Archive Article: 1998/09/18 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 1998/09/18

18 September 1998

Farm Womens Club


Fri, Oct 9 – Sun, Oct 11. There are still some places left for the FWC weekend break at Richmond Hill Hotel, Richmond, Surrey which includes two nights accommodation, dinner on Friday night, a theatre trip on Saturday evening and Sunday lunch. Membership of the hotels leisure club and free London travel card or admission to Hampton Court or Kew Gardens are also included in the price of £145/person.


Wed, Sept 23, 7.30pm. Meet at

Jean Neills home, Howtel, Mindrum for

club night. Bring-and-buy, recipes,

plants and paperbacks. Contact Jean Neill (01668-216285).


Mon, Oct 5, 9am. Coach leaves Royal Cornwall Showground for visit to Bickleigh Castle for coffee and tour followed by lunch at Coldharbour Mill, Uffculme.

Tour of working mill, New World Tapestry and cream tea. Cost £9.50.

Coffee and lunch extra. Contact

Jane Bailey (01841-541230).


Wed, Oct 21, 7 for 7.30pm. Octogan Theatre, Yeovil to see Guys and Dolls. Husbands welcome. Tickets £12.50. Money to Elsie James, Willowridge, Wolfridge Farm, Motcombe SP7 9HY by Sept 25.


Tue, Oct 6, 10.30am. Meet at Cochester Town Hall for conducted tour, to view borough regalia and meet the mayor. Lunch at the Yew Tree, Great Horkesley on A134. Contact Angela Church (01206-240293) or Laureen Mead



Wed, Sept 23, 11am. Meet at Little Buckholt Farm, West Tytherley for demonstration of parchment craft by Jane Waters. Bring a plate of refreshments for a shared finger buffet lunch.

Contact Mary Smales (01980-862262)


Sat, Oct 3, 7pm. Harvest Supper at

Doug and Irene Normans home, Hill Farm, Dodford. Husbands invited, refreshments required, Raffle. Numbers to Rita White (01604-810351) by Sept 25


Tue, Sept 29. Coach leaves Newark 9am, Bingham 9.15am, Lowdham(Magna) 9.30am, Coombs Farm Shop 9.45am for visit to High Peake Catering College. Contact Lyn Sneath (01427-787247).


Wed, Oct 7, 9am. Coach leaves Witney 9am, Oxford 9.30am for visit to Windsor Castle. Names asap to Doris Burton (01993-702433).


Sat-Sun, Oct 17-18. Derbyshire members are invited to join visiting members staying at Shottle Hall, Belper. Come for a walk or for dinner on Saturday night, cost £13.50. Names and money to Jean Howells, FARMERS WEEKLY, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS by Oct 1.

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Archive Article: 1998/09/18

18 September 1998

Making a splash… Colin Dent gets his Mule gimmer lambs in tip-top condition for last weeks big auction at Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria. The family, who collected third prize this time, have won the show prize for large breeders a record nine times at the event. Their 300-head consignment to the mart averaged £55, down £35 on the year.

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Archive Article: 1998/09/18

18 September 1998

Opico has joined the ranks of companies offering a method of low cost establishment for rape and other green crops. Its implement-mounted Exaktor seed box uses land wheel-driven fluted rollers to distribute seed – at rates from 5kg/ha – on to spreading plates. These broadcast it onto the cultivated seedbed, which is firmed by a following crumbler roller. Available in eight models from 1m (3ft 4in) to 4m (13ft 4in), prices range from £705-£1462.

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Archive Article: 1998/09/18

18 September 1998

Maize harvest of 47ha (115 acres) of the early variety Goldis at Bisterne Estate, Ringwood, Hants, was completed at 33.6% dry matter last weekend. The late April sown crop has not suffered rain stress because of the farms sandy soils. Farm manager Andrew Galloway estimates a yield of over 15t DM/ha, with fully set cobs. Later maize varieties are sown on a further 97ha (240 acres). Maize will be fed to the estates 380 cows and 150 beef animals this winter.

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Archive Article: 1998/09/18

18 September 1998

OUT with the old, in with the new! Bent double over boxes, things are being either discarded to the left – I dont want that in my new kitchen – or safeguarded to my right – I cant throw that out. But whats happening behind my back?

"Dont you want that anymore, Mum? Can I have it?"

Things are being gathered up once more and put into use because the girls have kitchens of their own to cater for.

We have just come home from Paris after getting Cherry a bed for her "studette – it cant really be called a studio flat because it amounts to one room. The door sweeps open onto nine square metres in which she sleeps, cooks, eats, studies and has her bathroom facilities (a small bath, basin and loo hidden behind a small partitioning wall) for which she is paying the princely sum of £220 per month, which appears to be the going price.

She considers herself very lucky to have found something at all and the advantages include a view of Paris. She is on the fifth floor and uses one of those lovely old lifts I can remember in an Audrey Hepburn film, a metal caged double door, which holds only two people. She is right next door to the metro, five minutes walk from the Sorbonne where she will be studying English literature, and has a boulangerie just outside for fresh croissants in the morning.

Her boyfriend Fred (theyre affectionately known as Fred and Ginger) is paying a similar price for a slightly bigger room and separate bathroom in Versailles where he is going to study maths. We found it very easily, their instructions were drive up to the chateau and turn left. Although he is in the town he has a lake and parks within five minutes walking distance. Its a beautiful spot to live in and a terrible place to park.

They went in Cherrys mini but on the understanding that we would bring it home again. We had trouble at both places trying to park to unload a fridge for Fred and a bed for Cherry. Still, its all done. We came home in two cars with me in the mini sticking to Tims tail like glue for fear of getting lost on the way out of the city.

We felt quite nostalgic thinking back to when Tim started at Harper Adams, flat hunting and moving in with our little turquoise mini-traveller, but Paris sounds more romantic.

Next well be sorting out Abi who is going into her third year in Caen, so that will be easier, she knows the ropes there now.

Her baby sister Beth will be going to Caen too, but to a different school, and she wont be self-catering, not yet.

Now, which one of her sisters is going to take the toaster?

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Archive Article: 1998/09/18

18 September 1998

By Simon Wragg

DANISH producers are under pressure, like their UK counterparts, from low pig prices, particularly for weaners, and this means minimum welfare standards are being pushed to their limits.

Jonny Petersen, manager of a 140-sow unit, near Ringsted, central Denmark, faces compromising EU legislation on space allocation for fattening pigs as a result of the crash in weaner prices.

The unit, owned by farming organisations, sells over 1600 weaners a year to finisher units, but a £20-£30 a head slump in weaner prices and buying contracts being dishonoured is forcing him to keep more weaners on-farm.

When farmers weekly visited the unit during a random spot-check organised through a local farmer-controlled co-operative slaughterhouse, Steff-Houlberg, most pens in finisher accommodation were just inside minimum EU space requirements.

Pigs between 35kg and 50kg liveweight require 0.4m sq a pig under EU space allocation legislation on space allocation, the same as FABPigs. Pen density on the farm varied from 0.41m to 0.44m sq a pig – meeting legislation – with 27-29 pigs in each 3m x 4m (9.8ft x 13.1ft) pen.

As pig liveweight increases from 50kg to 70kg, EU space allocation rises to 0.55m sq a pig. Even though second-stage grower pens were larger – 3.5m x 4m (11.4ft x 13.1ft) or 14m sq – space allocation fell below EU standards and FABPigs requirements. Pigs on the unit had about 0.52m sq a pig.

Space allocation at the farm was generally within minimum EU standards, but falls far short of standards set for the Danish high-welfare system – the Quality Marking Scheme – which requires EU standard plus an additional 30% of space.

Also, the FABPigs requirement that pigs must be able to freely turn around and lie down at the same time was questionable in grower pens (see picture).

In addition to the 1700 finisher normally kept, Mr Petersen said a contract to sell weaners had been dishonoured and he had no option but to house extra pigs rather than accept spot market prices.

Concerns in finisher accommodation were not as pronounced. Unless grower pigs are carried through to finishing at 92kg liveweight, adequate pen size means overstocking will not be a serious welfare issue. The unit, which carries an industry certificate for high health status, is normally stocked below EU standards.

Likewise, feeder space allocations were comfortably under EU recommendations in grower pens, with two 76cm (30in) ad-lib hoppers exceeding FABPigs recommendation of 3.3-5.5cm a pig (1.3in-2.1in) allocation for pigs at 25-45kg liveweight. However, where pigs were over 45kg liveweight, space allocations fell short of the recommendations, particularly where pens were fed by a single hopper.

Bowl and nipple drinker requirements were adhered to in all pens, meeting EU and FABPigs recommendation of one drinker for every 15 pigs, and were in good working order. Likewise, pens were in good condition and clean.

Uncomfortable with current high pig densities, Mr Petersen said: "Keeping more pigs here brings more health problems and tail-biting. I do not want to do it, but weaner prices force me to."

His situation is typical of many weaner producers, says Steff-Houlberg liaison manager, Torben Andersen: "It is the same in other EU countries, including the UK, when weaner price falls."

Inspectors visiting units supplying UK contracts make decisions at their discretion, admits Mr Andersen, but he is adamant that where inspectors find welfare is suffering producers will be taken off contracts immediately. &#42

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Archive Article: 1998/09/18

18 September 1998

&#42 Why should you go?

NEW at this years event are the IT Centre, Young Sire Programme display and the German Agricultural Societys feed mixer and distributer demonstration.

These add to the many popular features including Spotlight on Profit seminars and displays, non-stop action in the cattle judging ring, breeding companies and a full range of trade stands.

&#42 IT Centre

If youre interested in how computers could help manage a dairy herd or ease analysis of accounts, a visit to the new Information Technology (IT) Centre is a must. Sponsored by Nat-West, the IT Centre brings together 12 IT companies offering visitors the chance to try out computer packages. Seminars will also run at the centre on both days.

Collect and fill in a prize card in the IT Centre and you could win a computer, printer and software package or one of many other software packages, worth a total of £11,000. The IT centre is on Avenue M, opposite 6th Street.

&#42 DLG demonstrations

The German Agricultural Society will demonstrate the latest developments in feed mixing and distributing, with machinery tested and approved by DLG. Demonstrations can be seen on both days at 10am, 11am, 2pm and 3pm on the DLGs 3rd Street site.

&#42 Spotlight on Profit

This Midland Bank, MDC, DRC, RABDF and FARMERS WEEKLY feature is now in its third year at the event. This year it hosts eight free seminars, coupled with displays on latest research. Information about the MDC training courses, organised by the RABDF, is also available (see page S12).

&#42 Young sire display

UK breeding programmes are now striving to offer accurately proven, top quality UK bulls. This should to help reduce our heavy reliance on expensive imported bull semen.

But breeding these bulls is a difficult task, as the RABDF reveals. Its exhibit features bull dam selection, the importance of cow families, sires of sons, independent daughter evaluation and generating sire proofs. &#42

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Archive Article: 1998/09/18

18 September 1998

Plan to take the right path to dairy profits

What will your dairy business be like in 10 years time?

How do you plan to ensure its success?

In the current bleak climate, some producers might doubt whether they will see it out until next years Dairy Event. But determination and planning will help producers win through, according to consultants writing in our Dairy Event supplement.

They suggest a range of ideas including cutting production costs, optimising output, benchmarking, and evaluating your business before acting to improve it.

Whichever path you choose, technical improvement and better business management are vital for success. Get your business in shape now and prepare to profit from the changes in the future.

Farming catches cold, ancillary trade sneezes

When farming suffers, so do many people in the ancillary industries.

Take for example machinery manufacturers Case-IH and John Deere. Both are being forced to cut production in response to the worldwide downturn in demand for agricultural equipment.

Only this week, Case-IH announced its decision to axe 1000 people from its worldwide workforce by the end of the year.

Let us hope the companys Doncaster plant, where 85% of output is devoted to the export market, escapes the cuts.

Whatever the outcome, one message is clear. The strong £ is taking a devastating toll, not just on UK farmers, but many others in farming related industries.

Hagberg forecastings a tricky challenge

How much would you pay to learn which wheat fields to harvest first in order to protect Hagbergs?

More than £400,000 of HGCA levy cash has already been spent trying to devise a forecasting scheme to help growers decide.

That is a hefty price tag particularly bearing in mind this years pilot trial can hardly be described as a success.

Dealing with a quality characteristic as fickle as Hagberg is bound to be tricky. Sample timing is crucial and demand for immediate testing will put tremendous strain on laboratory resources.

The ability to forecast Hagbergs promises much, but making it work commercially is a tough challenge. Given the money already invested, it is a challenge that must be overcome.

Cattle tracing trials show some good form

Few expect the new cattle tracing system to work without a few hitches, some even predict full scale chaos on Sept 28.

But recent farm trials involving 270 cattle producers have helped identify glitches in the system. farmers weekly has been to see how the system will work and early indications are encouraging.

Although it appears more daunting to tackle than self assessment tax returns, it seems that concerns are soon ironed out.

Reassuring producers that forms are simple to complete should help set minds at rest. It should also make tackling all the paperwork less arduous.

Regroup to put those rabbits on the run

Bunny bashing should be a collective pastime.

For nearly 45 years land occupiers failing to control rabbits have broken the law. But with prosecutions rare and fines minimal the pests have had a field day.

Individuals doing their best to tackle the growing population alone often find their efforts thwarted. Unless neighbours co-operate rabbits simply re-colonise with little reduction in what can be significant crop losses. Clearance societies once held the front line in the war against this pest. Now most have disbanded. But it is time to re-group. Only a co-operative approach will beat bunny.

Norways dilemma may be relevant to us

If you have ever criticised the CAP, what about Norways sometimes bizzare farm policy?

An ancient law, designed to protect farms of a certain size, gives the farmers eldest child the right to farm that land, and cannot be revoked by wills or property sales.

Coupled with modern subsidies that pay more to farmers for living costs than for produce, it keeps life in the rural valleys. But it frustrates farmers expansion plans and blocks new entrants from coming into the industry.

Perhaps in comparison with Norwegian agricultural policy the CAP might not be as bad as some of its sterner critics would have us believe.

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