Archive Article: 1999/11/19 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 1999/11/19

19 November 1999

Richard Brimacombe (right) and David Slocombe of contractors Brimacombe Bros, Spreyton, Devon finish off their latest handiwork at West Town Farm, Ide. Although commercial jobs keeps the team busy, an increasing amount of fencing and hedge laying work is coming from smallholders and agri-environment schemes, says Mr Brimacombe, who gave up dairying three years ago to develop the business.

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Archive Article: 1999/11/19

19 November 1999

Stephen Alderson starts dipping sheep at Harry Tunstalls Fell End Farm, Sedbergh, Cumbria using a 600gal/minute shower-type unit. Sheep are sprayed for three minutes. The outfit re-circulates OP dip and has cut waste by 90%, says Mr Alderson.

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Archive Article: 1999/11/19

19 November 1999

Former shepherd of the year Harry Hutchinson of Uldale gets to work gathering his flock of pedigree Swaledale ewes off Baugh Fell in the Howgills. Part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the farms rough grazing rises to 2200 feet. Ewes will be drenched for fluke, injected against worms and given a vitamin jab before being painstakingly split into tup groups to avoid cross-breeding.

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Archive Article: 1999/11/19

19 November 1999

Management skill can triple your income

Fancy tripling your income? With three-quarters of farms performing well below par, there is plenty of opportunity to do just that, says a leading firm of accountants.

Its top 25% of arable clients is making almost three times as much money than average farmers. On dairy units, the difference is even greater.

There is no magic formula. It has nothing to do with farm size, or soil type. It is management skill.

With incomes likely to be squeezed tighter, there is no time like the present to take stock of the business.

A close look at what makes the best performers tick, and putting their ideas into practice, could leave many businesses in a far stronger position to cope with the uncertain times.

Worrying gap in grain quality assessment

When is a quality survey not a quality survey? When the quality of the results is questioned.

That is the problem facing the British cereals industry as the grain trade continues to dispute the outcome of the Home-Grown Cereals Authority quality survey.

Gathering data from a variable harvest was never going to be easy. But it is worrying to find a wide gap between trade and independent assessments.

Buyers, including those overseas, do not know who to believe. That jeopardises farmer sales to interested buyers.

The HGCA should work with the trade to establish a united message. It must also ensure a system is in place to prevent a recurrence of such an embarrassing, unnecessary and costly discrepancy.

Heres help in picking best silage additive

Started winter stock feeding? If so you may be wondering whether your silage is feeding as well as it should. Or whether it might have benefited from less rain, longer wilting, more compaction in the pit, or an additive.

Silage making is a costly business and one which is often taken for granted. But making bad silage costs just as much as making a top quality product. It may cost even more if you take into account depressed stock performance.

Using an additive can often boost quality. To make choosing an additive easier UKASTAs Forage Additive Approval Scheme, published in this weeks farmers weekly, has been redesigned. And that promises tastier silage for your stock and more palatable cost control.

Vet charging change may cut drug costs

Solicitors, accountants, architects – how often have we moaned about their ambitious hourly fees?

Brace yourselves because more vet practices could soon be charging similar amounts for their time.

Bad news? Not if animal medicines become far cheaper. It could benefit both livestock producers bank balances and animal welfare as more animals receive the full dose rates.

It may also help producer welfare by reducing the temptation to break the law by buying cheaper drugs sourced from outside the UK. So, lets hope more vet practices open up their charging policy.

Visit Stoneleigh for top grain and new tech

Achieving two goals in one day is an appealing prospect for hard-pressed farmers.

That is just what you can achieve next week when the latest developments in grain storage and information technology will be displayed at the NAC, Stoneleigh.

The Grain 99 and the Farm-IT events both take place on Wed 24 and Thur 25, Nov. Admission and parking is free.

So, if you want to ensure your grain is supplied in the best condition at least cost, and that you are making the most of new technology, Stoneleigh is the place to be.

Last chance to pick a British farming hero

British farming needs a hero, and this is your last chance to help select one.

To mark the achievement of the person who has done most to support British farming over the past 12 months, we are staging a Farm Personality of the Year Competition. This is your final chance to vote for the man or woman who, in your opinion, merits recognition.

If your view coincides with the majority of our readers, and you supply a convincing reason why your choice deserves to win, you could be celebrating the New Year with a luxury food hamper and a bottle of sparkling English wine.

Turn to page 18 to find some more information.

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Archive Article: 1999/11/19

19 November 1999

Distorted figures

Express Dairies headline profits fell sharply for the six months to Sept 30, but the figure was distorted by last summers Glanbia acquisition.

Pre-tax profits slumped to £1.6m, down from £26.6m last year. Much of this was due to an exceptional charge of £21.9m arising from the integration of Glanbias UK liquid milk business, bought by Express for £100m at the end of June, and the subsequent closure of three dairies.

But the acquisition helped lift turnover 17% to almost £449m, and the underlying pre-tax profit was £25m.

The delayed closure of a bottling plant and increased pension costs were partly to blame for the slight decline. However, the imbalance between raw milk prices and weak returns from bulk commodity markets, also played a part, depressing returns in the Ingredients division.

"This principally reflected the strength of sterling, though it was exacerbated by reduced European demand following the Belgian dioxin scare," said chief executive Neil Davidson. "Equilibrium has been restored through the adjustment of UK raw milk prices from Oct 1, though milk supplies to date are running below our expectations."

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Archive Article: 1999/11/19

19 November 1999

Teagles Tomahawk 8080 bedder/feeder has been upgraded to incorporate two chutes – a giraffe-necked swivel version for bedding and a standard type for feeding. Dubbed the TC model, the machine is designed to handle two round bales up to 1.50m (5ft) in diameter and any size of rectangular bale in straw and silage form. Clamp silage is also acceptable. The swivel chute can be hydraulically rotated through 270deg, while the standard chute is designed to deliver silage into troughs or behind feed barriers. Price is £12,595.

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Archive Article: 1999/11/19

19 November 1999

Fed up with cleaning straw, chaff and dust out of tractor radiators? Help is at hand in the shape of the variable pitch Cleanfix fan from German firm Hagele. Its conventional-looking blades can swivel on their axes to reverse the airflow and blow the muck back out. A small pneumatic cylinder powered by 12V compressor does the work, holding the blades in the blow-out position for a preset amount of time. The unit can be button-operated or set to reverse its blades automatically every 15-30 minutes. Hagele claims the unit will fit most tractors, combines and other engine-on machinery.

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Archive Article: 1999/11/19

19 November 1999

Latest development from Ag-Chem comes in the form of the RoGator – a self-propelled unit which can be used for spraying or fertiliser application operations. Power for the hydrostatically driven vehicle is provided by a 185hp John Deere engine. Features include all round suspension and a 1m ground clearance. Seen here equipped with a 24m, 4000 litre Chafer sprayer, prices range from £68,000 to £91,000 depending on specification.

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Archive Article: 1999/11/19

19 November 1999

A dozen or more female forms of various shapes and sizes (and ages) ground to a halt with relief after jogging and the gym for five minutes, and formed a circle as instructed.

"Right," said the trainer, well have Chrissie and, er, Margaret, yes the two English ladies in the middle for the first exercise."

It was a Tuesday morning, years ago, at the local keep fit class I had joined as a way of making contact with people in the days when my French was non-existent, consequently I hardly spoke at all.

Margaret joined shortly after, and, as she only spoke French in class, of course, this fact was a revelation – we were both English and hadnt realised it. Class came to a 10-minute standstill as we shot out a

barrage of questions in our native language, giggling. It was such a relief for me at that time.

Later, over coffee, we found we had a lot in common, not least that our respective partners had sheep and border collies, both not typical in the area. Dédé, who is French, had some land and a small flock, and at the time, little contact with other sheep

breeders.

So it was that we were

invited to lunch one day. We had pork chops by an open fire, and wine, and it all felt quite wicked being a

week day.

Naturally, after lunch the farmers went for a constitutional to survey the land and stock and compare notes while Margaret and I sipped Cointreau and gossiped, and the girls played. It must have been for quite a while and we were fine, until it was time to get up to leave. My then, very young daughters scolded me in the car for being tiddly. I could only agree and giggle. I sang for most of the way home.

Since then we became friends, Margaret (known as "Palenka") painted and we have one of her oil paintings in our dining room, and a portrait of Cherry upstairs.

Dédé and Tim are still comparing notes on sheep.In March, he rang to see if wed go bowling with them one night, it seemed a good idea at the time but after a heavy day, we tried to back out. Dédé was insistent, so we went. Margaret hadnt been bowling for years.

Were glad we did, we didnt know it then but she was ill, and this summer we have seen Dédé taking so much care of her, and losing interest in his sheep. The only help weve been able to give is acting as translators for Margarets family as Dédé doesnt speak English.

A month ago Margaret lost her fight . Now we are regretting all the times when we have said so often, we really must do something together soon, but havent – us because theres always something going on, and Margaret because she was busy painting for exhibitions.

Its something we all do but it is so very important to make time for friends – especially in these difficult times.

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