Archive Article: 2001/08/03 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 2001/08/03

3 August 2001

Sun worshippers…T & C Shaw & Sons two Lexion 480 combines with 30ft headers tackling Escort oilseed rape at F M and Lady Rosemary Frenchs Little Offley Farm, near Hitchin, Herts. At Mike Toms farm, Middle Fell, Great Langdale in the Lakes it was time to get baling silage.

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Archive Article: 2001/08/03

3 August 2001

Top honours in FARMERS WEEKLYs Gamekeeper of the Year competition, organised in conjunction with the CLA, went to Tim Potter (centre). Tim who is keeper at Toddington Manor Farm, Toddington, Beds, received his award an engraved hip flask, cheque for £300 and Musto shooting jacket from Vincent Hedley Lewis chairman of the Game Fair local committee (right) and FW Editor Stephen Howe.

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Archive Article: 2001/08/03

3 August 2001

Winner of the 2001 farmers weekly/PBIC Wheat Grower Challenge David Hinchliffe receives his trophy from FWjudge Peter Grimshaw. Mr Hinchliffe was accompanied by his wife Rosemary (far right) and daughters Sarah (far left) and Rachel (second right), all fresh from roguing seed crops on the farms run in partnership with brother James and family at Rawcliffe Bridge, Goole, East Yorks. Also pictured are runner-up David Fuller-Shapcott, farming at Sweethope, Kelso, Borders (second left), Challenge judge Brendan OConnor of ADAS (fourth from left) and John Howie, PBICcereals product manager (third from right).

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Archive Article: 2001/08/03

3 August 2001

THIS WEEK IN FF…

Pikeys on the prowl in Herts, irrigation irritation in Cheshire, bale-bashing in the Borders and oilseed rape establishment ideas from Hereford and Worcs. Our team of Farmer Focus writers tell you how it is in their corner of the country as only they can. Turn to pages 58 & 59.

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Archive Article: 2001/08/03

3 August 2001

Game Fair celebrates true country affairs

Thank goodness for the Game Fair. What a brilliant opportunity for the countryside to celebrate the best of country pursuits and rural Britain during one of the darkest years in living memory.

Graced by hot sunshine, more than 110,000 people visited the event at Shuttleworth-Old Warden Park, Beds. Protected by strict foot-and-mouth precautions, the day helped us forget, just for a little while, how F&M has ravaged Britain.

Well done Country Land and Business Association for organising this much-needed event including switching venues at short notice. It gave country people one of their few opportunities this year to meet, relax and discuss the problems facing rural Britain at an outdoor show.

What a pity DEFRA ministers chose to snub the event. What a missed opportunity for them to learn about the countryside they claim to care for.

Sheep scab action is becoming imperative

Sheep scab outbreaks could number 5000/year. Thats a staggering statistic considering reported cases were only 200 a decade ago. Apart from the economic losses, no producer wants to witness sheep suffer this debilitating disease.

In the absence of statutory controls and a reluctance by some to use OP dips, it is vital to step up biosecurity and ensure alternative scab treatments are used correctly.

We need a co-ordinated policy to eradicate this distressing disease from our flocks. And that should include the approval of safe dispensing systems for OP dips, for those who want to use them.

Unlikely bedfellows for farming future

French farm minister Jean Glavany and German counterpart Renate Kunast make unlikely bed fellows.

He is a staunch CAP defender who stands up for French farmers. She is a Green reformist, more interested in metropolitan consumers.

But they are two of the most powerful figures in the EU farm council. So when they present a united vision of the CAP, it pays to listen. Both have seen their farm sectors hit by BSE and other food scares. Both are determined to improve the image of their industries.

Compulsory modulation is their chosen method. That means cutting direct aid and recycling it into rural development initiatives. Next years mid-term review of Agenda 2000 is the ideal opportunity to implement such change. Who would bet against it?

Varplan figures aid right variety choice

Harvest trials results are always eagerly awaited; not least to help finalise next seasons choices. So the first findings from NIAB, on winter barleys, are particularly welcome. Its independent Varplan figures show how individual varieties have fared across the regions.

Just as important, they highlight varieties where performance has strayed further than normal from the long-term mean. Some may have been particularly suited to this years unusual conditions. Others may have suffered.

So whether youre looking for a variety that could excel in abnormal weather or a consistent performer, theres something for everyone in the Varplan results.

Wheat output tribute to whole industry

Forget maximum wheat yields and concentrate on more targeted production. Although thats the fashionable view, its worth recalling the dramatic progress achieved since World War 2.

Wheat output has risen fivefold. What a tribute to all in the industry who responded so well to calls to increase self-sufficiency.

Instead of being defensive about how the goals successive governments set were met, perhaps we should be more outspoken. Breeders, agrochemists and growers should be proud to recall how they answered the call from politicians and public to boost output.

Have some fun and get straw sculpting

Theres no money in farming at present and little to laugh about. So this years NFU/FARMERS WEEKLY Straw Sculpture competition aims to provide a bit of both. Its a chance to have some fun and win £250 in prize money.

All we ask is that your bale structure is built with safety in mind and that it features the British Farm Standard tractor logo or banner to help reinforce the Buy British message.

So, if you want a chance to indulge your artistic and architectural talents, check out Farmlife.

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Archive Article: 2001/08/03

3 August 2001

Our monthly Letter from London brings

you the highs and lows of one countryman living and

working in the capital – but whose heart remains

firmly back on the farm

LIFES different in London. Theres always someone who wants your money. From the minute you get up, to the minute you go to bed, someone is continuously trying to separate you from the contents of your wallet.

Restaurateurs who leave windows open so appetising smells waft out at you; traffic wardens, hovering expectantly, the second your vehicle stops; people behind desks bombarding you with council tax bills; the man selling Londons evening paper who barks "Staaaaaaaaaandard" as you walk past. Even, it seems, the woman in Costa Coffee whos big brown eyes every morning shout at me: Buy a large latte, buy a large latte.

Im tempted to slag off the mayor, Ken Livingsone, for not doing more to cut the cost of living in London but, when you think the mayor could so easily have been Jeffrey Archer, maybe old Kens not so bad.

Someones got to sort the tube out though. Its unbearable on hot days. Like grain-carting with the tractor windows jammed shut. With someone holding their armpit in your face!

I hear in some stations passengers have been given free bottled water. Not so much a yuppie accessory, more a survival kit.

And while were on the subject of weather, it may be hot, but its still no excuse for wearing those ridiculous three-quarter length trousers. They look like theyve shrunk in the wash!

Its been bedlam in the flat meanwhile – the reason mainly being the arrival of our new flatmate, Skippy. Hes Aust-ralian and works (I use the term loosely) as a barman.

I only found out what his real name was when someone rung one evening asking for Neil. It was Skippys mum, long distance, and she sounded very distant. It reminded me that my home, though certainly not on the doorstep, isnt all that far away.

Skippy, Im glad to say, isnt any keener on next doors cat, Twinkle, than I am. "Jeeeez, that thing, its more like a rat than a cat," he said.

Not that Ive seen all that much of Skippy, having been away on holiday for a week. Going away made me a feel a bit guilty. At home, theyre gearing up for the busiest time of the year and there I was sunning myself.

Still, I suppose my brother thinks nothing of spending a morning sitting in the kitchen waiting for the rain to stop. When you work in an office you have to work whatever the weather.

Ive been in the City for more than six months but it still feels odd. And I think even if I stayed here for ever – which Im certainly not intending to do – it always would feel odd.

I feel obliged to defend the countryside – and my, our way of life – at every opportunity. Its sometimes surreal: sitting in a bar in Leicester Square arguing that all thats good about the countryside is because of – not in spite of – farmers.

I was talking to one girl in a pub last weekend and, when I told her Id love to get back to the country, she looked at me liked Id said I wanted to move to the moon. I think she felt a bit sorry for me. (Unfortunately not sorry enough to accept my invitation to dinner!)

That said, its surprising how many people in London are from the country. A lot, like me, came here for a job. And speaking of which, I suppose I ought to do some work now.

At home, the combine will be greased and fuelled up, ready to roll. The sense of anticipation, eagerness, will be almost palpable. Here, my laptop growls into life. I take up a pen, a calculator. One day, I think, I really do want to work on the land again.

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Archive Article: 2001/08/03

3 August 2001

Farmers weekly wants to say a big thank-you to everyone whos donated money and given help and support to those in need following the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

Money contributed to the emergency funds is throwing a lifeline to many families. Every penny really does make a difference. People have also rallied round to support farmers, with acts of kindness offers of support and resources.

The Falkland Islands Government has donated £5000 to the Arthur Rank Centre Addington Fund. Its intended, says the FIG, as a replacement for the contribution it usually makes to the UK agricultural community by attending summer agricultural shows. "As a farming community, Falkland islanders have enormous sympathy at this time. We are therefore very pleased to hear that the ARC-Addington Fund is making such a difference," says the FIGs UK representative Sukey Cameron.

The Blonde Cattle Society raised £350 for the ARC Addington Fund by joining forces with the Warwickshire-based Angus Sadler School of Dance. The dance evening was the brainchild of Carol Barker, who works at the Society and had been moved by the suffering farmers affected by foot-and-mouth. "The people suffering are my friends. I thought: I cant just sit here and watch this happen."

Brinsbury College, Sussex, raised £540 for the Royal Agricultural Bene-volent Institution by holding a collection at its recent Open Day. The event attracted about 1500 people. The Colleges marketing officer Paul Woodman says: "People of all ages came – and there was a lot of interest in land-based careers."

Have you or someone you know put your hand in your pocket or acted in response to the current crisis? If so, let us know.

Call 0208 652 4928 or e-mail tim.relf@rbi.co.uk

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