Archive Article: 2001/07/27 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

Digital dermatitis hits organic units

Diseases such as digital dermatitis are proving particularly hard to treat on organic farms, which can reduce fertility, Somerset-based vet Alastair Hayton told the BCVA meeting.

"Digital dermatitis is the biggest problem on organic farms because only zinc or copper sulphate can treat it. While these are better than nothing, they are not as good as antibiotics used to treat conventional herds."

Antibiotics could be used if permission from the organic regulatory bodies was obtained, but long withdrawal periods could put producers off, said Mr Hayton.

"The three-strikes-and-out policy – which means that when one animal is treated with a synthesised drug more than three times it is no longer organic – also acts as a disincentive to antibiotic use.

"I know of organic farms which have fertility problems because digital dermatitis is so bad that cows are not prepared to stand."

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

Do you run a 4m Maschio, Kuhn or Amazone power harrow? Are you on abrasive land, wearing out a set of tines in a year or less? Will the tines need replacing soon? If the answers are yes, then we could help each other. Through users experience, farmers weekly plans to compare the wear rates of original replacement power harrow tines (ie manufacturers) with those of parts bought from alternative suppliers. The deal is simple. You buy the manufacturers own tines for half the machine, we buy pattern parts for the other half. Then, at a few points through the season, you jot down tine lengths. We collate and analyse the results and next spring any differences in wear rates will emerge. Interested? For further details e-mail David Cousins at david.cousins@rbi.co.uk or call him on 020-8652 4901. Thanks!

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

National newspaper lashes F&Mpolicy

As FWs campaign for a full public inquiry into the foot-and-mouth crisis enters its third week, The Daily Telegraph has savaged the government.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has trampled on small stock farmers like a ruthless occupying army" and has treated them "as Stalin dealt with the kulaks of the Ukraine," according to the newspaper.

The Telegraph also praises the backbone and patriotism of the small stock farmer and asks the question:"Is the F&Mcrisis part of a conspiracy to destroy them?"

"Conspiracy" is a strong word. But only one course of action will reveal the truth – a full public inquiry.

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

First sight of the new McCormick MTX 6-cylinder tractor range due to be launched at the Tillage Event. The range comprises five models rated from 118hp to 179hp. Use of a high-strength, half-chassis for heavy duty tasks with front and rear-mounted implement is listed among its features.

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

uFRANCE is tightening its controls on sheepmeat, as a precaution against the possible transfer of scrapie to the human food chain. With immediate effect, the entire head of all sheep will have to be destroyed, whatever the age, except for cheek muscle and tongue. The brains of sheep over six-months-old must also be removed, as will spinal cord from next January.

uEU vets have extended the export restrictions on Spanish pigs and pig products after further outbreaks of classical swine fever. The country has now reported 23 cases, almost double the number in the UK last year. The export ban, due to expire on July 30, has been prolonged until Sept 15. It covers a wide area around Catalonia, Valencia, la Mancha and Aragon.

uTHE Netherlands has discovered its 11th case of BSE this year, taking the cumulative total for the country to 19. The seven-year-old cow and another 105 in her herd have been slaughtered. Cases also continue to appear in Germany, which has now recorded 82 outbreaks this year.

uDUBLIN has announced an extension to the deadline for farmers and agri-businesses to apply for grants under the new marketing and processing scheme. Funding of 40% is available towards the cost of new capital investment. The extension from the previous July 27 deadline to Sept 14, will give applicants more time to sort out the paperwork during the holiday period. &#42

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

uICELAND is the latest retailer to promote Welsh hill lamb. The company expects to create a £3m market over the next 12 months through its 760 stores and national home delivery service. Cig Mon Group, Anglesey, will supply the lambs. Steve Tranmer, Icelands senior buyer based in north Wales, said: "Hill farming has been hard hit by foot-and-mouth. We believe we have a duty to support this vital part of the Welsh economy." &#42

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

Ulster sheep count

is worrying for all

Figures revealing the level of discrepancies between the number of sheep kept in parts of Northern Ireland and the number of premiums claimed make uncomfortable reading.

In the South Armagh area alone, more than half the farmers who had animals killed in the foot-and-mouth cull had fewer sheep than they had claimed premiums for.

The Ulster Farmers Union suggests the actions of a few should not tarnish the image of the vast majority of honest farmers.

Undoubtedly there will be some who have genuine excuses for their low stocking levels. But inevitably some will have acted illegally.

Those who are found out must face the full force of the law. They do the whole industry a major disservice.

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

Minister looks on as sheep industry suffers

What does the UK have in common with France, Spain and the Republic of Ireland? Answer: All four are major sheep producers. But thats where the similarity ends.

Ministers Glavany, Arias Canete and Walsh used this weeks farm council to demand more cash for their producers from the new sheep regime.

But UK minister Margaret Beckett merely looked to delay the reform and build in certain flexibilities.

UK sheep producers face the biggest crisis of their lives. Sadly our minister seems more intent on reducing the size of their industry, rather than sorting out their financial plight.

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

"First wheat cut in the country," says SCATS James Ross. Boyd Farming took this Sept-drilled Soissons at 17% moisture off light land near Lymington, Hants, on Monday. Moved later in the week for a feed base-price fixed in June of £78/t it yielded 7.9t/ha (3.2t/acre) with an analysis of 12.7% protein, 80kg/hl and 330 Hagberg – pretty good of the ground, says Mr Ross. Elsewhere barley harvest has barely begun and oilseed rape is still to be started – regional reports start page 56.

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

Contractors cut 8ha (20 acres) of whole-crop wheat on an arable unit near John Goughs Ellerton Grange Farm, near Newport, Shropshire, this week. Yield was 29t/ha (12t/acre). The forage will act as a buffer feed for Mr Goughs 150-strong pedigree Holstein herd, ahead of maize this winter, in a bid to improve milk quality.

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

&#8226 PERSHORE Group of Colleges which run land-based education courses in Hereford and Worcs has reduced its number of main sites from three to two with effect from September 2002. The group will concentrate resources on its Holme Lacy and Pershore campuses. Principal David Hall said the change would be a significant opportunity to lead the farming and horticultural education system in a new direction.

&#8226 HOT air balloon enthusiasts will take to the skies once more after a four-month break because of foot-and-mouth disease. Balloonists reached agreement with the NFU and Country Land and Business Association that flights can occur with the permission of farmers and landowners in Provisionally Free Areas.

&#8226 LESS than 0.5% of all meat, fish, eggs and dairy products tested in 2000 had any detectable residues of veterinary medicines, according to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. The VMD found that milk, farmed trout and game had no residues but between 0.13% and 0.37% of red meat, poultry meat, eggs and farmed salmon did. &#42

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

WEST

LIMITED grain sampling signals patchy harvest activity across the West and last weekends downpours added to delays as growers wait for crops to ripen, say traders. "The forecast is good now so they are holding off," says Dalgetys Liz Craig.

Peter Rose of Hagley Hill Farm, Belbroughton, Worcs, is typical. "Barley remains green in patches. About 28ha (70 acres) has been treated with Round up and we should get into it this weekend."

With no winter barley, barometer grower Tim Morris reckons he wont make a start at Coneygar Farm, Quenington, Glos, until next week with winter oilseed rape.

But specialist crimped grain and whole-crop cereal contractors have been busy. Paul Ratcliffe, who farms at Canaston Bridge, Pembrokeshire, had his 24ha (60 acres) of spring-sown Regina cut earlier this week. "Although sown in Feb it should yield 3t/acre of crimped grain."

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

MIDLANDS

COMBINES were poised to roll across the midlands early this week. Where a start has been made, early barley yields are encouraging.

"Light land crops drilled at normal times have yielded surprisingly well, but its really too early to detect quality trends," says Glencores Robert Kerr.

Bucks-based grower Charlie Edgeleys comments about Muscat off chalky loam support that. "According to our combine monitor, it is yielding exceptionally well at 3.6-3.9t/acre," he says of the 120ha (300 acres) crop. That compares with a five-year average closer to 6.2t/ha (2.5t/acre) for Muscat and Regina on the farm.

Barometer grower Brian Shaw, of Barton Hill Farm, Lilley, Beds, has also made a start and is pleased with Pearls early quality, coming in at 15.7% moisture, 1.6% nitrogen, 69kg/hl and low screenings off medium-light ground. Yield, at 7.4t/ha (3t/acre), is average, he says.

Further north or on heavier ground, many were hoping to make a start midweek. "We are hoping to go into Heligan on lightish, well-draining ground by Wednesday," says Staffs grower Phil Abbot.

In Oxon, Philip Chamberlain was hoping to cut July 6 desiccated OSR later this week, as was Nick Cobbold at Glebe Farm, Hinton Waldrist. "We tried some desiccated rape Sunday night but at 16% it was still too wet. A couple of dry days and it should go by midweek." But his Jewel barley – featured in FW last week – is now cleared, with yield "guestimated" at 6.8-7.4t/ha (2.75t-3.00t/acre) off light land, up on his average of 6.8t/ha (2.75t/acre).

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

Top keeper Potter a credit to his craft

Congratulations to Tim Potter, FWs Gamekeeper of the Year, who will receive his award at the CLA Game Fair this weekend. A true professional, Mr Potters achievement is a credit to his craft. What better ambassador for country sports?

Keepers like Tim, and their employers, who put time, effort and money into improving habitat for both game and wildlife dont just talk about conservation. They put plans into action to benefit the countryside. Well done Tim and all the other finalists in this prestigious competition.

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

First wheat/set-aside split looks good bet

Looking to keep arable farming simple? A 50:50 split of first wheat and set-aside could be ideal, on contracted-in land at least, according to some experts.

Preparing set-aside land early, ready for timely first wheat sowing, can help ease the harvest and cultivations bottleneck. Avoiding less profitable break crops and concentrating on first wheat growing can then optimise output. What could be simpler?

Particularly for extra land, it could provide an efficient way of matching machinery and labour to farmed area. The system also presents less of a risk to the landowner.

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

On-farm composting route to extra cash?

Sky-high EU targets to cut land-filled biodegradable waste could create a profitable alternative enterprise.

Within nine years, land-fill disposal of biodegradable waste must be reduced by 75% of 1995 levels, says the Environment Agency.

Such an ambitious target will require councils to seek new means of processing which could open up opportunities for farmers.

Waste can be composted on-farm which is an inexpensive and simple operation to set-up. Farmers could charge up to £20/t for on-farm disposal.

The compost can then be spread as an organic top dressing or sold to gardeners.

So perhaps composting could turn rotten times into sweeter times.

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

Testing times…Blonde dAquitaine cross suckler calves put on weight without being pushed too hard, says Cumbria hill producer Mary Hutchinson. This is crucial with the short grazing season on the fells. But 20 of last years heifers, normally sold in spring as stores, remain on farm due to foot-and-mouth restrictions, she explains. Hopefully, they will be sold in the next two months to a local producer who is restocking a suckler herd.

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

Farmers wife Sue Dronfield (centre) and her team have shown that when it comes to customer service, they cant be beat. Sue runs Nippers, which specialises in baby equipment and nursery furniture, in a converted grain store at Fields Farm, Marton, Warks, and the business has won the Mid Warwickshire Customer Service Award in the face of competition from much bigger companies.

"We take a pride in providing excellent service to our customers and this award is a credit to my staff for all their hard work and commitment," says Sue. "What is most pleasing is that we were one of the smallest businesses competing, and beating Boots and a well known conference centre was just a great feeling."

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

Everyone should sign Blair letter

I am delighted that FW is campaigning for a full public inquiry. If the campaign achieves the levels of support expected, surely Mr Blair cannot fail to back down and acknowledge that a public inquiry is necessary to get to the truth and make those who handled this tragedy so badly accountable?

Pointing the finger of blame is not the main objective of an inquiry. It is to get truthful answers to the following questions (and many more) as quickly and cost effectively as possible to prevent it happening again.

Some of the most important questions surround the source of the outbreak.

How long had the government known about the possibility of an outbreak and why were MAFF officials trying to locate sleepers as far back as Dec/Jan?

Why did it take so long for movements to stop and how has the outbreak spread? The only common denominator in many new cases is visits from DEFRA officials and slaughter teams.

Was the cull policy, including contiguous farms and dangerous contacts, ill-advised and what is the true number of animals slaughtered? What about the alleged theft of a test tube from Porton Down? Have pyres helped spread the disease?

Why do we import meat from countries where the disease is known to be present? Several friends have reported that on recent trips abroad, comprehensive checks have been carried out at most destinations and many questions asked. On their return to the UK – nothing!

Everyone should sign the letter to Mr Blair and encourage friends, all members of their families and aquaintances to do the same. Imagine the support if everyone lobbied breed societies, local shops, hotels and guest houses, local hunts, feed merchants and hay and straw merchants. Ask your local pubs and shops to leave letters on their bars and counters. We are asking for the truth and deserve a reply.

Caroline Russell

carolinerussell@ukonline.co.uk

Thanks, FW, for your campaign

Please accept our sincere thanks and our appreciation for your campaign for a full public inquiry into the foot-and-mouth debacle, about which there is much unanswered speculation.

The whole countryside is seething with discontent and frustration at what we perceive to be the governments totally unsympathetic attitude, as we suffer the deepest depression in agriculture since the war.

That is exacerbated by the fact that it chooses this time to demonstrate its antipathy towards us by prioritising the fox-hunting nonsense (in the Queens Speech) over matters of much greater concern to us all.

So far the government has been let off the hook regarding its handling of F&M, which we know has left a lot to be desired. The Countryside Alliance and some other publications are also campaigning for a full public inquiry. It is essential to present our case to the public and to ensure the survival of British agriculture for our future generations.

Tony Jervis

Winderton Farm, Winderton, Banbury, Oxon.

Urban policies snub rural life

Let us hope and pray that we do have a public inquiry into the scandal and mishandling of this foot-and-mouth outbreak by an urban-thinking government which knows and cares little for the rural way of life. Through its misguided policies it has ruined the rural economy and, to some extent, that of the rest of Britain.

Facts that have emerged since the first case makes one wonder if we are living under a dictatorship not dissimilar to the present one in China. Many matters need investigation including: the missing F&M phial, the early ordering of the timber, the increase in the orders for waterproof clothing for DEFRA and the ordering of F&M warning signs before the outbreak. Why were contractors and extra vets brought in to help, all made to sign the Official Secrets Act?

I am just old enough to have childhood memories of the last war when farmers were a respected breed who, through their skill and knowledge, produced food for the nation and kept the British population fed in troubled times.

I wonder if Britain faced another disaster and the food supplies from Europe ceased, what would be the British publics reaction? They would scream at the government for home-produced food and the politicians would look at each other in panic saying: "Weve no farms or farmers." That position may seem like a fantasy but history has a habit of repeating itself. So, my advice to Tony Blair and his cronies is: Think on.

Yes, we want a public inquiry. To hang with the cost. Whats a few £m when the Dome standing empty costs far more. Lets have the true facts and no more cover-ups.

J Grey

Newton, Tornaveen, Torphins, Banchory, Aberdeenshire.

6000 signatures on one petition

I congratulate you on enabling people to request a public inquiry into the horrific problem of foot-and-mouth. I collected more than 6000 signatures in one week and handed my petition into No 10, Downing Street on May 3.

My petition was against the mindless slaughter of healthy animals and to introduce the vaccination as advised by the Soil Association to bring the countryside back to work. Sir Michael Spicer enabled me to take my petition to Downing Street and for that I cannot praise him enough.

Campaigns still go on throughout our country set up by caring, upstanding people in our society and I wish them well. But it is time we all got together on a public inquiry to stop this outrage and carnage and make sure it never happens again. Good luck FW – I salute you.

Anne Mietke

The Woodlands, Slades Green, Longdon, Worcs.

Not over yet by a long chalk

Foot-and-mouth is not over. Ask the vets in Thirsk, North Yorks. They are worried that the cluster of cases is close to major areas of North Yorks pig production.

That raises the terrifying prospect of F&M spreading throughout Yorks, Lincs, Norfolk and other eastern counties. The virus is particularly virulent and pigs secrete it many times more than cattle. According to the vets, the need for bio-security and disinfection has never been greater. Its so important that farmers should not move about in other areas.

I just wish the crisis could be taken more seriously nationwide. Too many people think there is nothing more to worry about. And I wish they would keep the footpaths closed anywhere near cattle, sheep and pigs. It is not worth the risk.

It seems that farmers can apply to have paths temporarily diverted and seek exceptions against opening paths running through farmyards. It is also possible to have signed alternative routes around high densities of livestock used as a preventative measure where there is a great risk of spreading disease.

A message to all those affected by F&M: We have not forgotten you. Our prayers are with you.

A Vigrass

Bexwell House, Bexwell Rd, Downham Market, Norfolk.

Quality not size is lamb criterion

The comments of Northern Food chairman Lord Haskins that small hill lambs were a waste and a product that no one wants must not go unanswered.

True, there will be a massive surplus of lambs this autumn but I am concerned at the way light hill lambs are being portrayed as unmarketable. They are no more unmarketable than any other lamb if they are of good quality.

It is worrying that Lord Haskins, who heads an agricultural government think tank, should be unaware that there is a strong niche market for good quality hill lambs.

Their principal quality is eating and taste superiority; their only disadvantage is lack of size and perhaps a comparatively short season. That is why they have been discounted on the home market by the slaughter trade. It costs the same to kill a small lamb as a big one; so the cost/kg is much higher for small lambs. Eating quality and taste appears to be of little interest to the slaughter trade or the MLC.

All is not lost and thanks to the work of the Welsh lamb promotion bodies, I, as an individual have no problem marketing my pure bred Welsh Mountain male lambs through the Welsh Mountain Sheep Society/Safeway supermarket scheme. Indeed, I have received a worthwhile premium.

Smaller surplus ewe lambs are not so easy and depend on the export trade or private sales. I am not a butcher or slaughter house operator and the cost of killing, cold storage and hygiene facilities for these lambs makes it difficult to produce a cost effective marketing plan that leaves a worthwhile margin if I am to be in line with local prices.

With a producer-owned slaughter house/cold store/cutting plant with marketing facilities within a reasonable distance, things could be different and our returns significantly improved given correct management. The MLC could help us. I suggest it spends less on stressing to farmers the supposed benefits of growth rate, conformation, prolifically and more on informing the public of the eating quality and taste of lamb from the mountains.

C Evans

Lady Arbour Court, Eardisley, Herefordshire.

Gills k keenness is not shared

Ben Gills enthusiasm for the failing k (Letters, Jul 13) would be fine, but for the fact that his position as NFU president may lead the rest of the UK to believe that his views represent the majority view of British agriculture. Nothing could be further from the truth. The vast majority of British farmers are shrewd hard-headed businessmen, who know that to place the entire value of ones assets into the care of a cascading currency, whose management is based in Frankfurt, is foolhardy to say the least. To be naive enough to think that they will have the interests of British citizens at heart is idiotic.

The political rulers of the k are concerned, first and foremost, with using their enormous fiscal power to create a United States of Europe, reaching from the Urals to the Atlantic, with its heart in the centre of Europe, the recently united Berlin.

If Mr Gill had been elected to office on the basis of one man one vote, and if his election manifesto had expressed the view that the NFU should assist in the destruction of our own superb currency, the £, then he would have every right to use his position to further the case for the k. But until such a time arrives, I think it is neither fair nor proper that he should do so.

Dick Lindley

Birkwood Farm, Altofts, Normanton, West Yorks.

Pretty girls and sugar beet ads

Do sugar beet growers really choose their varieties on the basis of how pretty the girls are in the adverts?

Charlie Flindt

Manor Farm, Hinton Ampner, Alresford, Hants.

Please be wary on soil content

I was interested to read the article on soil and animal health (Livestock, June 1). The effect of molybdenum and sulphur on reducing the availability of copper in forage has been known for some time. The level of molybdenum in grass is closely related to the pH, a higher soil pH means more molybdenum in the grass and less copper available to the animal.

Thus over-liming must be avoided if the soil has a high level of molybdenum and the soil pH should be kept near to 6.0. Regular soil analysis for pH, P, K and Mg, costing about $6.50 per sample, is a good investment. Of the other nutrients mentioned, sulphur is also antagonistic to copper absorption. So if you have a copper problem, be wary about applying sulphur unless the grass is sulphur-deficient.

George Wadsworth

Fieldfare Associates, Beechwood, South Stoke Road, Woodcote, Reading.

Be grateful for speedy payment

We were interested to read D Palmers comments (Letters, Jul 6) in which he seemed to complain that he had been paid promptly for this years wool clip.

It is difficult to think of any other crop for which Mr Palmer would have been paid more quickly as he, as the majority of producers, receives his cheque within about five days of the wool going to the depot.

That is despite the cash-flow problems of the Wool Board. As a result of foot-and-mouth, we still have about 3m kg of last years wool yet to sell and are required to store all producers current wool for two months before offering it for sale.

The delay in publishing the price schedule, referred to by Mr Palmer, was also largely due to F&M and the difficulties in agreeing and implementing codes of practice and arrangements for shearing, collecting and handling this years clip.

At a time when farmers are being encouraged to form and join co-operatives to market their produce, surely it is worth considering the Wool Boards role. It sells most of the wool clip for producers within the year of production, although the greater part is harvested in three months; supplies containers; arranges collection, grading, packing and storing the wool and co-ordinates orderly marketing to ensure the best return for the growers.

Isnt this effectively a co-operative and worth producers support? How many dairy farmers would like to see the return of the MMB?

Frank Langrish

Chairman, British Wool Marketing Board, Wool House, Roysdale Way, Euroway Trading Estate, Bradford.

Urban societys poor attitude

After the devastating news of the foot-and-mouth outbreak at Clayhanger, less than 10km away, I was extremely worried when a large brown envelope arrived in the post marked "Foot-and-Mouth: Open Immediately".

Thinking it could mean my livestock were about to join the next contiguous cull, I was relieved to find it was from Somerset County Councils Public Rights of Way Department. My relief soon turned to anger when I read that it planned to open all rights of way in my area, unless I applied for special permission to keep them closed.

After 110 days of trying to keep the farm isolated and quarantined to prevent the spread of F&M, I am not the only farmer who will take this as the final insult.

The worst F&M outbreak in the world is being treated as a mere inconvenience by our increasingly urban society.

P Bashford

Stolford Farm, Brendon Hill, Watchet, Somerset.

Defending food sovereignty

European farmers will be wise to avoid pressing their hopes for future prosperity on payments for caring for the countryside, while at the same time the EU food market is thrown open to global free trade. Environmental payments may begin on the generous side, however as time passes economic pressure will wither them.

Our prime tactic should be to join the battle against global free trade. Without protection from unregulated trade, we European family farmers are doomed, and the multi-national conglomerates will mould EU agriculture to their own convenience. We are not alone; opposition to globalisation is strong, vocal and increasingly well organised, not least from the third world.

Our aim must be to house train the World Trade Organisation and make it answerable to everybody not just a pact of multi-national traders, the USA government and their various groups of hangers on.

All trading blocks like the EU must have the right to defend their food sovereignty. And to levy import tariffs on a similar basis to the 18th and 19th century corn laws.

Import tariffs were high when domestic corn prices were low and at times of shortage, tariffs were lowered. Corn law protection could apply to most EU farm products from corn to wheat and bring economic stability.

We also have to learn to farm sustainably and to respect the environment and to accept more supervision over our farming. Protected food sovereignty and a strong move to sustainable agriculture should give EU farmers a future.

Tony Surely

Grange Farm, Broxholme, Lincoln.

F&Mvideo is not practical

I have just finished watching the new DEFRA video on biosecurity and stopping the spread of foot-and-mouth disease. Frankly, I found the tone of the video patronising and most of the advice given is plain common sense.

No farmer or haulier in his or her right mind wants to be responsible for spreading this terrible disease either to their own stock or worse still to a neighbour.

What DEFRA fails to grasp is that all the biosecurity measures it suggests cost extra time and money in the form of more disinfectant, power and labour. That comes at a time when farmers in the worst affected areas are already facing huge debt.

It would have been of more practical help if DEFRA had sent each livestock holding a £25 voucher to be credited against their next purchase of disinfectant. Instead of which we get a glossy video which is little more than a public relations exercise.

Caroline Cooper

cowstead@supanet.com

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

Effective straw mixing and the ability to keep in soil moisture are the main benefits claimed for a range of cultivation and seeding tines now available from Martin Lishman. Made by Canadian manufacturer Bourgault, the tines can be specified in over 40 sizes in spoon or sweep design and range from 5cm to 40cm in width. The tines are intended for use with light, medium and heavy soils and feature Speed-Loc – a system designed to make tine removal and replacement easier. Eliminating the need for bolts, the Speed-Loc system relies on the tines to be fitted and replaced using two or three strikes of a hammer.

Bourgault says the system enables tines to remain firmly attached in a range of soil types, while an internal shoulder ensures they operate at the same depth when locked in place.

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Archive Article: 2001/07/27

27 July 2001

She was a secretary and he was a draughtsman serving in the army with firearms as his all-consuming hobby. On demob he decided to buy a shop in Honley, near Huddersfield, and start his own business as a gunsmith. "Our ambition was to make a hundred pounds a year which, considering his forces pay was 27/6d (£1.37) would mean a big leap in our fortunes," says Wendy.

The financial target was achieved and the business prospered to become highly respected in the gun trade. Classical firearms, such as Purdey, Holland & Holland, and Boss, pass through their workshop for a facelift along with antique pieces, such as Wogdons and John Daftes, dating back to the 17th century.

Andrew joined the business and now specialises in miniatures. He has won a silver medal in Houston, Texas, for a pistol in a case with all its accessories and tools. One quarter-size, it fits neatly in the palm of your hand.

&#42 Local firm

The Dysons have incorporated the local firm of William Golden, gunmaker to the late King of Prussia, into their business and for four years ran a workshop in the Royal Armouries in Leeds, where Peter was presented to the Queen. One of the finest weapons they ever made is still on permanent display there – a double-barrelled flintlock shotgun, inlaid with 24 carat gold, with chased silver plates in the butt, featuring the Armouries on one side and the Tower of London on the other.

Arms tend to survive history as the Waterloo pistol, one of a pair brought in by a colonel for restoration, proves.

Standing under the head of a huge bison, mounted on her sitting room wall, Wendy says Buffalo Bills guns havent passed through the workshop, but several guns belonging to the sharpshooters in his Wild West Show have!

Another magnificent gun the Dysons have made from the original pattern, is the Duke of Richmonds musket. It was meant to replace Brown Bess, the standard British Army weapon for 200 years, but it was scuppered on cost and never went into production.

Wendy started her gun career by cleaning weapons coming in for refurbishment. When a stockfinisher they had hired from a top London gunmarker kept doing a runner she decided "it didnt look too difficult" and started specialising in this work. "I can repair any part of a gun and make a rusty old weapon look loved again but I do like the feel of wood, especially on the old firearms. I am not very keen on the modern ones."

She also relines and refits pistol and gun cases in their distinctive original styles.

The Dyons are involved in all aspects of gunmaking and restoration. They make tools for guns, such as ebony-handled screwdrivers, and reproduce old gun trade labels. They are the only commercial firm in the world to make Whitworth bullet moulds in the traditional style.

&#42 Blow to trade

Since the Dunblane massacre, which dealt the gun trade a catastrophic blow, they have closed their shop and moved the business to the basement of their home nearby. It is where Peters great, great grandparents worked below stairs in the 19th century.

They regularly attend gun shows in Europe and America and weapons are sent to them for restoration from all over the world. Peter does a bit of shooting, but Wendy says: "When guns are your day job you want something different for relaxation. I like gardening and interior decorating."

Inquiries: www.peterdyson-gunmakers.com. Tel: 01484-661062.

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