Archive Article: 2002/03/01 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

Mushroom composters are crying out for more straw, says Rodney Barrett, a former president of the British Hay and Straw Merchants Association. Some composters fear their supplies wont make it through to this years harvest and are appealing for farmers to sell them wheat straw, including softened side and bottom bales, for £40-50/t delivered. Contact Mr Barrett (07971-231597)

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

Royal appointment…Roy Barwick from Harmondsworth near West Drayton with his two shire horses Mac and Annie. They have been chosen to represent the farming community in an equestrian parade involving more than 2000 horses to mark the Queens Golden Jubilee. The event, All the Queens Horses, will take place at Windsor in May. When resting, the animals will wear summer sheets bearing the slogan: "NFU-representing farmers and growers".

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

Edward Cox, a leading beef cattle and sheep auctioneer from Australia, gets sales going again at Rugby Cattle Market on Monday. Just 12,000 miles from home, Mr Cox was pleased to help sell dairy stock, with a young Friesian cow making top price of £670. About 300 store cattle also went under the hammer to a lively trade, which peaked at £625 for a Belgian Blue cross steer.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

Extra-early sprays could be a rip-off

Do your cereals need an ultra-early fungicide spray this season? The answer could depend more on the desire of your adviser to sell sprays than the true need of your crops.

Admittedly, some forward, lush, early-sown, septoria-prone wheats and rhynchosporium-prone barleys could benefit from a low-cost fungicide application at growth stage T0.

But with new crop wheat worth less than £63/t next winter, many crops will not deliver a cost-effective response to such early treatment. So test your adviser to see whether his advice is driven by his product sales targets or your crop margins.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

NVZs bring pressure on slurry storages

As long as water flows through pipes, dairy producers would prefer a frosty winter morning to a wet one. Not least because it offers a rare opportunity to spread slurry, taking the pressure off storage capacity.

But new NVZ rules threaten to bring a speedy end to that practice. Many farms will find their slurry stores creaking at the seams, not helped by additional winter rain.

Theres talk of desperately needed 40% grants for installing extra slurry storage. Lets hope they are available, with relative ease, to all who need them.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

New era for patch spraying at Silsoe

Patch spraying is enjoying a new lease of life thanks to voice recognition technology.

The basics, GPS navigation and agrochemical injection, have been available for years.

Now a system has been developed to effectively map fields for weeds in preparation for patch spraying.

Silsoe Research Institutes voice-activated weed mapper comprises an ATV rider recording weeds as they are spotted. Hopefully, the information will form the basis of cost-effective and more environmentally friendly herbicide applications.

Thank goodness someone at Silsoe is speaking up for weed control.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

Fears of TB spread after test delays

Is the spread of cattle TB being overlooked? After foot-and-mouth halted testing last year this terrible disease appears to have spread.

As producers caught with reactors know to their cost, TB is an expensive disease. That is particularly true when delayed testing has allowed more animals to go undetected.

It is vital that cattle which missed routine tests are tested quickly. Just as urgent is the need to know whether TB-infected badgers are responsible for spreading the disease to cattle.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

Andrew Johnston with one of the first MRI calves to be born on his farm at Raughton Head, Cumbria. He has imported 30 MRI cattle, mostly in-calf heifers, from Holland since the end of F&M restrictions.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

Mar 2 Belgian Blue breeding cattle sale at Chelford market. Includes 35 pedigree bulls, 12 females, 105 BB cross commercials and five embryos. Frank R Marshall (01625-861122)

Mar 2 Machinery and equipment sale by instruction of CA Briggs & Sons at Crosby Le Moor Farm, Gunness, near Scunthorpe, Lincs. DDM Agriculture (01652-653669)

Mar 2 Complete dispersal sale of cattle and sheep equipment, range of implements and trailers at Hall Close Farm, Kedleston, Derby on instruction of PJ Winson. Includes 60 pedigree Holstein Freisian dairy cows, averaging 6500 litres. Eaton & Hollis (01332-349307)

Mar 5 One day sale of 300 prime and store cattle and slaughter sheep at Ashford market. Hobbs Parker (01253 502222)

Mar 5 The Western Holstein Club welcomes back buyers to its show and sale at Beeston Castle Auction. Wright Manley (01260-226560)

Mar 7 Limousin Lord of the Ring bull and female sale at Portadown, Northern Ireland. Automart (028-3833012)

Mar 7 Bishops Castle and District Quality Cattle Associations sale of 550 store cattle, including several show potentials. Halls (01588-638639)

Mar 8 Blonde DAquitaine show and sale of 86 breeding cattle at Borderway Mart, Carlisle. Includes 30 bulls and 27 females, and first portion (26 head) of Douthwaite herd dispersal. Harrison & Hetherington (01228-590490)

Mar 9 Sale of 40 working sheep dogs and young dogs at Rhiwlas Estate, Bala. Ruthin Farmers Auction Company (01824-702025)

Mar 14 High Peak Livestock Societys spring sale of store cattle at Bakewell Livestock Centre. Bagshaws (01629-812777)

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

Latest bookings for the Precision Farming 2002 event at the Newark and Notts Showground, Newark on Wed, Mar 6 include equipment suppliers Kemira, Farmworks, Agleader and CharterNav PGS. A further speaker has also been added to the seminar programme. Yorks farmer and contractor Clive Blacker will pinpoint the practical benefits of precision farming at 1.15pm. The event qualifies for three BASIS points. Tickets are £5 on the day or free via www.fusionevents.co.uk (01539-734725, fax 01539-740485).

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

Week ending: 23 Feb

Scotland England and Wales

Category Numbers Price Change Numbers Price Change

(p/kg lw) on week (p/kg lw) on week

Steers

Light (370-464kg) 25 108.53 5.86 31 75.36 4.42

Medium (465-555kg) 109 98.07 -1.59 176 87.29 9.32

Heavy (over 555kg) 261 97.41 -1.40 684 90.55 6.44

All steers 395 98.30 -1.02 891 89.38 6.87

Heifers

Light (330-399kg) 30 112.75 4.34 9 70.70

Medium (400-480kg) 141 99.75 -0.29 157 90.23 10.13

Heavy (over 480kg) 298 98.00 -1.09 506 91.73 7.68

All heifers 469 99.48 -0.76 672 91.10 8.18

Young bulls

Light (370-464kg) 2 100.50 24.80 16 85.52 0.90

Medium (465-555kg) 14 101.08 11.14 117 88.35 0.70

Heavy (over 555kg) 29 88.71 -6.13 174 89.56 2.25

All young bulls 45 93.08 2.92 307 88.89 2.00

All prime cattle 909 98.65 -0.37 1870 89.92 5.71

Old season lambs

Standard (32.1-39kg) 1,044 107.09 2.98 7,350 107.98 -1.40

Medium (39.1-45.5kg) 3,609 106.25 -3.08 13,848 107.36 -1.86

Heavy (45.6-52kg) 1,799 97.26 0.49 6,089 100.68 -1.71

Others (over 52kg) 506 86.20 -1.37 1,036 91.47 2.08

Standard Quality 4,713 106.31 -1.03 22,513 107.48 -1.76Quotation (SQQ)

Ewes (£/head)

Light 205 33.05 1.15 5,994 33.23 -9.97

Heavy 187 42.25 -10.70 2,656 41.52 -5.55

No of markets open 10 35

Source: Meat and Livestock Commission

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

Wet weather has delayed fertiliser spreading on grassland by more than a month at the Yewdall familys West Webbery Farm, Alverdiscott, north Devon. It was finally top-dressed last week with 185kg/ha (75kg/acre) of 27:10:19 compound, about 1.5 times the usual first dressing. But much of the grassland will not be top-dressed until after grazing by the 230-cow Guernsey herd. The top-dressed area is destined for an early silage cut.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

How to give farm shops a big boost

Got a farm shop? Then check out Business Boost, the new monthly series starting in Farmlife this week.

Business Boost will be packed with essential advice for everyone involved in this vibrant and fast-changing sector.

To bring you the series, FARMERS WEEKLY has teamed up with retail guru John Stanley, an expert on farm shops and PYO enterprises.

Itll contain advice on everything from practical matters to strategic business planning.

As agricultural incomes have plummeted in recent years, farm shops have become increasingly important for many people.

Business Boost starts with a look at the importance of image and how it can be improved.

Lets hope it sets the cash registers ringing.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

MANY young people on farms are worried about their parents mental health, reveals farmers weeklys Next Generation Survey.

One in seven 16-30 year-olds describe their parents as "depressed", with another 13% considering them "unhappy" in their work. Nearly 50% said they were merely "tolerating" their jobs.

The figures tally with experts suggestions that stress and anguish remain widespread in rural areas due to foot-and-mouth and arable sector problems.

"An awful lot of people are very down," says agricutural chaplain Keith Ineson. "Nobody you meet is optimistic or upbeat. Im regularly talking to people who say: I dont feel like getting up in the morning.

"The number of calls we get has fallen – but those we do get are far more urgent and far more complicated."

And Mr Ineson fears youngsters could be permanently affected by the F&M crisis and seeing the toll its taken on their parents. "For those that have gone through the culling, it will affect them for the rest of their lives."

James Morrish of the Rural Stress Information Network also reckons depression remains widespread. "If you cannot feed your animals properly and cannot give to your family what everyone would reasonably expect, you will get depressed. People are disillusioned and feel let down."

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

Disastrous to dissect the union

It is not surprising that, as your report (News, Feb 15) points out, eastern counties arable farmers are disgruntled with the state of their sector and despondent about the future. But if they imagine they can improve things by breaking up the NFU they are making a disastrous mistake.

The union has immense influence on the political situation in relation to our industry. Despite sustained efforts by the government and the unholy alliance of special interest groups and elements in the media, that influence is being maintained.

This is mainly because the NFU represents the vast majority of farmers across all sectors, which is important as the number of people involved in agriculture continues to fall. If farmers seek to destroy this unique organisation, they should accept that they would be administering the coup de grace to the industry as a whole.

Some of those mentioned in your report should look closely at their own performance before criticising others. Guy Smith has been pressed by myself, as Essex NFU chairman and others, to use his considerable talents to effect change from within the union of which he is a member. Why does he not do so?

It has been suggested Marie Skinner takes on a new public relations role. If that results in the display of foot shooting seen in the national media during her recent campaign to become NFU deputy president, heaven help us.

As to Oliver Walston, who with his infamous TV series should take much of the blame for the jaundiced view taken of arable farmers by the government, I am not overly concerned at his threat not to pay his NFU subscription. In recent months there was a strong move among his fellow East Anglian farmers to have him chucked out.

John Jolly,

Southminster Road, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex.

Praise for NFU travel cover

I award 10 out of 10 for NFUs medical travel insurance. Last month I was caught in New Zealand with a nasty skin disease called cellulitis. It brought on hallucinations, together with a high temperature. I was rushed to Rotorua Hospital and put on a drip for a week. When the disease settled down, I had a three-hour ambulance journey to Auckland Airport. Then a first class ticket with a 6ft bunk to Heathrow was followed by another ambulance journey to the farm.

All the details and payments were dealt with by NFU Insurance. Well done and many thanks.

George Scales

Scales Farms Ltd, Cobblers Pieces, Abbess Roding, Ongar, Essex.

One year to make a poster?

Great news one year after the biggest crisis in farming history. A poster has been designed for display at our airports telling passengers not to bring illegal meat, dairy products, fish and plants into the country. One year to design a poster my sons partner could have done in 10 minutes.

Margaret Thompson

1 Fen Bank, Isleham, Ely, Cambs.

£0.5bn needed to help farming

For Sir Donald Currys plan to revitalise farming to have any success, Gordon Brown has to come up with £0.5bn and theres no chance of that. Applying Swiss or New Zealand methods of cutting subsidies will not work here because they have full control of imports and exports.

Sadly, as we are in the EU, we do not. We take anybodys imports and from places where disease is rampant. Farming is fast going the same way as the fishing industry and this government could not care less.

D J Phillips

Plumtrees, Sladbrook, Staunton, Glos.

Food scares bury bad news

Big job losses have been announced recently at British Airways and British Telecom. Then, the government decides to rattle the old BSE skeleton. It seems food scares are a good way of burying bad news. Am I the only one noticing this pattern developing?

Phil Smallwood

Greenheyes Farm, Northwich Road, Stanthorne, Middlewich, Cheshire.

Organic bodies causing conflict

Why are certain organic bodies hell bent on pitting farmer against farmer? Weve had to put up with the director of the Soil Association doing all he can to besmirch the image of conventional farmers. Now the Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative OMSCO is going down the same route. Witness their Cerne Abbas Giant publicity stunt. OMSCOs marketing director lost no time implying that industrial agricultural methods and by definition pesticides, might be responsible for reducing human sperm counts.

Im sure there are plenty of ways of advertising all that is good about organic milk without having to denigrate or smear conventional dairy farmers.

I rarely hear conventional farmers slagging off organic farmers. Few see any difficulty existing alongside one another.

Lets hope that the farmer members of OMSCO realise the damage their marketing director is doing. Surely it is better to try to pull together rather than split the industry?

The Curry report makes the point that the farming industry has become disconnected. OMSCOs actions dont help the re-connection process.

George Bentley

Foresters Cottage, Isington, Nr Alton, Hants.

Well done to Prince Charles

I would just like to say well done to Prince Charles for staying in a Cumbrian farmhouse bed and breakfast recently. Therefore doing his bit to make the public aware that the countryside is definitely open for business again after the dreadful foot-and-mouth crisis last year. What a pity Mr Blair, Mrs Beckett, and Lord Whitty are too "busy" to do likewise – or are they just too cowardly to face those whose businesses they helped to ruin?

Caroline Cooper

cowstead@supanet.com

Medicine plan will be costlty

The EU bureaucrats wish to make it more expensive and difficult to maintain the health and welfare of our animals. As a pharmacist with over 30 years experience, I can confirm that Britain has stringent laws that regulate the distribution of veterinary medicines.

The Prescribed Merchant List medicines cover veterinary products such as wormers, dips, vaccines and external parasite treatments. These medicines are available from agricultural merchants who employ suitably qualified persons holding AMTRA registration, authorising them to hold and dispense such medicines. This allows most of us with pets, and farmers with livestock, access to common medicines used in the treatment of minor infections. The British Veterinary Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain endorse the current legislation and practice of distribution of veterinary medicines.

On July 18, 2001, the European Commission adopted proposals for changes in the regulation of animal medicines in the EU. Under the proposed change of Article 67, all animal medicines for farm livestock and horses would become Prescription Only Medicines. They would be available only under a veterinary prescription. That would require us to see a vet to secure a prescription for a wormer for our dogs, cats and horses. Such a visit to a vet may cost about £40 plus the cost of the wormer. Farmers would have to pay substantial new charges to vets each time they require medicines to treat their animals.

We have been buying animal medicines under professional supervision from agricultural merchants for decades. The system has worked well to protect animal health in a cost-effective way. Why should we succumb to the whims of faithless bureaucrats in Brussels who seem to have nothing better to do than to create useless legislation that interferes with well-established, successful distribution systems in Britain? If the Continentals do not have a distribution system like ours then let them adopt our system.

Bashir Khanbhai MEP (Con) Eastern region

bkhanbhai@europarl.eu.int

Dairymen – unite to fight

Once again Mr Handley and Farmers For Action should be applauded (Opinion and Business, Feb 15). Come on First Milk, Milklink, Milk Group, and Zenith, get behind the people that count – dairy farmers. Or does that not suit their private agendas? It makes no sense to let the Danes get Express, these are the people importing Danish produce to replace our own.

These are the people who now market Anchor in this country. These are the people who would soon turn to Polish milk and then take the profits back to Denmark. Why cant we wake up? The ship is sinking and Milk Link and Zenith seem impotent to stop this. But most of their top executives can change jobs more easily than we can.

Why go without a good fight? Lets get control of a large player, attract members from other co-ops, rationalise the number of chief executives, company secretaries and offices. That will also reduce the number of tankers crossing the country, all of which costs us money.

Then, it is not beyond most intelligent peoples imaginations to see that direct supplies can be attracted from other non-farmer owned companies and perhaps milk can be brokered. That would offer a farmers organisation with real size that can set prices and has the proper enthusiasm to stand up to the supermarkets. This need not be a dream, it is up to us.

Gayne Cooper

cowstead@supanet.com

Let science do our marketing

Millions of consumers worldwide, including tropical growers, commodity brokers, multi-nationals and health neurotics, will be thrilled to learn that chocolate may be an alternative to a daily aspirin as a protection against strokes.

It may well overtake the wondrous and delicious cranberry as a new runner in the health stakes. Its juice is so ably promoted and marketed by the small but ingenious American Cranberry Growers Association on the evidence of various research scientists that it can stave off the onset of senile dementia and other ailments. Another recent example was the discovery that milk from Guernseys in New Zealand had some unique advantage over that of other breeds.

When will British producer co-operatives follow this example and sponsor research to discover previously unsuspected or little known life enhancing qualities in home produced items? Items such as rhubarb or blackcurrants or gooseberries or watercress or quinces or Stilton? A scientists word might prove more sustainable than a celebrity chefs.

Incidentally, Ribena goes well with gin and a little tonic.

John Jenkin

Meads, Eastbourne, East Sussex.

Extra beet, but cant deliver it

British Sugar has introduced growers to its 20:20 Vision, and this would appear to be one of its main talking points at the forthcoming growers meetings. When would the extra beet be accepted if there was a 20% increase in yields? Presumably in April and May to keep its factories working efficiently.

In 1998 I installed an irrigation system on this light land farm, informing my fieldman of a reduction in beet area from 88ha to produce my contracted tonnes.

Suddenly, a tonnage contract with BS is changed to an area contract, but not on the official beet contract signed by both parties. September issued beet delivery permits were reduced from 145 in the previous five campaigns to 116, for a contract of 3500t in the 2000-2001 season. Despite dialogue with the factory manager, who insisted I had an area contract, no extra permits were issued until the last few weeks of the campaign.

With a change of factory manager and area manager this year, I hoped reason would prevail. But to my dismay, I was issued with one fewer permit this year – 115. The new factory manager explained in writing how my area contract relates to my permit issue.

Consequently, I had delivered just 49.6% of my contract by the end of December, and completed my issued permits on 12 Feb with 81.5% of my contract fulfilled. About 30 loads of beet remain for delivery of contract, plus "C" beet deliveries; all of those are reliant on begrudgingly issued permits.

So I dread to envisage the chaos when all growers are expected to grow 20% more tonnage on the same area yet receive no permits to deliver the beet.

B Harris

Manor Farm, Horsford, Norwich, Norfolk.

Trees offer an alternative

I was interested to see read your report about lower production in Wales (News, Jan 25) and the Talking Point (Jan 25) from James Croxon. This article relayed his experience of alternate land use with new woodlands.

There is no doubt that the small former Grade III dairy units do offer opportunities for Farm Woodland Premium Scheme development. That can either be via an introduced third party investor or the resident farmer himself. If the former, then there will often be the opportunity for the retired farmer to retain a few acres, and importantly his residence.

The granting of FWPS status and introduction of new owners is not straightforward but we have assisted clients such as Mr Croxon and achieved the excellent results for all involved that he details with such enthusiam.

These are alternatives for the small dairy farmer being squeezed out of his traditional business. We hope that further examples of South Dairy Farm in Pembrokeshire can be created in south Wales. Importantly, it also conforms to the latest indication of where government support will continue to be aimed.

Graham Heath

Tilhill Forestry Ltd, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire.

Hardwoods are prudent choice

James Croxons article (Talking Point, Jan 25) was an interesting view from one farmer who has planted a substantial area of new woodland. Mr Croxon has taken the long view and believes that careful design will offer pleasure and value and provide a wonderful habitat for wildlife.

Strangely, many farmers seem apprehensive about planting hardwoods although some will accept planting in field corners and difficult areas. Few appreciate the full potential for income, pleasure and value from planting larger areas. New hardwood plantations are sensibly funded through the Farm Woodland Premium Scheme. There are especially attractive options on offer in the National and Community Forests.

But there is the opportunity for radical thought on the value added front. New ideas and advice may be available at the National Agricultural Centre at Stoneleigh on Mar 7 (diversification in woods and forests). Farmers may well benefit from a better understanding of the opportunities ahead. Why not telephone Sue Archer (024-7685 8252).

Hugh Snell

Lulham, Madley, Hereford.

Twaddle trade, here I come…

I recently attended a breakfast meeting for arable farmers which was kindly provided by a well known agricultural merchant and shipper.

After absorbing the latest agronomic developments in chemicals and varieties, we moved on to grain marketing. At this point we could all thump our chests because we are at the leading edge of traceabilitgy and assurance – something which is becoming a tremendous advantage in the market-place.

Then the speaker produced a chart to show that assured UK grain is the second cheapest grain in the world next to (possibly radioactive) wheat from the Ukraine. Im sure we can rely on the NFU to dream up further parasitic schemes with which to beat farmers. But Im heading for diversification. With the wealth of experience I have gathered over recent years in farming, Im launching a new career as a consultant to the fastest growing industry in the western world – twaddle.

Tim Care

Lower End Farm, Bradfield-on-the-Green, Northants.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

This informal friendship club has more than 60 groups nationwide and is open to all female readers of FW. Details from Jean Howells (020-8652 4927)

CAMBRIDGE

Wed, Mar 6, 7.30pm. Meet at Cromwell House for ghost walk around Ely. Bring along husbands and children. Numbers to Christine Shephard (01954-781625).

CAMBRIDGE-PETERBOROUGH

Tue, Mar 12, 7.30pm. Meet at Ann Fletchers home, Belmont House, Newborough, for talk Using Herbs in the Home. Contact Ann (01733-810284).

CORNWALL

Mon, Mar 11, noon. Meet at Treglos Hotel, Constantine Bay for spring lunch. Contact Jane Watson-Smyth (01841-532648) or Jean Howells

(020-8652 4927).

GWENT

Tue, Mar 19, 12.30pm. Meet at the Three Salmons, Usk, for annual lunch. Menu choice and numbers to Hazel (01600-780286) or Marilyn (01600-780260) by Mar 10. Jean Howells hopes to be there.

HAMPSHIRE

Wed, Mar 20, 10.30am. Meet at Uplands Park Hotel for coffee and lunch. Talk Whatever Happened to Elegance. Cost £17.50 inclusive. Names to Ann Waltho (01962-732341) by Mar 10.

LEICESTERSHIRE

Mon, Mar 11, 2pm. Meet at Swepstone Village Hall for an illustrated talk The Tower of London and the Crown Jewels by Joe David. Contact Jean Mills (01509-880434).

MERIONETH

Mon, Mar 11, 7.30pm. Meet at Fronolau, Dolgellau, for an evening of Welsh entertainment. Contact Enid D Jones (01678-520518).

NORFOLK-SOUTH WEST

Wed, Mar 13, noon. Meet at Oak Farm, Church Road, for a charity lunch and talk Drainage of the Fens by Mr J. Clark. Contact Babs Glover (01366-500451).

NORTH COTSWOLD

Wed, Mar 20, noon for 12.30pm. Meet at Fosse Manor Hotel, Stow on the Wold, for lunch followed by talk Stress by Meryl Phillips. Cost £9.95, please note change of date and time. Contact Chris (01451-830389) or Pauline

(01608-737733) by Mar 13.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Thu, Mar 7, 11am. Visit to the Old Green Garden Centre to plan this years activities over lunch. New members welcome. Contact Eunice Holland

(028 8676-2286).

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

Tue, Mar 12, 10.30am. Meet at Hoveringham Village Hall for talk by local potter Judy Firmin followed by lunch. Contact Joyce Allwood (01159-663231).

STAFFORDSHIRE

Mon, Mar 18, noon. Meet at Amerton Farm, Stowe-by-Chartley, Stafford, for lunch and talk British Wildlife Rescue Centre by Mr A Hardy. Contact Elsie Clewley (01543-683066) or Margaret Bailye (01543-254479).

SUSSEX

Tue, Mar 5, 10.30am. Meet at Guesses Farm for coffee and programme planning. Contact Ruth Copithorne (01903-813057).

WARWICKSHIRE

Tue, Mar 12, noon for 12.30pm. Spring lunch at Falcon Hotel, Stratford upon Avon. Contact E Worrall (01926-426485).

WEST FIFE AND KINROSS

Wed, Mar 6, 7.30pm. Meet at the Halfway House Hotel, Kingseat, Dunfermline. Wear your Easter bonnet at our beetle drive. Contact Rina Stalker (01383-850777).

WEST YORKSHIRE-SKIPTON

Wed, Mar 6, 2pm. Meet at the Soroptomist Rooms, Skipton, for a talk The Day to Day Workings of Harewood House by Mr Long. Contact Rosamund Mitchell (01535-643319).

WILTS AND GLOS

Mon, Mar 11, 11.30am for noon. Meet at the Thames Head Inn, Cirencester, for lunch followed by talk and display Hunting the Hat Pin by Sue Harrison. Raffle. Names and menu choice to Edna Clark (01285-841205) by

Mar 8.

YORKSHIRE-INGLETON

Thu, Mar 7, 7.30pm. Meet at Westhouse village hall for a make-up demonstration by Gillian Dodgson. Contact Elaine Butterfield

(01524-261047).

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

Pick of the bunch… Workers at Manor Farm, Apuldram, near Fishbourne, West Sussex, have already been picking the 24ha (60 acre) daffodil crop. The flowers are ready much earlier than normal in the south-east and East Anglia, so there is an overlap in the market usually the preserve of the crop from the south-west of England.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

Precision farming can pay dividends

Precision farming often conjures up images of expensive new kit and costly computerised controls. But that could not be further from the truth.

Often this new technology can more than cover its costs quickly as visitors to the Precision Farming event at Newark Showground, Notts on Wed, March 6, will discover.

The need for even more cost-effective input use is the main reason for its uptake. Why apply inputs where they are not needed? It also helps to comply with assurance and traceability schemes.

So, why not book your ticket to benefit from this exiting opportunity?

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Archive Article: 2002/03/01

1 March 2002

EVERY business in the world plays the image game with its potential and existing customers.

Some businesses have written strategies and check their image daily, while others just let it happen.

You must remember that customers judge your image in 10 seconds. They make a subconscious decision about your business at the farm gate and as they enter your farm shop.

Your objective is to provide a friendly, professional image to your customers, so you should check these areas on a daily basis.

A negative image, whether its weeds at the farm gate, unprofessional signage, clutter or badly displayed product, will result in lower sales.

A positive image results from a well-presented entrance, clear and precise signage, clean signs and inspiring displays.

I am not suggesting a clinical supermarket-style look. Your customers want a professional farm shop retail image. They are looking to your business being the brand they need to remember.

This means you need a clear, precise company logo that is not cluttered with irrelevant signage from other suppliers or other products. Your business is the brand, not the product.

People talk about going to Sainsburys or McDonalds and when BP is talked of they have a picture of the business, not the product. You have to achieve the same, at a local level, for your business. One of the golden rules of success is a consistent visual image.

Remember, we all become blind in our own business. Thats why its worthwhile producing a basic checklist that covers the important daily issues in your farm shop.

It should include checking there is no litter at the entrance; rubbish bins are empty; and there is toilet paper in the toilet (if you have one).

At times they might seem a low priority to you, but they are a high perception priority to your customers.

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