Archive Article: 1999/10/22 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 1999/10/22

22 October 1999

Driving the message home… Peter Mason, John Nash, and John Yeoman (in RABI shirts) hoped to raise £10,000 for the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution during a 560-mile tractor drive this week.

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Archive Article: 1999/10/22

22 October 1999

Over 18,000 country sports enthusiasts descended on farm minister, Nick Browns, constituency city of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne last weekend. The march and rally were hailed as a success by a spokesman for organisers, the Countryside Alliance, which claimed it was the largest demonstration ever seen in the city.

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Archive Article: 1999/10/22

22 October 1999

Spring slug damage and botrytis have hit Antonil and Sanluca sunflowers at T Brown & Sons Bottom Farm, Covington, Kimbolton, Cambs this year. Here Mark Olsen-Vetland checks Antonil which averaged just 1.5t/ha (12cwt/acre) last week. The crop will go for wild bird food.

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Archive Article: 1999/10/22

22 October 1999

Dont worry, a cheque top-up in February

We have been flooded with calls this week from worried arable farmers who are discovering that their October arable aid cheques are much smaller than expected.

Rather than the 1998 level, cheques are worth 14% less – £83/acre for an English farmer. That is due to differences in the exchange rate used to convert payments, which are fixed in euros, into sterling.

MAFF is failing to tell growers that they are due to get a top-up payment, probably in February, to compensate for this. Although Brussels still has to rubber-stamp it, officials admit growers will receive an extra £13/acre.

After pressure from us, MAFF has promised to brief its regional service centre staff. Wouldnt it have saved a lot worry if it had done so in the first place?

Time to fund defence against ravages of TB

Like the taxman, TB never seems to go away. Fully understanding the disease will take many years. Meanwhile, apparently theres little producers can do to guard against the devastating losses TB can inflict.

The NFU is right to call for more emotional and financial help. Producers who have experienced a TB breakdown will offer telephone advice and support.

But who will compensate farmers? Now is the time to consider an industry-funded TB compensation scheme. It wont be easy, but it is less costly than a TB breakdown.

Forage additive guide a must for producers

Want to pick a path through the maze of forage additives? Then look out for the information contained in UKASTAs Forage Additive Approval Scheme which will appear in our issue of Nov 19.

Redesigned and more comprehensive product listings promise to make the advice even more meaningful for your livestock business.

EUchange essential as east is beckoning

News that the EU is to reform its institutions to prepare for expansion to the east, has been seized on as evidence of plans for a European superstate.

Such claims are exaggerated. The report is just a list of suggestions for next years Inter-governmental Conference, which will look at changing the EUs constitution. Change is essential if the EU is to enlarge. Decision-making is faltering with 15 member states.

If you believe embracing former communist countries is the right thing to do, then change is vital.

Assurance investment receives no reward

About two-thirds of grain harvested in England, Scotland and Wales last summer was produced and stored to assurance standards.

Many growers have invested time and money to meet the standards. Not surprisingly, buyers refuse to pay a premium for assured produce. Even worse, growers membership charges remain unchanged.

With 8400 members paying an average subscription of £210, the annual income from the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme and Scottish Quality Cereals received by the administrator UK Food Quality Certification is £1.7m.

Now that the administration is in place, membership is ahead of forecast, and inspections take place every three years, running costs must be reduced. Those savings should be paid back to growers.

Wrong to play down animal side of meat?

Consumers are seldom encouraged to associate meat with farm animals. Most supermarkets prefer to sell sanitised packs of meat, prepared beyond recognition.

But many consumers would value more information about the product on their plate. Opening cutting and chill rooms to public view can be a big benefit, as one butcher explains in Farmlife.

No single way to get best out of cereals

Blueprints are dead and buried. Achieving the best performance from cereal varieties requires careful agronomic management.

So NIABs challenge to breeders to extract the best gross margin from their latest variety is an imaginative idea.

To secure a place on the UK Recommended List, varieties must prove their reliability under untreated conditions as well as optimal conditions.

NIABs Variety Challenge assesses varietal potential when it is grown within an agronomy regime geared to its specific needs. So why not include the information within the recommended list?

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Archive Article: 1999/10/22

22 October 1999

Prices at last Fridays Swaledale sale at Lazonby, Cumbria, followed the trend set by its earlier Mule sale (pictured). Gimmer ewe-lambs made £15-£25 each and three-shear draft ewes at £25-£35 a piece. Averages were down £9.91 on last year. Broken mouth sorts sold for around £3 a head with almost no interest from meat traders. (Penrith Farmers & Kidds)

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Archive Article: 1999/10/22

22 October 1999

Its the return of the pigs…after an eight-week break at the National Centre for Pig Industry Training, Bishop Burton College, East Yorks, new gilts arrive to complete restocking. Its unit was de-stocked to break the disease cycle and improve productivity. The latest arrivals are 90 in-pig parent JSR Genepacker 90 gilts. Unit manager Mike Bell (right) says the initial aim is to produce 150 piglets, from 15 farrowings a week. Full report p53.

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Archive Article: 1999/10/22

22 October 1999

IM such a delicate little flower (Tims choked on his tea) and so sensitive that I puff-up at the drop of a hat.

Any sort of beastie bite causes instant inflammation on my tender skin and my eyes "gonfle" (a wonderful French word for swell) from midge bites, oily face creams and over-tiredness.

Two years ago I was bitten in the night and woke at 5am to take Cherry to the airport for a flight to Dublin and I just couldnt open my eye. It stayed swollen for two days, and exactly one week later the same thing happened again. So last year I bought a mosquito net for the bed and started swallowing brewers yeast tablets, which someone told me was effective at warding off biting bugs. The net almost caused a divorce – Tim couldnt sleep in it; I wouldnt sleep out of it – but I didnt get bitten.

Im quite a catalogue fanatic, and one little gadget catalogue has served me well over the years – its good for engraved key rings and pens that are easy Xmas gifts to post but also offers wonder products like a super-duper oven cleaner. And this year they had an insect repellent, expensive at almost £9, but I thought Id try it. Particularly as the mosquito net went west. I found it very annoying when trying to make the bed and almost set the house on fire when I turned on my bedside light, forgetting to unwind the net from it – where it had been hooked that morning whilst I changed the sheets.)

The repellent claimed to ward off anything creeping, crawling or flying, but it had no smell and was distinctly "foreign". With no ingredients on the can I was rather suspicious, either it would be useless – or lethal. Anyway, I sprayed round the windows and over the bed. When Ive mumbled about pesky midgey bites Ive been told lots of times that in August its "les araignees qui pique". So far so good.

Now, the other pests, sadly, are the house martins – 27 nests this year on the east side of the house, and it has to stop. The birds have flown, so this weekend I started taking the nests down. It was appalling. Our bathroom and bedroom windows were in a disgusting state, not only from the droppings, but they also carry a certain amount of "live baggage" with them. I had to scrub the walls, paintwork, and clean the windows, and then I sprayed the frames with the wonder-fly stuff.

Last night, when I finished work, I set down to cleaning Cherrys room – shed been home for the weekend – and the girls bathroom, ready for Dad Green and Sheila coming tonight. Its been a lovely day today, warm and sunny, and Ive just come home from work, and nipped upstairs for a final check before heading for the port to collect them. Our room, their room, and the two bathrooms were humming with dead or dying flies. I have never seen anything like it. Obviously the stuff works.

Does anyone know how we can prevent birds nesting in our windows next year? Ive really had enough of pesky beasties.

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