Archive Article: 2002/03/22 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

Water works… Members of Axminster YFC in Devon help clear and empty the pond at Axminster Primary School – one of the many community activities Young Farmers undertake.

FOOT-and-mouth may have scuppered plans by Much Wenlock Young Farmers Clubs for an anniversary celebration last year – but the Shropshire club is now forging with its plans this year. The 61st anniversary ball takes place on Jun 8. "We would like to see as many old members there as possible – including some of those who have gone missing," says the Clubs Christine Ledbury. Details are available on 01952 750774.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

By Duncan Sinclair,

MLC chief economist

WITH foot-and-mouth behind us, we are looking for more "normality" to return to the beef market this spring.

Prime cattle supplies are set to fall again in 2002, due to F&M and the underlying decline in the beef and dairy breeding herds. If carcass weights return to their long-term trend, the MLC sees domestic production falling by a further 10% (on top of the 8% year-on-year fall seen in 2001) to just 585,000t. With consumption strengthening slightly to 935,000t, this could mean imports rising to a level of nearly 40%.

But what of the immediate spring market prospects? Stronger prices in the first two months of the year have encouraged greater numbers of cattle forward. And a shortage of straw in some areas is also bringing more stock onto the market.

Combined with the knock-on effects of F&M, this could well lead to a tighter supply situation through the spring and early summer, resulting in firmer, more stable prices.

Against this, however, must be balanced the effects of the drift to spring calving in the suckler herd, evident through BCMS figures. This will result in higher numbers of 12-14-month-old suckler bulls from the 2001 crop, and 24-month-old heifers from the previous year, coming to market in the April to June period, which may well dampen the traditional seasonal price lift.

Of more immediate concern for price prospects is the fate of the EU Special Purchase Scheme for beef – the continental equivalent of the UKs over-30-month-scheme. The 40,000t extension to this scheme has been used up and, if it isnt extended again, the EU beef market will have to absorb an extra 7000t of cow beef a week.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

Rural businessman and claimant Kevin Lamacraft, Knowle Farm, Timberscome, Minehead, Somerset, (News, Feb 15) was unavailable for comment. &#42

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

Left: Theres a good boy, even though you are a bit wet. Islwyn Jones with Don, who he sold for 900gns.

Below: What a beauty… Astra Taff, ears pricked, looks on.

Warming the cockles…a nice hot cup of tea.

In hot pursuit….Gwen, who loses no time.

Auctioneer Glyn Owens from Ruthin Farmers Auction Marts the company that runs the sales for the Bala sheep dog trials committee, took control of the hammer. There was a good trade with promising dogs in demand. Prices ranged from 105 to 925gns, levelling at £565.

Raining cats and sheepdogs…but the spectators watched intently despite the awful weather.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

Ploughing at Ash Hill Farm, Temple Sowerby, Cumbria, gets underway in preparation for drilling Static spring feed barley. Farmer Thomas Dent says he is much more optimistic than last spring when the farm was hit by foot-and-mouth, but isnt too impressed with the forward barley price which the trade puts at £58/t for November.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

Thank the Lords for hunting decision

Thank goodness for a little common sense in the Palace of Westminster. The House of Lords decision to vote by 366 to 59 in support of regulated hunting proves that countryside interests are not completely ignored.

The peers stance in favour of freedom will give country people renewed confidence in our democratic processes. Confidence is at a low ebb thanks to the governments arrogant attitude towards the countryside and farming in particular and the High Courts rejection of moves to force a public inquiry into foot-and-mouth.

The House of Lords has provided the government with vital room for manoeuvre on the vexed topic of hunting with hounds. Lets hope it uses the decision as a foundation for a new consensus that permits licensed hunting in England and Wales.

If government misses this opportunity, it should expect confrontation with the countryside the like of which has never been seen before.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

Collective pick-ups make market sense

It has taken time, but finally DEFRA has listened. At last beef finishers, breeders and calf rearers can buy cattle in markets without having to buy a whole lorry-load to make it cost-effective.

Before this week, neighbouring farmers couldnt group together cattle or calves bought in a market. Instead, even if the farms were only a few miles apart, hauliers had to make separate journeys.

Thankfully, thats no longer the rule. But farms must still be approved by vets to be eligible. More red tape, but it could be more than well worthwhile.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

Farmer Guy Thomas-Everard, Broford Farm, Dulverton, Somerset, says: "I cant afford an appeal, but if sufficient funding were available Id support one.

"The High Court ruling is a political decision and it shows the government can do what it likes. It sets a dangerous precedent. Any government, whatever the tragedy can say we will have a little inquiry behind closed doors."

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

How internet bidder turned the tables

Think outside the box. Management jargon perhaps, but that is exactly what a Suffolk farmer has done when it comes to buying inputs over the internet. Not satisfied with supplier-driven web-sites, he launched his own to turn the bidding process on its head.

So, suppliers come to him, instead of him registering with supplier web-sites. Competition between them to win his business is driving on-line prices down, without him lifting the phone or printing a single fax. That frees up valuable management time.

Such initiative brings its own rewards. Perhaps it could benefit your business too?

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

On-farm stock burial ban a barmy move

Once again, the UK is forced to comply with the barmy EU regulations. This time its the banning of on-farm burial of fallen stock for no valid reason.

Admittedly, farm incinerators are an option for larger units, but what about smaller farms?

The collection service provided by hunts hang in the balance and knackermen will be hard pushed to collect all stock.

Even if they could, theres an increased risk of disease spread from transporting deadstock around the country. Also the cost of removing worthless stock could become enormous.

Government needs urgently to help find a solution. Is anyone considering a national collection scheme or disposal options to reduce producers costs?

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

Automation can be the best alternative

Automation is not just about saving labour. It is about doing a better job. Modern potato and onion grading machines, for example, now use cameras to detect blemishes and reject those falling below acceptable standards.

Accuracy and output far exceed those using manual labour to such an extent that crops with a high percentage of damage can be sorted effectively and economically.

They can even prove the saviour of what would otherwise be sub-standard crops. Now theres an investment with a worthwhile return.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

Catch stock ailments early and cash in

Prevention is always better than cure particularly when it comes to livestock diseases.

There is no doubt that, whether it is TB or leptospirosis, stock diseases are a serious drain on profitability. Diseases can be expensive even if their impact is hidden in lower output or reduced fertility.

So lets make use of the many free tests on offer to diagnose the threat at an early stage.

What better way to protect profit and safeguard welfare?

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

Not enough potash

BEWARE the lack of potash in biosolids, says the Potash Development Association. Sludge products contain useful amounts of nitrogen and phosphate, but little or no potash, a nutrient most plant species need. Its new free leaflet Biosolids and the need for Potash gives typical biosolid nutrient contents and crop restrictions after such applications. Fax 01994-427443 or e-mail john@pda.org.uk &#42

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

Grass gone… A herd of more than 30 deer helped themselves to an early bite of grass near Tarr, Somerset. Recent wet and cold weather continues to delay turnout on many cattle units with the risk of poaching. But this doesnt deter herds of wild deer from nibbling swards meant for beef cattle later this spring.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

Correction

ZOXIUM and mancozeb are the ingredients of potato blight fungicide Electis and not as stated in last weeks Potato Agronomy Special. &#42

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

Is this potato drying system going to replace traditional sponge rollers? Pirie Systems believes its dry air system is more hygienic, more efficient and less damaging. Dry air is blown onto potatoes as they pass under a hood – the resulting moist air is returned to a dehumidifying unit which extracts the water before circulating the air back over the potatoes. Capable of being fitted to all types and makes of roller table, the Pirie system costs £10,250. * See p88 for further developments.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

Neill Price loads up the drill with sugar beet seed for JG Claydon Farm Machinery. The Newmarket based contract farming operation finished sowing its 200ha (500 acre) crop just before rain returned last Fri, Mar 15. "We didnt even start drilling until Apr 16 last year," comments Mr Price. "This year we started on Mar 6 and looking at the weather now it was the right thing to do."

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

Martin Lishmans range of ATV sprayers now includes the Mini-Spray which, says the company, performs many of the functions required of this kind of sprayer – but at an economical price. The unit has a 70 litre tank with a wide-fill lid, a hand lance and an electrically powered 3.8l/min pump, which is protected from damage by being mounted underneath the tank. The Mini-Spray can be attached to small tractors and other farm vehicles and costs £175.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

WE have students in abundance at the moment. Nicholas, (17), is on a two-year course which requires 10 two-week stints of work experience. He is working towards his CAPA (Certificat dAptitude Professionnelle Agricole). In fact it was his brother, a milk tanker driver for Graindorge, who asked Tim about Nicholas coming to us. I felt quite flattered knowing that he must visit plenty of farms on his rounds, of course I dont know if we were the first ones he asked ! Anyway, we have no regrets as Nicholas is a serious student who works hard.

Marie, (18), came to us after she and her mother accosted me in the local supermarket one day. She needed to change farms so she is coming on a similar basis for 21 weeks over two years. Then, Mr Neolait, our calf milk and mineral supplier, on one of his regular visits – always at 1.45pm just in time for coffee – asked Tim if Guillaume (16), could come; he has just finished his two weeks

training. He and Nicholas come as weekly boarders and both, I am very pleased to say, are equally at home in the kitchen as in the cow-shed, which is just as well as Im often away at mealtimes. Everyone in this house seems to do more cooking than I do in term time.

The consequence for me is that when one of our studious three is here they feed the calves morning and night, and I have to say that since Christmas I have really had an easy time of it. On the other hand, Tim went to the Paris Show for the day last Thursday, but the next day Jacques was off, part of the 35-hour scheme, he has every other Friday off, so Tim was up early to milk.

The morning did not go well, our phone and fax have been playing up and Tim wasted a lot of time on the phone trying to sort it out with France Telecom. Coming in late for lunch, he was just sitting down to eat when some lorries turned up to deliver soil and daughter Abis delicious carrot and leek soup was put on hold for a while. Coffee was interspersed by more communication from Telecom, and they finally decided to send someone round. Tim went back out to catch up on the routine jobs, and I answered a call from France Telecom, would I mind answering some questions about the service? She couldnt have chosen a better day. I told her I was sure my husband would love to give his appreciation of their service, but he was otherwise occupied just now. I explained why, she wished me good day and hung up.

Guillaume arrived at the same time as the phone repairman not being able to call, he wondered if Tim could help with some of his course work. It was then that Abi discovered dog Molly had ripped herself badly leaping over a fence. Cherry took them down to the vet for it to be stitched, but not before Abi managed to block the car seat in the most forward position, even Cherry couldnt get behind the wheel. It didnt matter – the tyre was flat.

Tim finally finished his days work, got undressed for a shower then a shout came from the kitchen: "Dad, weve got no more gas for the cooker". Happy days.

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Archive Article: 2002/03/22

22 March 2002

The new national chairman of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs is Paula Spiller. She works for the Meat and Livestock Commission and has held a raft of local and national positions since she joined Young Farmers at 15. Paula, whos getting married in September, counts clay shooting and making cuff links among her hobbies. And as for her greatest dislikes? "Birds and negative people!"

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