Archive Article: 2001/09/21 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 2001/09/21

21 September 2001

Autumn chores…Alan Lord (right) and Jack Bell, re-topping a wall on Alan Jenkinsons farm that runs alongside the A66 near Penrith.

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Archive Article: 2001/09/21

21 September 2001

Alan Groombridge was busy drilling Claire winter wheat for the Stelling Lodge partnership at Stelling Minnis, near Canterbury, Kent, earlier this week before 48mm of rain fell in 36 hours. Farmer John Haffenden says about one-third of his 260ha of wheat is now drilled. With a record UK wheat crop in the offing next harvest, some traders say locking in now to a forward contract that allows for price gains could pay.

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Archive Article: 2001/09/21

21 September 2001

Dont let F&Mfacts be whitewashed out

A reservoir of whitewash is being prepared. A whole lake of the stuff could be needed to paint out the truth about the origins of foot-and-mouth and the governments early handling of the crisis.

Help us put a stop to the white- wash by signing our petition for a public inquiry into the F&M crisis.

Only a public inquiry guarantees to make those responsible in MAFF and elsewhere accountable for their actions. Without it, the truth will sink without trace. See pages 6 and 21.

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Archive Article: 2001/09/21

21 September 2001

Pure British beef…David Granger, beef product development manager of Guildford-based Chitty Food Group, demonstrates different cuts of beef to a group of producers at the recent Beef 2001 event at Cirencester, Glos. Beef supplied by the group can be traced back to individual or batches of animals using their computer system. Full six-page Beef 2001 report starts on p50.

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Archive Article: 2001/09/21

21 September 2001

Glimmers of good cheer on F&Mfront

Good news has been noticeable by its absence this year. But on the subject of foot-and-mouth there have been several welcome developments.

Movement restrictions in F&M-free counties have been eased this week. Also the F&M "hot spots" in Cumbria and Northumberland seem to have been contained.

In addition, EU vets have approved the resumption of exports of frozen beef semen from October, subject to conditions.

There is still a long way to go before anything close to normality returns. But these developments raise hopes that at last the worst of the F&M crisis could be over.

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Archive Article: 2001/09/21

21 September 2001

Do livestock markets play vital trade role?

The role of livestock markets, so long held in high esteem, are now being questioned. Undeniably they have set a bottom in the market based on supply and demand. But some are now questioning their place in selling finished cattle.

When prices are below production costs, it is easy to argue that they are not serving beef producers well. Imports and supermarket buyers are blamed for keeping prices down.

But if consumers want quality assured, British-produced beef, supermarkets must realise its worth paying for.

Negotiating a price directly may give better returns. But, for those to be sustainable, producers must decide whether supermarkets can be trusted.

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Archive Article: 2001/09/21

21 September 2001

A cattle crush which can be towed on the back of a pick-up should ease movement worries for beef producers unable to move stock due to foot-and-mouth, according to Bob Ritchie of David Ritchie Implements.

Displayed at Beef 2001, the crate costs £1785 and the chassis unit £3270 (01307-462271, fax 01307-464081).

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Archive Article: 2001/09/21

21 September 2001

Spud traceability, but with confidentiality

Potato growers are rightly frustrated when buyers use the excuse of traceability to pry into their production systems. Not only is it regarded as meddling, but it also reveals production costs and helps buyers to reduce crop values.

No wonder French farmers are pleased with the launch of their new TraceNet alternative. It records full traceability information, but preserves confidentially, until problems arise.

Keeping commercially-sensitive information about costs and production systems away from buyers helps French growers safeguard a powerful negotiating position. Perhaps similar tactics are worth considering here?

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Archive Article: 2001/09/21

21 September 2001

How new project aims to hit phoma hard

Hitting phoma and light leaf spot hard in the autumn can boost oilseed rape yields by up to 1.1t/ha. Now, a new project aims to help growers do that more successfully to avoid losses of up to £60m/year.

Branded PASSWORD, it forecasts disease and pest attack so growers can fine-tune control. Backed by government, academics, commercial organisations and the HGCA, it promises much.

There is even talk that PASSWORD could become compulsory, as government looks to get every crop application justified. If so, its supporters should ensure it delivers useful information at low cost.

Meanwhile, messages from PASSWORD are emerging already to highlight the need for timely sprays this autumn to protect yield.

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Archive Article: 2001/09/21

21 September 2001

CAROLINE Clarke, a farmers wife from West Sussex, will fulfil a lifelong dream when she rides her horse, Ace of Base, at this years Horse of the Year Show.

For Caroline, horse riding has been a hobby for many years, but this will be the first time she has attended the show as a competitor. With over 150,000 riders setting out to qualify, and only 1,500 competitors at the show, qualifying is a major achievement. Whats more, Caroline prepared Ace of Base herself, beating many professional producers and riders to gain one of the coveted 29 places in the Riding Horse Championship.

Home is Pipers Farm, Coolham where she and her husband run an organic beef herd of 65 suckler cows and followers. Their meat is marketed through Waitrose and a local butchers shop.

Thrilled at qualifying for the show Caroline said: "After facing three years of difficulties, to qualify Basil (Ace of Base) means everything."

For tickets to the show (Oct 2-7 at Wembley Arena), tel: 0870 121 0125 (24hr) or 020 8795 9595.

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