the country, people were in shorts and T-shirts, this sale-goer went armed with an umbrella.

It proved to be a wise move.

Others, however, had to improvise when it came to keeping dry.

Among the tractors, the top price was £9300 paid for a 1991 Case International 895 XL four-wheel drive with loader and air conditioning.

Take five… those at the event saw dairy stock values typically between £550 and £700. "The trade wasnt on fire," said the auctioneers. But there again, with the weather as it was, it wouldnt have been.

Visitors saw a strong demand for dairy equipment. Among the prices in this section were £2450 for an automatic slurry scraping system, £2500 for the bulk tank and £3700 for the milking parlour. It proves, say the auctioneers that people are still improving their milk facilities. Not just in this country either, it appears – with the parlour and tank going to a buyer from Cyprus.

Auctioneer Stuart Long of Howkins and Harrison takes bids on the grassland kit. He later sold the milk quota at between 34.8p and 35.2p/litre. The 404,000 litres were snapped up by 12 buyers in blocks ranging from 13,000 to 80,000 litres. The small lot sizes shows that farmers are "hedging their bets" and getting some cover early, says Mr Long.

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Archive Article: 1998/05/22

22 May 1998

A shortage of shearers means contractor David Tester will shear 6000 sheep before the end of June – 1000 more than last year. He began the shearing business to supplement his income as a shepherd five years ago and now covers East Sussex, West Sussex and Surrey. Mr Tester is seen here shearing at Simon Greens Stubcroft Farm, Wittering, Hants, who runs 350 ewes and a small beef enterprise on 48ha (120 acres). Mr Green has been farming for eight years after working for ADAS and has recently been shortlisted as an MEP candidate for the Lib-Dems.

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Archive Article: 1998/05/22

22 May 1998

Jack the glad…. farm minister Jack Cunningham took time out of the Commons to open the UKs largest glasshouse in Runcton, West Sussex, on Tuesday. The glasshouse, owned by food group Hazlewood VHB, is capable of growing 100m tomatoes a year. The £7.5m structure covers 9.31ha (23 acres), has a perimeter of one mile, and is 14ft high. It includes 40,000 sheets of glass, 72 miles of heating pipes and a roof weighing about 1000t.

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Archive Article: 1998/05/22

22 May 1998

By FW reporters

THE beef-on-the-bone ban could soon be lifted, according to SEAC, the governments advisory body on BSE at the Federation of Fresh Meat Wholesalers annual conference in London.

SEAC chairman John Pattison said the good news on BSE was that it was vanishing fast in line with predictions. And, he said that with a 300-fold decrease in BSE cases so far this year, 1998 could represent a turning point in the diseases history which meant there was now a strong case for reversing the ban in the near future.

He also said that regulations, which were at the moment disproportionate to risk, would further reduce as BSE continued to drop. Mr Pattison added that he still eats beef and is convinced that British beef is the safest beef to be found anywhere in the world.

But, Suzi Leather consumer specialist for the industry backed assurance scheme Assured British Meat said that there was a move away from meat by consumers with a recent ABM survey showing that they aimed to cut down on meat consumption.

And she said those surveyed, branded meat as disgusting, unsafe, cruel and repugnant.

"Vegetarianism is increasing with 3m consumers now boycotting meat. And this figure will continue to grow with the Vegetarian Society claiming 20% of the population will join them in the next two years," she said.

SEAC chairman John Pattison said that BSE was dying out.

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Archive Article: 1998/05/22

22 May 1998

Securing silage for winter feed from the current rush of growth must be a priority for beef producers as the prospect of a good grass growing season is less than certain.

So says ADASs Elwyn Rees, who warns producers not to be lulled into thinking productive grass growth will mirror last years example.

As a guide, Dr Rees suggests producers with semi-intensive 18-month beef cattle in their first and second winter should be looking to secure one tonne and five tonnes of silage/head, respectively. Spring calving sucklers, with weaned calves, will require about three and a half tonnes of silage/head.

However, Signets Alan Mathieson says producers must priortise grazing and increase stocking rates to 3 cows/acre (7.5/ha) to keep on top of grass growth. "Sward height should be held at 8cm and only when it exceeds this length should surplus grass be conserved.

"Its better to graze some silage ground now than make expensive silage only to feed it as a buffer when summer grazing dries up."

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Archive Article: 1998/05/22

22 May 1998

Tractor sales continue to struggle. Latest figures from the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA) reveal that the number over 40hp registered during April was 934 – some 48.8% down on the same period last year. This brings the total for the first four months to 3079, down by 47.1%.

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Archive Article: 1998/05/22

22 May 1998

Three-row planting in a single bed with this Konings machine imported by Burdens. Using an identical planting system as the existing two-row machine, Konings has added a middle seeding unit. Currently a prototype, trial work this year could see it available for the 1999 season.

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Archive Article: 1998/05/22

22 May 1998

William Hamilton

William Hamilton is tenant

on the 205ha (506-acre)

Rosery Farm, Little

Stonham, Stowmarket,

Suffolk. Main crops are

winter wheat and oilseed

rape, but he also grows

winter beans and

vining peas

OUR vining peas were drilled direct into the ploughed surface this year, due to the bad weather preventing us from performing any cultivations before sowing. In fact the field chosen for our crop of Novella by fieldman, Robert Lee, was out of sequence, as it had not been pulled down and, therefore, was only just dry enough for drilling to take place at all.

I was impressed by the job done by the Vaderstad Rapide and operator, Robert Hale, under these difficult conditions. As our group is contracted to supply a regular quantity of peas every day throughout the harvesting season, we sometimes have to plant the crop when we would rather not. This was one of those occasions.

It brings home the necessity and fairness of sharing the returns from this crop equally per acre across all our 17 growers.

Turning to our wheat crop, it has now received the balance of CCC (chlormequat) and a further shot of manganese sulphate, plus a suitable tank mix of fungicides according to variety. For the first time we have used Unix (cyprodinil) in an attempt to control eyespot wherever it was posing a threat.

With Terpal in short supply this year I am glad that we split the CCC into two applications.

At the end of April all the wheat fields received their main top dressing of 100kg/ha of nitrogen in liquid form. Thanks to frequent showers little scorching has been noticed.

Despite earlier optimism, a few patches of blackgrass have been seen to rear their ugly heads above the wheat. Angus has treated them with Topik (clodinafop-propargyl).

Our crop of Navajo oilseed rape looks a treat at the moment. Recently we gave it a cocktail of fungicides and insecticides to control sclerotinia, botrytis and insects such as pod midge and seed weevil.

If there is going to be a response to this treatment, we ought to see one this year after all the rain we had in April. &#42

Fungicide seems to be keeping on top of disease in Bill Harbours winter beans. But cereal flag leaf spraying has required plenty of juggling to keep severe disease pressure at bay.

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Archive Article: 1998/05/22

22 May 1998

Users of Kuhns FC 300 series mower conditioners manufactured since 1992 can now fit a deflector plate which enables the machine to produce grass swaths up to 2m (6.5ft) wide. This, says the company, allows grass drying rates to be varied according to conditions and provides greater control over forage dry-matter content. Price is £345.

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