Archive Article: 2000/06/02 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

A rare dry day, but with the ground too wet underfoot to go silage making

or do fieldwork, it meant there was a good turnout to see the sale of machinery

at Crucis Park Farm, Cirencester, Glos

There was something in the sale for everyone. Young William Wilson seems to have the hang of things, here. Unfortunately, Dad decided not to buy.

Vendor Richard Schroder is responding to the cost-price squeeze with a change in management policy that will mean more work for his local contractor, but a lot less need for machines. He professed himself satisfied with the results of the partial machinery sale, in the light of current arable economics.

At the other end of the age spectrum, there was a reunion for retired farmer George Gaydon. He bought this very same Acrobat side-delivery rake 38 years ago, new, for £84, and saw it sold for £30, with work still in it.

Conversation piece, as brothers Bill and Roy Limbrick put farming to rights with Chris Graham, of Moore Allen and Innocent.

"Lets get started, then, ladies and gentlemen." Auctioneer Mark Hill,

of Moore Allen and Innocent, works up interest in the first lot of the

day, a five-furrow Kverneland PB100 5F reversible plough.

Bidding was fickle, with a price of £15,000 for the MF 6180 tractor, which had just 1530 hours on the clock. But more than £19,250 was expected for the three-year-old MF36RS combine, and at unreserved prices, there were bargains to be had.

Time to add up the prices for Lynne Wardle and Jeremy Clarke, in the "office", a pensioned-off horsebox.

Wheres the wear? The high capacity West 1300 dual muckspreader realised a surprising £1750.

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

J L Dunlop from Arundel, West Sussex, took the top prize at this years Surrey County Show at Guildford with six-year-old bull Tarrant Jackel.

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

Move closer… Celebrity chef Clarissa Dickson Wright invited farm minister Nick Brown to get closer to his food and visit a farmers market at the BBCs Good Food Get Cooking! show. Best known as one of the Two Fat Ladies she appeared as patron of the National Association of Farmers Markets along with fellow chef Antony Worrall Thompson.

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

Going, going, gone… At 1800gns Shellthorn Krackerjack, a January 1999-born bull by Gretna House Excelsior, sold to DM Barkers Heywood herd, Taunton for the top bid at the South West Simmental Special last weekend. Next on the price sheet was the sales host Messrs R and V Louds Taurus Keltic, a March 1999 bull by Salisbury Challenger, which made 1650gns to FG and DM Hall of Glos. (Stags)

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

Premier second earlies on contract to AP Growers get a second blight spray of 2.5kg/ha of Trustan (cymoxanil + mancozeb + oxadixyl) at Langley Estate, Loddon, Norfolk. Manager James Brown relies on a seven to 10-day programme for disease control on the sandy loam soil. He says web-site forecasts (see p58) are too broad brush to persuade him to move far from APG advice on his irrigated crops.

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

IN BRIEF

&#8226 GUIDED at £1.2m for the whole Lye Farm, near Uley, Glos also is lotted into five. The 181-acre unit includes two farmhouses and a range of livestock buildings which have housed 80 dairy cows and followers. Agent Humberts are handling the sale.

&#8226 GRUNDLE FARM, Wattis- field, Suffolk, recently sold at auction in five lots. The 72-acre unit sold to local farming families with the house, farm buildings and about 25 acres knocked down at £350,000. The remaining 47 acres averaged £2662/acre with values for the lots ranging from £2418-4000/acre. Thos W M Gaze & Son was the auctioneer.

&#8226 MARKETED in Feb, Street Farm, near Tetbury, Glos now is sold. The 230-acre unit included a dairy for 150 cows, modern grain storage and 175 acres of arable land. The modern farmhouse was subject to an agricultural occupancy condition and was guided at ££1.5m for the whole.

"The guide price was exceeded and the farm is unlikely to continue as a dairy," said Arthur Witchell, Humberts.

&#8226 SOUTH Wraxell Manor, near Bradford-upon-Avon, Wilts, sold prior to a proposed private auction over the internet.

Guided at offers in excess of £5m the estate included 260 acres, seven dwellings and a range of traditional and modern farm buildings. Joint agents FPDSavills and Knight Frank said it sold for substantially in excess of the guide.

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

uBRUSSELS plans for a European Food Authority contain shortcomings, according to the EUs Economics and Social Committee. Although just an advisory body, the committee believes the EFA should evaluate pesticide and animal medicine residues and give advice on GMOs. It should also cover nutrition and diet.

uAGRICULTURE contributed 10% to gross domestic product, 11% to employment and 27% to net foreign earnings in Ireland last year, according to the governments annual Review and Outlook publication. Brussels subsidies accounted for 56% of farm income, while EU-membership produced a net gain of Ir£1.65bn, or 2.8% of GDP.

uEUROPEAN vets are due to vote next Tuesday (June 6) on commission plans for EU-wide controls on specified risk materials in ruminants. A two-tier system is proposed, with a longer list of materials to be destroyed in the UK and Portugal (high BSE risk countries) and a shorter list for the 13 other member states. In the absence of a clear decision, the issue will go to the next meeting of farm ministers on June 19.

uGERMAN farmers will soon be paying less for their diesel after the introduction of lower fuel taxes. The new tariff will be set at 0.57DM/litre (18p/litre) and farmers will be able to claim back the difference between this and the normal commercial rate. &#42

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

Jim Bullock

Jim Bullock farms 283ha

(700 acres) in partnership

with his parents and brother

at Mill Farm, Guarlford,

Malvern, Worcs. Two-thirds

is rented or contract farmed,

the rest owned. Cropping is

winter wheat, winter oilseed

rape and winter beans

EVERYTHING has needed spraying all at once after the wettest April on record.

Over 150mm (6in) of rain meant spraying days were few and far between.

The winter beans had quite high levels of chocolate spot, especially where neighbouring fields grew beans last year, before 0.5 litres/ha of Folicur (tebuconazole) and 1 litres/ha of Bravo (chlorothalonil) was applied.

Wheats raced from GS33 to GS39 in just over a week, which made flag leaf applications urgent. The original plan was a mix of 0.3 litres/ha Opus (epoxiconazole) plus 0.6 litres/ha Amistar (azoxystrobin), but after all the rain an extra 0.2 litres/ha of Opus, or more, was added to deal with the septoria in the crop.

Our lo-tilled crops are quite short this year, a result of a later than planned main nitrogen top-dressing, we believe. Also, wider row spacings mean tillers do not grow so tall, as there is less competition for light. Shorter crops are good news for lo-tilling next autumn as there is less straw.

I have recently returned from a lo-till study trip to France. The message that came over loud and clear is that if there is a future for low value combinable crops such as wheat and oilseed rape, reduced cultivations and an ICM approach will have to be implemented. Many growers there have already gone down the lo-till route and are now a stage further on, reducing seed rates, improving fertiliser utilisation and cutting back on agrochemicals, all as a result of better soil management. A full report will appear in FW soon.

All the French farmers we spoke to are keen on the Canadian idea to "take out 10%". If every grower producing for the world market cuts production by 10% a shortage would be created and prices would rise. To make it work, the French suggest everybody takes out their headlands, meaning growers can see that neighbours are playing the game. With set-aside payments still available, it might not be such a bad idea. &#42

Back from France, where growers think that all headlands should be set aside to force up world grain markets, Jim Bullock and brother Nigel (left) have been busy with the sprayer.

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

CORRECTION

A couple of printing errors crept into our Kuhn mower maintenance piece (Power Farming, May 26). We should have said that when changing blades, the disc should be renewed if the blade mounting holes crack or turn oval. New blades cost 45p, not 34p as stated and the arrows on the blades show the definite fitting direction, rather than the preferred one. &#42

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

Simon Thompson

Simon Thompson is farm

manager on John Nicholsons

Rectory Farm, Lower Benefield,

Northants. Soils are heavy

clays, growing 190ha

(460 acres) of wheat, beans

and oilseed rape, including

industrial crops on set-aside

AS I write, half the flag leaf sprays are still to be applied to wheats and they are becoming worryingly overdue.

To date Consort has had 1.2 litres/ha of Twist (trifloxystrobin) plus 0.5 litres/ha of Folicur (tebuconazole). Savannah, which is remarkably free of yellow rust, but suffering from septoria on lower leaves, is due Amistar (azoxystrobin) at 0.75 litres/ha plus 0.5 litres/ha of Folicur. Some wheat we are growing on 40ha (100 acres) of land under a share farming agreement will receive a conventional mix as it has a lower yield potential.

On a more enthusiastic note, Autocast rape has finished flowering and looks extremely well, as it has done all year. Not only has the system driven establishment costs down, but additional benefits have come to light. No broad-leaved weed control was needed and control of blackgrass with 1.75 litres/ha of Kerb (propyzamide) has worked well. To improve the system this year the stubble will be left as long as possible to deter pigeons.

With breakcrop margins so tight, we are also trimming fungicide inputs. A three-spray programme on the oilseed rape, costing £35/ha (£14/acre), has been cut to a single autumn hit of 0.25 litres/ha of Sanction (flusilazole) costing £7.50/ha (£3/acre). Variable costs should be cut on the Clipper winter beans too. The plan is to apply just one fungicide at pod set.

An early December application of simazine at 2 litres/ha did a good job, but, unfortunately, 0.5 litres/ha of Laser (cycloxydim) failed to control the patches of blackgrass, which are an increasing problem.

The beans were sold forward in February at £80/t for November movement, which I believe will prove to be a good price. As the farm is in the ACCS, I was relieved to receive a call from my merchant recently listing local end users who will only buy assured wheat this harvest. Now, those of us in the scheme must become price setters and demand a premium for our assured grain. &#42

"Phew, no rust on this Savannah yet!" says new Farmer Focus writer Simon Thompson. That is despite wind and rain holding up flag leaf sprays.

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

A high clearance between rotor and cover is the main feature of Kvernelands new GSH 200 bed tiller. The company says the extra clearance allows the unit to handle stones and clods more effectively. A three-speed 540/1000rpm gearbox is fitted as standard.

Filling the inside of 12m (40ft) lorry containers is considered a simple operation with this Contain-A-Vator elevator from Terry Johnson of Holbeach, Lincs. The elevator is equipped with two hydraulically operated rear jacks which can be extended to lower the conveyor belt level inside the container. The Contain-A-Vator can also be used for conveying root crops and grain to a height of 7.8m when the elevator and discharge head is fully raised. Other features include independent belt speed adjustment and an optional slew function. Price, including slew, is £26,000.

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

Standen Engineering has now developed a 1.6m wide version of the Eureka cultivator. An identical machine to the original 3m model in all but size, it uses a series of webs to ensure that stones and larger clods are placed beneath finer tilth.

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

Broadwater Machinerys K60 static box tipper has been built to handle boxes of both 1000kg and 1250kg capacity. The tipper features a loading cradle and support stand which can be adjusted laterally and secured in place with locking bolts. The cradle can also be adjusted to contain boxes of varying height, while an adjustable deflector plate varies crop flow when emptying into conveyors or hoppers. Tipping to 135deg, the K60 is operated by two hydraulic rams powered by an electric motor driven pump. Price is £3850.

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

This 234 sugar beet cleaner from CTM Harpley Engineering has been fitted with a wider 1.4m pick-off table to enable operators to perform more efficient crop cleaning for a better sample. Designed to process up to 1t of crop a minute, the 234 features optional speed control for the picking elevator, allowing operators to adjust the machine to varying crop throughputs. Power is from a Deutz diesel engine and hydraulic motor, driving a delivery and picking conveyor before a single discharge elevator. The discharge elevator can be hydraulically raised to 4m for high filling applications or lowered to ground level for road transport.

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

The Dean of Ripon, Yorks, the Very Rev John Methuen, with one of his flock on Rogation Sunday (May 28) when a national day of prayer was held for the farming community. The dean allowed a pen of lambs in to the cathedral to promote the event.

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

Foxhunters are normal, decent folk

I read the reports on your foxhunting survey (Opinion and Farmlife, May 19) with interest. I note in particular the quote from the Dorset couple who wrote: "Foxhunters are a group of social elitists who like to feel they can roam at will across the countryside."

My own, first-hand experience of our own hunt, the Surrey Union, is the opposite. They are always grateful for permission to use the farm and have always been respectful of instructions as to where they should and shouldnt go.

I am not sure whether elitism is a good or bad thing. But maligning it has much to do with socialist dogma and little to do with hunting. The followers of hunting come across to me as being decent, law-abiding, reasonable, everyday people – somewhat in contrast to many of their detractors.

Your respondents may find that they have more to complain about when this governments right to roam Bill grants all and sundry an absolute right to the countryside. A few hunt riders will seem like nothing then.

R M Pothecary

Littleton Manor Farm, Littleton Lane, Reigate, Surrey.

Unite to defend our rural life

Great news that your survey came out so strongly in favour of hunting (Opinion and Farmlife, May 19). How sad to read recently that our own YFC club at its Blackpool agm refused the chance to form a closer relationship with the countryside alliance. That was based on fears that some parents would associate the alliance with the hunting issue and not let their children join. The alliance covers all aspects of country sports and rural activities.

At a time when farming needs all the help it can get, surely strength in numbers in defending our rural way of life is the only way forward.

J Brooks

North Devon.

Inefficient way to catch foxes

Surely, if you want to catch a fox with a dog you would use a lurcher which will catch it within a 100 yards rather than a pack of hounds that take miles running across farmland? Personally, like most farmers I know, I prefer the lamp and rifle.

Andy Bean

andybean@warwickshire.gov.uk

Hunters insured on public road?

Your survey of readers on foxhunting (Opinion and Farmlife May 19), was like asking turkeys if they were looking forward to Christmas. A more interesting survey would be to ask hunters on horseback if they are insured while on public roads. I understand it is not compulsory.

John Benstead

5 Scotts Yard, Haslingfield, Cambridgeshire.

Townies taking over the YFs

I was concerned to read that the Young Farmers had rejected plans to forge closer links with the Countryside Alliance, fearing that it could jeopardise membership.

Unfortunately, the Young Farmers Club is suffering from decreased membership due to a variety of reasons. A number of members, both past and present, have come from non-farming backgrounds.

However, one only has to recall the supporters of rallies and marches organised by the Countryside Alliance to realise that those with a genuine interest in protecting the countryside came together to protect their freedom of choice. That was the freedom both of individuals and groups to protect those choices for their children.

Individual members of the Young Farmers Clubs can, and hopefully will, choose to be members of the Countryside Alliance.

The organisation is concentrating on country sports as these are under threat, some of which bring much-needed income to farms. But there are many other interests they support, such as local amenities, food labelling and countryside industries.

With the decrease in the number of farmers and those whose work is connected with farming, there is certain to be a shift in the balance of non-farming members.

It is a pity that, due to the current imbalance, we appear to have a hitherto august body of representatives of the future of farming allowing itself to be influenced by an apparent urban majority who fear a fall in membership. They should stand up and be counted and continue the tradition of educating their members about countryside matters. Support for any organisation which aims to protect the countryside is of paramount importance.

The Young Farmers Clubs, as a minority group, need the support of the rest of those who support the Countryside Alliance.

B Dobson-Spink

Address supplied.

Gun law is in a total mess

Another matter arising from the Tony Martin case is the ridiculous position we farmers find ourselves in regarding the gun licensing laws. Due to hasty, ignorant government reaction to the Hungerford and Dunblane tragedies, we are left with totally illogical, complicated and now expensive gun licence renewals.

It was reasonable that Mr Martin had an unlicensed pump action 12-bore shotgun. I have two such guns and use them regularly to control troublesome vermin at work.

On the past two occasions Ive applied for the re-licence, Ive had a load of nonsense from the police. They choose to hide and operate behind nonsensical laws. As with many aspects of our work, the public and their officials are deeply ignorant as to how we have to operate.

That breeds the dangerous situations we so often find ourselves in. Britain carries too many parasites. As the years go by their number increases and we are fast approaching the stage where we are being bled to death by them all.

Sam Millward

Lincoln Hill, Hom Green, Ross-on-Wye.

Meeting barley contract needs

In reply to your article on malting barley contracts (Arable, May 12) I hope the trade has already gone a long way to address some of the needs Marie Skinner refers to. We, as part of the Bairds Malt Group, have always offered the facility to fix the base price at any time sellers call.

As the requirement for higher nitrogen in malting barley has become more necessary, we have designed one malting barley contract to give a fixed price for any nitrogen within the band 1.50-1.80. That has enabled producers to be more confident of their ability to meet the specifications. This is just one of a range of contracts we offer, any of which we would be happy to discuss with growers.

Guy Lawrence

Mark Lawrence (Grain) Ltd. Mill House, Station Road, Ardleigh, Colchester, Essex.

We already knew how bad it was

On Wed May 10, I went to an NFU meeting in Kenilworth where Terrig Morgan, chairman of the NFU milk and dairy produce committee, gave the meeting a talk, The Dairy Crisis, What is the NFU doing?

As I listened to Mr Morgan, it became apparent from his demeanour and his words that milk producers have no hope. He said the NFU could not negotiate prices, neither could it be a marketing organisation. It could be a "facilitator and helper along the route". He then went to say that he "could not give us anything completely new".

Tired and despondent leaders have no business calling a meeting of people who are in dire financial straits so they can be told how bad things are; we already know.

The NFU seems to be suffering from a severe negative attitude problem. We farmers are paying the NFU a considerable amount of money and are entitled to high-quality leadership.

I hate people who stand in my yard telling me what they cant do. My reply is: "Tell me what you can do so that we can move on." To our leaders I would like to say: If you want to act on behalf of farmers talk straight and be positive, or get out.

Gerald Vennall

Gerald.vennal@virgin.net

NFU approvedunfair cuts

I note that the NFU has described the lifting of the weight limit on compensation for OTMS cattle as the removal of a glaring injustice that ends arbitrary discrimination against farmers with heavier cattle.

Perhaps it has forgotten that in the summer of 1997 when the farm minister decided to curb OTMS expenditure he offered farmers organisations the choice of meeting cost reduction cuts either through weight based restrictions on the payment or by an across the board cut in price.

The NFU made it clear that it preferred weight-based restrictions rather than the much fairer across the board cut – presumably because it would offend fewer of its cattle-owning members.

It is difficult to see how it can square its liking in 1997 for a weight-based cut, which has cost owners of heavier OTMS cattle about £20m a year for three years, with its current claim that its imposition was unjust and discriminatory.

The owners of heavier cows, most of which are pedigree and commercial beef cattle breeders, would have faced no discrimination and no injustice if the NFU had advised MAFF in 1997 wisely. It should have said that it would have been fair if the pain of meeting the OTMS cut had been shared equally between owners of cattle over and under 560kg.

Robert Robinson

Chairman, National Beef Association, The Firs, Blackmore Park Road, Malvern, Worcs.

Power lines not linked to cancer

Your article "High-voltage health risk?" (Features, May 12) highlights some cases of cancer occurring near a high-voltage power line. Of course, all cancer is a cause of great concern and it is natural to look for an explanation.

However, the clear weight of evidence is against power lines causing cancer or any other disease. Most recently, the UK Childhood Cancer Study, the worlds largest ever study of its type into this issue, reported its first results. It was conducted by some of the countrys top scientists and it was led by the eminent Prof Sir Richard Doll who first established an international reputation by identifying the link between smoking and lung cancer.

It found no evidence that childhood cancer is associated with the magnetic fields produced by electricity systems.

To provide meaningful answers to the issue of potential health risks, systematic large-scale studies need to be carried out. That has been achieved for power lines; about $500m has been spent on research into this issue worldwide and the evidence is against there being a risk.

Dr John Swanson

Scientific adviser, the National Grid Company, Kelvin Avenue, Leatherhead, Surrey.

Balance in GM crop debate

You published a letter (May 12) from Mark Griffiths of the Natural Law Party in which he misled readers by quoting selectively and out of context from a recent research paper. He suggested that GM sugar beet gives poor weed control. In contrast, the current series of government/SCIMAC farm-scale trials were set up precisely because some, including English Nature, were concerned that the same crops might eliminate all weeds from these crops.

The truth is that in crops like Roundup-tolerant sugar beet, we have a flexible tool, which could be used for either such aims. Moreover they offer the potential to save both chemical use and cost, and can be tailored to the environmental and farming needs.

Surely it is time we had accuracy and balance in this debate, instead of such uninformed speculation.

Colin Merritt

Monsanto, Maris Lane, Trumpington, Cambridge.

Not nearly so complicated

Your article (Features, May 12) presented a good summary of the new extensification payments scheme. Unfortunately, you made it even more complicated than it really is.

Unlike the previous scheme, the new extensification scheme does not take into account the milk quota held by a producer. That is because all the cattle on the holding, including dairy cows, are taken into account in determining the stocking density.

However, under the BSPS and SCPS, the milk quota continues to be used to determine whether the 2 LU/ha stocking density payment limit is met, with the change from April 1 to March 31 as described in your article.

Also, producers who have chosen to comply with the requirements of the simplified scheme can withdraw from the scheme without penalty, provided that they have not been advised of a forthcoming on-farm inspection.

Joyce Quin,

Minister of State, MAFF, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London.

CPAs pesticide package lacking

What a shame that FW has chosen to join the NFU in welcoming the CPAs pesticide package (Leader, May 19). If the agrochemical sector wishes to remove the threat of a pesticide tax, it will have to do better than that.

The CPAs package does not even acknowledge the environmental damage caused by the routine use of pesticides. Pesticides disrupt wildlife food chains and cost the consumer millions of £s each year to remove from water supplies. Despite that, the CPA proposals lack targets for reducing pesticide use, for reducing environmental impacts or even for phasing out the most damaging pesticides.

Most farmers want to farm profitably and protect their wildlife. If CPA cant design a package that will help them do that, someone else will. And if it isnt good enough, the pesticide tax will be back in the picture again.

Mark Avery

RSPB director of conservation, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy, Beds.

BSE caused by many factors

I am concerned about the letter (May 19) from Joanna Wheatley which referred to BSE as a blunder of science. Although it is known that much of the CJD seen today came from injectables derived from human pituitary extracted hormones, the position regarding the occurrence of BSE appears more complex.

Are modern management practices at the heart of the BSE problem? As Ms Wheatley points out, there is an increased risk of transfer if substances are injected rather than taken orally. I have always believed that BSE has been caused by a variety of factors such as stress and BST, and perhaps even organophosphate warble dressings.

The largest number of cases occurred when experimentation was taking place into boosting milk yields by using the hormone bovine somatotrophin, which was administered as an injectable.

However, I am concerned that the EU wishes to introduce a policy of whole herd slaughter for cases of BSE. We do not have scientific evidence that BSE is transferable within the herd.

This regulation would be particularly detrimental to British farmers where the herds are larger and more efficiently managed than in some other European countries.

Arnold Pennant

Nant Gwilym, Tremeirchion, St Asaph.

Minimum grant area in fact 3ha

I am heartened to see that you are able to give further coverage to energy crops and your reports make interesting reading.

But your report, "Annual payments till first harvest in" (Arable, May 19) may have unintentionally given the impression, particularly in the last paragraph, that a minimum area of 25ha will be needed from next year to attract government support.

For England, at any rate, that is not the case. The MAFF consultative document for the England rural development plan, energy crops scheme proposes support for plantation sizes down to 3ha provided they are linked to dedicated schemes and possibly subjected to environmental impact assessments. A further proposal suggests that support for short rotation coppice establishment on non-arable land should be at the rate of £1600 per ha.

This company has developed a versatile range of planting machines for SRC which have fully demonstrated their technical and economic suitability, not only for the larger plantations but also for smaller sites.

We await the final form of the MAFF Scheme with great interest.

John Turton

J Turton Engineering, Woodpeckers, Coldharbour Road, Upper Dicker, Hailsham, East Sussex.

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

A 3m ground clearance for the new Briggs irrigating system allows it to be used to irrigate the tallest of crops, says the company. Three hydraulically controlled operating heights are available with each locked automatically at each level to ensure boom safety. The boom itself is self-levelling and operates at low water pressures.

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

High type and production bull, Gibbon is now on special offer from Supersires. Gibbons May proof shows £55 PIN at 90% reliability, with 610kg milk, 13.6kg (-0.15%) fat and 22kg protein (0.03%) protein, £55 PLI and 2.52 type merit. Supersires is offering Gibbon at £22.60/straw to those ordering 20 doses or more; single doses are £26.

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

Fiona –

the village newcomer

SINCE moving to the village from London three years ago, Fiona has made volunteering a profession. "Course I dont mind lending a hand," she shrieks. "Delighted."

"If you dont get involved you dont know whats going on," she tells Marcus, her husband, as she rushes off to a Neighbourhood Watch meeting. Run the tombola at the fete? "Absolutely." Deliver the newsletter? "Absolutely." Help at the school sports day? "Absolutely." Never say No is Fionas motto.

But she still doesnt feel quite accepted. "You arent unless your grandparents were born in the village," she says, a little bitterly. Fionas grandparents were born in Islington. Or was it Isleworth?

Fionas convinced she isnt a townie anymore – she hasnt complained about the smell once. OK, she may have "mentioned" to Mr Fisher that his potato picker left a little mud on the road – but she had only just cleaned the Discovery, after all.

Reporting the local farmers dog as a stray didnt help. "I was only trying to help," she sobs, wiping the tears from her eyes. "I thought it was worrying sheep." She had read about sheep worrying.

"There are no sheep for 50 miles," the farmer snapped. "This is cow country. That dog was just waiting for me."

But Fiona wasnt listening: she couldnt take her eyes off his trousers. They were covered, absolutely plastered, in – and she shivers at the thought of it – poo.

Fiona thinks the problem stems from her objecting to that planning application. Everyone else seemed to think that Henry should be allowed to convert his sheds into offices, but they didnt have to live next door to it, did they. "Marcus and I didnt move here to live next to an industrial estate," she said.

Henrys wife accused Fiona of meddling when she popped round collecting for the Red Cross. "Its our livelihood thats at stake," she said. "Dont stick your nose where its not wanted."

Fiona was so upset she went to stay in London for a few days with some chums. "I just need some time to get my head together – its so claustrophobic in that pokey village," she said. "Fi-Fi, you poor thing," her chums replied.

But after three days in London she had a rather different view of the village. "Its a darling little place," she said. "Such sweet people. A better environment to bring kids up in. And the air, you should smell the air, you can breathe there."

When Fiona got back, she made a concerted effort to fit in. She had time on her hands, after all, what with Marcus away at a conference in the States.

She agreed to help with the church flowers, offered to join the parish council and ranted in the post office about how the government was neglecting rural services.

"Blairs got no idea about the reality," she said. "I have to make a 50-mile round trip to buy a decent bottle of wine."

She even joined a farmer-protest outside a supermarket. "Were from cow country," she shrieked enthusiastically to a passer-by. Trouble was, her heart just wasnt in it – the supermarket concerned did do such lovely sushi.

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Archive Article: 2000/06/02

2 June 2000

Moo-ving bill boards… Scottish farmers and ASDA have teamed up for the Cows-in-Coats campaign. The store at St Leonards – whose general manager is Leon Bishop (pictured) – pays farmers £50/cow/month to wear the tailor-made, harmless coats. Advocates of the initiative say it helps promote the fresh local produce message

and generates cash for farmers.

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