Archive Article: 2000/01/21 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 2000/01/21

21 January 2000

The south-east branch of the National Association of Agricultural Contractors and South East Contractors held their annual hedge cutting competition last week at Tony Leechs Holly Bush Farm, Oxted, Surrey.

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Archive Article: 2000/01/21

21 January 2000

Blue skies greeted junior farm minister Joyce Quin at John Jordans Moortown Farm, Gidleigh, Devon, this week. But later she had a stormy reception from south west farmers.

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Archive Article: 2000/01/21

21 January 2000

uEU negotiators will be pressing for tighter rules on the international trade in genetically modified crops when they attend a conference in Montreal next week. The meeting is intended to conclude the United Nations Protocol on Biosafety.

uBRUSSELS has authorised two new state aid schemes in Belgium in the wake of last years dioxin crisis. The first is to pay up to BFr5.3bn (£82m) to 20,000 farmers for loss of turnover. This applies to all animal products, but excludes destroyed livestock which is covered by other compensation. The second scheme covers food manufacturers who had exported products returned or destroyed.

uTHE EU commission this week approved a new free trade agreement with Mexico, designed to increase market access for both signatories on a range of industrial and agricultural goods and services. The deal will see free access for EU wine, spirits and olive oil in return for Mexican orange juice, avocados and flowers. Milk, meat and cereals will not be included.

uAMALGAMATION of French agricultural co-operatives continues apace. In the sugar sector, four co-ops and a distillery have merged to form Cristal Union, the largest such body in France with 10% of the countrys sugar quota. And in the dairy sector, sixteen co-ops in north-west France have formed Bio dAmour, focusing on organic milk production. &#42

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Archive Article: 2000/01/21

21 January 2000

The clean-up continues one month after the Stansted air disaster which saw a Korean 747 cargo jet crash onto Andys Streeters 1214ha (3000-acre) farm at Great Hallingbury, Essex. The plane crashed just yards from a neighbouring farmhouse belonging to Martin Mugele (see Farmlife, p7).

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Archive Article: 2000/01/21

21 January 2000

Full speed ahead… tag manufacturers are pressing ahead with producing all numeric tags now producers have obtained new herd identification marks. In the south-west, staff at Shearwell are using a laser marking machine and are working 24 hours a day to meet orders.

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Archive Article: 2000/01/21

21 January 2000

Extremely wet conditions on sensitive fenland silt near Boston, Lincs, prompted Sleaford-based contractor Farm Plant Services to run this Challenger 55 plus Bailey Beeteaper trailer alongside the six-row Vervaet harvester to minimise compaction. The Ariana grown with 90kg/ha of split dose nitrogen but no fungicide yielded over 60t/ha (24t/acre), reports FPSs Chris Mountain. The field was immediately ploughed and combi-drilled with Charger winter wheat at 200kg/ha.

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Archive Article: 2000/01/21

21 January 2000

TOUGHER wheat intervention standards are on the cards, says the HGCA.

The EU wants to be sure wheat in intervention is of a baking quality and can be sold when it comes out, says marketing director, Alan Almond.

Raising the minimum Zeleny value from 20 to 25, with the dough machineability threshold rising to 35, is one suggestion. Introducing a protein standard of 10.5% dry matter basis is also a possibility.

"What the commission is trying to achieve is virtually impossible. But MAFF is working hard to make sure UK growers are not penalised."

Some trade analysts suggest the real reason the commission wants to tighten intervention standards is concern over low world prices. At current levels, the 15% cut in the EU support price over the next two years may not be enough to eliminate the gap between the two.

This could mean that looming GATT restrictions on export subsidies would leave a growing surplus of wheat in intervention, which would be hugely expensive and politically unacceptable. &#42

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Archive Article: 2000/01/21

21 January 2000

Who deserves to be the next president of the NFU? Should the task of leading UK farming out of the worst crisis in living memory go to current president Ben Gill, his deputy Tony Pexton or outspoken south west contender Richard Haddock?

You may have a view but sadly its unlikely to count. Unless, that is, youre a member of the exclusive panel, including the 90-strong NFU council or a past president, which elects the new leader. farmers weekly believes the job is too important to rely on the possibly vested interests of the NFU council and the political intrigues of the unions hierarchy.

For those reasons, we are giving our readers the chance to take part in our exclusive telephone poll to vote for who they believe would make the best NFU leader. Has Ben Gill proved his credentials as a tough, effective farming leader willing and able to get things done? Or would his deputy Tony Pexton bring fresh direction and new commitment to the post?

Or perhaps you believe that only Richard Haddock has the grit, the personality and the single-minded independence to speak truly for the interests of all grass roots farmers?

Vote for your choice on the numbers below:

Ben Gill 0208-652 4433

Richard Haddock 0208-652 4400

Tony Pexton 0208-652 4460

Calls will cost no more than 10p. Alternatively, you can send us your comments via our FWi website at www.fwi.co.uk, fax us on 0208 652 4005 or e-mail us at farmers.weekly@rbi.co.uk

We will publish the results of our survey on Fri, Jan 28; the week before the council meeting at which the new leader will be elected. Remember, although you may not have a vote in the NFUs leadership election, you can make your voice heard.

Who deserves to be the next president of the NFU? Should the task of leading UK farming out of the worst crisis in living memory go to current president Ben Gill, his deputy Tony Pexton or outspoken south west contender Richard Haddock?

You may have a view but sadly its unlikely to count. Unless, that is, youre a member of the exclusive panel, including the 90-strong NFU council or a past president, which elects the new leader. farmers weekly believes the job is too important to rely on the possibly vested interests of the NFU council and the political intrigues of the unions hierarchy.

For those reasons, we are giving our readers the chance to take part in our exclusive telephone poll to vote for who they believe would make the best NFU leader. Has Ben Gill proved his credentials as a tough, effective farming leader willing and able to get things done? Or would his deputy Tony Pexton bring fresh direction and new commitment to the post?

Or perhaps you believe that only Richard Haddock has the grit, the personality and the single-minded independence to speak truly for the interests of all grass roots farmers?

Vote for your choice on the numbers below:

Ben Gill 0208-652 4433

Richard Haddock 0208-652 4400

Tony Pexton 0208-652 4460

Calls will cost no more than 10p. Alternatively, you can send us your comments via our FWi website at www.fwi.co.uk, fax us on 0208 652 4005 or e-mail us at farmers.weekly@rbi.co.uk

We will publish the results of our survey on Fri, Jan 28; the week before the council meeting at which the new leader will be elected. Remember, although you may not have a vote in the NFUs leadership election, you can make your voice heard.

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Archive Article: 2000/01/21

21 January 2000

This is it! I thought, as I sat hugging my knees on the bed. The soothsayers were right, its the end of the world.

Then I could hear it building up, a great roaring and the house started shaking. Outside, metal sheeting was flying around the yard, the noise of it had woken Tim up and he had just gone as Jacques the cowman came into the yard for milking, beeping his horn.

Upstairs, in the attic bedroom the eight cousins (our three girls, Jiggies and Als three offspring and Tims younger brother Richard and Mary (Dicky and Fairy)s two) were woken up as the skylights blew open, they were terrified. The three brothers were out like a flash to move the cars from the front of the house as the tiles were blowing off the roof. We couldnt see it at that point but they were stacking in piles of four or five on the edge of the roof just waiting to drop. As Dicky moved his car – the last to go – they started falling.

The problem was where to put the cars. Corrugated sheeting was blowing off the cow shed, there was nowhere big enough to house three cars, Jacques backed his up the yard away from the house, the others were moved on to the grass.

The cows were moved into the collecting yard to group them and stop them running about – the far end of the cowshed had caved in. There was no electricity and, as it was still dark, it was impossible to see the extent of the damage, but loose sheeting on the roof was banging and bending with the force of the wind, making a terrible, eerie noise.

From the house we could make out an apple tree down and debris in the garden.

Jiggies and the men (now wearing hard hats) could do no more outside once the cows had been fastened into the collecting yard, it was too dangerous with stuff blowing around. Fairy had the kettle going on our (luckily) all-gas cooker, so everyone came in to eat until it settled. Al had bought a flitch of British bacon which was sliced and fried to fortify the fighters.

Daylight came as the wind eased off, but by then Jacques, calling home, wanted to get back to help his wife, as water was flooding their basement, and with no power they couldnt pump it out. However, by this time a number of trees had fallen and he couldnt get up the hill. A friend had our chainsaw, and he was blocked in, so Jacques wife carried theirs across the fields here so that they could clear the road. When he went to get his car he found a 4000-litre drum, which had rolled off the yard outside the dog kennels, parked 12in behind his van.

Tim, having a dose of the flu, hadnt got the muster to park the tractor in the cowshed the night before, so it wasnt under the collapsed walls and roof (neither were the heifers!).

Dad Green and Sheila had a bedroom in the Chateau (as we only have four bedrooms and we were 16 in all) but it took until nearly lunchtime before anyone was able to go and collect them.

By 9am the tractor was running the generator and the cows were being milked.

That was Boxing Day.We were back on mains electric the next day, but the Chateau was without power until the following Sunday.

Our neighbours, who caught the full force of the wind lost most of their roofing, a building and electricity, and couldnt get into their parlour for a day and a half.

Our friends Deb and Joss lost the power but had a generator. However, they had problems with the bulk tank and the dairy wouldnt fix it until they were back on mains, consequently they ended up throwing four days milk down the drain because they couldnt cool it. They finally got the power back on New Years Eve.

No end of trees have gone on the farm, around the Chateau and in the area. All in all we were very lucky compared with others.

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Archive Article: 2000/01/21

21 January 2000

Nissans Terrano VAT-reclaimable 4wd van gets styling changes and interior upgrades for this year. These include new front grille, new tail-light clusters, map lamps, three 12v power sockets, digital trip meter and odometer and net pockets on the back door. Basics – including 125hp, 2.7 litre turbo-diesel, hi-lo ratio box, 760kg payload and limited slip diff – stay the same. Price is £14,500 (exc VAT).

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