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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

HEREFORDSHIRE farmers daughter Karen Pugh has won this years NFU Mutual Travelling Scholarship.

Karen (25) from Winnal Court, Allensmore, Hereford, is leaving this month for a six-month study tour of New Zealand organised by the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs.

Currently a member of the Woolhope Young Farmers Club, Karen has been a young farmer for 10 years, having previously belonged to Allens-more YFC.

On her return, Karen will be reporting on her trip and will be available to give talks about her experiences to Young Farmers Clubs and other interested groups.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

CUMBRIA-PENRITH

Wed, May 15, 8.30am. Coach leaves Southend car park for trip to Wedgwood Pottery. Meal at Owd Nells on return journey. Contact M A Cowperthwaite

(01931-712248).

DENBIGHSHIRE

Mon, Apr 22, 7.30pm. Meet at Llysfasi College for a talk by Dr Olwen Williams, consultant at Glan Clywyd and Wrexham Hospitals, Welsh Woman of the Year 2000.

Contact Gwyneth Jones (01490-420351).

DERBYSHIRE

Tue, Apr 23, 12.30pm. Meet at Denby Pottery for lunch followed by cookery demonstration. Menu choice and names to Beryl Beardsley (01332-880175) by Apr 19.

GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Tue, Apr 16, 8pm. Talk FWAG and Conservation by Roz Wider. Contact Anne Jewell (01453 740524).

GWENT

Tue, Apr 16, 7.30pm. Meet at Llanarth Hall for friendly quiz. Please bring a plate and prize for draw. Contact Marilyn (01600-780260).

HAMPSHIRE

Wed, May 29, 11.45am. Meet at Hambledon Village Hall for coffee, tea and sandwiches. Various stalls, raffle in aid of The Rowans Hospice. Flower Harmony demonstration by Carol Edney at 2.15pm. Cost £6.50. Contact

Sue Silvester (023-9263 2707) asap.

ISLEOFWIGHT

Wed, Apr 17, 10.30am. Meet at Kathy Ablitts home. Elmsworth Farm, Porchfield, for coffee. Contact Kathy (01983-522689).

LEICESTERSHIRE

Wed, Apr 17, 2pm. Meet at 76 Brook Street, Wymeswold, for a talk The Origin and History of Playing Cards by the Rev Jeff Hopewell. Contact

Jean Mills (01509-880434).

NORTHERNIRELAND

Sat, Apr 27, 11.30am. Meet at Orritor near Cookstown for a visit to the Fish Hatchery and River School with lunch at Braeside. Contact Eunice Holland

(028-8676-2286). Jean Howells hopes to be there.

RUTLAND

Thur, Apr 18, noon for 12.30pm. Meet at Halstead Farm House for an illustrated talk Kathmandu and Nepal: A Leprosy Mission by Maureen and Michael Hawkesworth. Contact

Helen Farnsworth (01162-597601).

SCOTTISHBORDERS

Wed, Apr 17, 7.30pm. Meet at Abbey Row Centre, Kelso, for a floral

demonstration with Elizabeth Forster.

Contact Netta Harvey (01890-850227).

SOUTHYORKSHIRE

Wed, Apr 24, 10.30am. Meet at The Boat Inn, Sprotborough, near Doncaster, for a circular walk along the canal and around Sprotborough Flash Nature Reserve followed by lunch. Contact Jane Fearn (0114-246 7505).

STOURVALLEY

Thur, Apr 25, 12.30pm. Meet for lunch at Tysoe Methodist Hall followed by a visit to the Marionettes Theatre. Cost £8. Contact Jane Ridgway

(01295-680262) or Muriel Paxton (01295-680357).

WORCESTERSHIRE

Tue, Apr 23, 10.30am. Meet at Little Witley Village Hall for demonstration on hanging baskets by Cooks Nursery. Cost £4. Contact Sue Arnold

(01905-620272). Jean Howells hopes to be there.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

Steady pulse rate…vining pea drilling at Crows Hall Farm, Downham Market, Norfolk (left), is carried out by Holbeach Marsh Co-operative with military precision in almost ideal conditions. The co-operative is almost half way through drilling 4200ha (10,500 acres). Meanwhile contractor Michael Potter uses the conditions to get ahead with maize drilling on Field Farm, Appleton, Oxfordshire. Mr Potter uses an Accord 3m, four-row combination drill to carry out cultivation and drilling in a single pass.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

Potato planting moves into top gear at Messrs Falls, Mile House Farm, near Bedale, North Yorks, earlier this week. This crop of Maris Piper is being grown on contract for R & CH Potter, who sell the crop on to Morrisons and other retailers.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

Worrying wait after Viking goes under

Its been a desperate week for farmers who dealt with Viking Cereals.

No one knows how much they stand to lose after the receiver was called in last Friday. Hard facts are sparse.

Not until the receivers have sifted through mountains of paperwork will there be answers to this and other questions; such as how can such apparent financial mismanagement have happened?

Other farmer-controlled businesses should not be tarred with the same brush. Many have learned key lessons from previous disasters.

Talk to the management. Demand to see their safety measures. Read the fine print of your contract again. Check credit ratings if necessary.

Co-op trading plays a key role in UK farming. Theres every reason it should continue.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

F&Mnot only threat to UKlivestock

Hopefully, foot-and-mouth is behind us but other infectious diseases continue to threaten the UK livestock industry. The list includes Johnes disease and bovine virus diarrhoea and Maedi visna in sheep.

Since eradication is difficult and expensive, its vital to stop their spread to uninfected units.

Many producers think a closed herd is impractical despite expert advice. But how many ask for health assurances before buying in bulls and rams? Its a simple question that could save much heartache and cash.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

Cows crossing…milkers are finally out and grazing this spring at Rix Farm, Tiverton, Devon. Luckily, Michael Frankpitt can cross cows over the road this year to reach grazing paddocks, a practice that was hampered by foot-and-mouth restrictions a year ago.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

French meats riskier than banned imports

France has a well-earned reputation for ignoring the plank in its own eye while criticising others for their splinters. So a new report from Brussels identifying weaknesses in French BSE controls is no surprise.

From the failure to retain carcasses before BSE test results are known, to cross contamination with spinal cord, French consumers face more danger from eating their own beef than imported meat.

But France continues to ban British beef, demanding the UK steps up its testing of over-30-month animals, even though this meat is destined for destruction. Its another example of the French governments hypocrisy and disregard for EU law.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

Make sure youre not a powerline tragedy

Electrocution while combining is a risk not normally associated with harvesting. But many modern combines have grain tank tops that rise to a height which puts them in danger of contact with overhead power lines.

The dangers are exacerbated by hot weather when lines sag. Also electricity can arc through the dust created by a combine even without direct contact.

Remembering the UKs many miles of power lines, the scale of the threat becomes clear. So dont miss advice in our Machinery Section on how to avoid harvest tragedies.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

Sisters of mercy… Four sisters will be retracing the hoofprints of Dick Turpins horse, Black Bess, on a charity ride from Hempstead, Essex, to York. Katie Fairbank, Georgie Barrow, Emily and Alice Sanders, will saddle up on Apr 14 to help victims of the foot-and-mouth crisis. Cheques should be made payable to Dick Turpins Fund and sent to Great Dawkins, Hempstead, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 2PJ. Corporate donations can be made to RABI. So stand and deliver – please!

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

Dont cut research when times are hard

Theres no substitute for top research. Witness claims that grower-funded research administered by the Home-Grown Cereals Authority could boost wheat returns by more than £4/t, according to management companies Velcourt and Andersons.

That could put £70m in UK farmers pockets given this years wheat harvest forecast of 16m tonnes. The challenge the HGCA faces is to maintain the momentum for innovation during farmings worst recession for 80 years. When times are tough its tempting to ditch research levies.

To help reject those siren voices, growers should be shown more clearly how to implement the research they fund and some of the tempting developments that lie ahead.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

Hitting the roof…an evicted farmer in Gloucestershire has begun a hunger strike after ending a rooftop protest against a building society which repossessed his home. Martin Yarworth had vowed to stay on the roof of his former farmhouse in Newnham on Severn, Glos, to prevent it from being sold. But he had to give up the protest to look after his lambing sheep.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

GRASS growth has shifted into top gear, with some exceptional rates being reported in several areas after recent warm weather.

Producers with cows still indoors should make the most of grazing by putting them out during the day, advises Carol Doak, Northern Ireland-based independent dairy consultant.

"Even when you are nervous there will not be enough grass, get them out. But dont graze too big an area too soon. Even if the weather turns and cows are bought back, the diet change will not reduce production," she adds.

Phenomenal daily grass growth is being reported by Shropshire-based Roly Tavernor – the best for four years. "Cows have been out since mid-February and during the first rotation they grazed grass very low, leaving a cover of 1300kg DM/ha. As they start the second rotation, grass cover has risen to 2850kg DM/ha within 50 days and is top quality."

Milkers are out 24 hours and receiving 1.5kg of concentrate, which is supporting 26 litres a day, he adds.

But the recent cold nights have reduced grass growth to 36kg DM/ha on Clyde Jones Dorset-based unit. A fortnight ago daily growth rates were 45kg DM/ha, but Mr Jones is not concerned.

Cows actually went out a month late, on Mar 9, because of delays to parlour renovations and pasture cover was 2450kg DM/ha. With a stocking rate of 3.3 cows a hectare, grass is under control.

"Cover is down to 2200kg DM/ha and we have taken out a third of our 70ha for silage. We have actually had to draft stock in to keep the silage grass down," he adds. &#42


Dorset 36kg DM/ha

Pembokes 80kg DM/ha

Staffs 50kg DM/ha

N Ireland 55kg DM/ha

Cumbria 25kg DM/ha

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

Guidance on rural jobs for the taking

Good reasons lead people to choose countryside careers. It brings the chance to work in a great environment with great people in a range of varied jobs.

Yes there are disadvantages – not least the current lack of cash in farming. But many still clamour to work in land-based industries.

Farmlifes Careers in the Countryside special provides a flavour of the different jobs available and some tips on how to get into them.

Tough times always bring opportunities. Dont miss the great career opportunities out there for the taking.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

Kate Oleszko is a 21-

year-old fourth year

degree student on an

Agriculture with Animal

Science course at Harper

Adams in Shropshire

WE ARE on our month long Easter break at Harper. It gives many of us a chance to bring that bank balance back into the black – only, however, for it to be spent on more drinking and numerous trips to Rajas while on the often hazy way home.

Rajas – our local kebab and pizza shop – stays open until the early hours for all us hungry students piling out of taxis coming back to Newport from college after Wednesday nights out. Its amazing how hungry the thought of walking home can make you.

There is also the Summer Ball on Jun 28 to be saving for. Its the best night of the year here at college, 7pm to 7am, round-the-clock partying and drinking. And for those of us who make it through the night there is the survivors photo – the chance to show that you can really party!

The weekend one of our rival agricultural colleges, Seale Hayne, visit to us proved to be a great one. We won all the matches we played – rugby, football and hockey. And Im sure we showed them the way down the bar, too, in true Harper style.

St Patricks night was also a grand night this year – all a blur, with the Irish bands being as fantastic and memorable as ever. Some great gossip floating around by morning, too. Nothing like a fried breakfasts to cure your head – a case of kill or cure.

Many of us fourth years, however, have spent this Easter holiday here at college finishing our Investigational Projects as our hand-in date looms.

The May 1 date is getting ever closer. Reams of paper, piles of journals and books litter my floor along with many draft printed copies of my IP.

Statistics swirl, as results and conclusions bring our typing to a close. My typing has improved no end since I started this project.

I have also succeeded in finding out who sent me that mysterious parcel for Valentines Day – it was a friend who is in New Zealand. Thanks, but just you wait!

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

CORRECTION

INTERVET is offering a free vaccinator gun, valued at £10, with purchases of Lactovac. This gun is different from the new drenching gun for Panacur and Levacur, valued at £30, not as stated in Livestock, Mar 29 (01908-665050). &#42

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

&#8226 WHEAT bulb fly control is set for a boost next season, provided a new seed treatment insecticide from Uniroyal receives official approval in time. Trials over the past three years show cypermethrin-based UBI-6707 has consistently matched the control achieved with current standard tefluthrin, says Uniroyal product manager Mike Wenham.

&#8226 ORGANIC research has received a boost from supermarket Waitrose, through a new bursary to support students on new postgraduate programmes at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, starting this September. &#42

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

FW beats Cambridge Top 10

Thank you FW for running farmers weekly Farms and making the costings available. You will be pleased to learn that your Easton Lodge arable unit does better than Cambridge Universitys "Top 10" Mainly Cereal farms (average size 476ha).

Their total gross margin (2000 harvest), not including £105/ha non-agricultural income, but with a rent value of £132/ha, was £490/ha. Total fixed costs amounted to £408. That left a net farm income of £39,000 or £82/ha. For extra income to be accepted as farming income, it has to share either labour, machinery or land.

When you increase to 422ha, your already highly efficient team will do even better. They deserve high praise. But perhaps they have a "Weight-Watchers" advantage: Knowing your figures will be laid bare for all to see, is a powerful incentive to trim wastes and watch your vital statistics.

George Scales

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

Rural visitors cause trouble

So, its the holiday season again and the countryside is open once more. No restrictions, no more limitations on footpath use. It must be a bountiful time for one and all. So whats the score here in the Welsh hills?

So far, a horde of vehicles has traversed the farmyard; the occupants declaring there is no indication that the road was a dead end – although it is clearly marked.

Happy pet dogs enjoying their new-found freedom bound through ewe and lamb couples. They are totally unrestrained because "its lovely to see them enjoying space at last".

Perhaps the most notable reminder to us that things are back to normal occurred when our post box, placed strategically at a point along the road to preserve our biosecurity and to assist our postman on a long, rural round, was flattened. Presumably a lost tourist was unable to negotiate our less than motorway proportioned access route.

Nevertheless, we have been assured that the benefits to us of increased visitor numbers in the countryside will be bestowed on us all.

Welsh producer

Name and address supplied

Control your own predators

I write regarding the controversial subject of hunting with hounds. Muggings, murder, robbery and rape are soaring. Would it not be better if Tony Blair and Tony Banks channelled their energies into controlling the predators in their own environment and left country people to do likewise in theirs?

John R Garner

Garner & Sons, Stockenhall Farm, Wood Enderby, Boston, Lincs.

Security tough but not in UK

Your report Food imports control woeful (News, Mar 22) quoted David Paton of the Institute of Animal Health as saying: "…the threat of re-importing foot-and-mouth to the UK, as well as other diseases affecting both livestock and humans, remained high."

How many farmers weekly readers know that at the USDA Outlook Conference recently Ann Veneman (Margaret Becketts opposite number) announced an additional $500m to improve port inspection and introduce dog teams and labelling.

She went on to say: "Homeland security is the cornerstone of all policy, agricultural and elsewhere – food must be kept safe and never used as a weapon." Anyone who has passed through an American airport during the past year knows that their security was already pretty tough.

What a contrast with Britain.

Henry Fell,

Commercial Farmers Group, Church House, Horkstow, Barton on Humber.

No controls and no customs

It appears that entry controls (or the lack of them) to this country have not changed since my last letter (Apr 13, 2001), headed "Just what is customs doing?" The answer still appears to be: Nothing.

Brian Burnett

36/4 Pirniefield Bank, Edinburgh.

Who pays for his pension?

I have been attempting for some time, and without success, to discover what proportion of our NFU subscriptions go to fund Sean Rickards pension.

Having heard recently his latest suggestion that the Curry recommendations should be funded by matched confiscation (that is £2 taken off IACS for every £1 given back), I think we should not be told, and quickly.

Bob Mawle

Wood Home Farm, South Taunton, Okehampton, Devon.

Helping hand to go organic

The advice for arable farmers considering organic conversion to tread warily is pertinent for those taking such a step without seeking proper advice and fully researching the subject.

Fortunately, help is at hand. The Organic Conversion Information Service can assist a farmer considering conversion. The service is funded by DEFRA and free to the farmer. OCIS comprises one half-day on-farm visit giving background information on organic systems and an assessment of the physical and financial opportunities organic production might afford as well as the potential difficulties. That can then be followed with a one-day on-farm visit giving a more detailed appraisal of the farm enterprises and advice on conversion planning.

Anyone wishing to explore organic conversion should telephone the OCIS Organic Helpline on 0117 922 7707.

Andrew Trump

Elm Farm Research Centre, Hamstead Marshall, Near Newbury, Berks.

Are our vets spreading TB?

The Devon foot-and-mouth inquiry found that vets going from farm-to-farm may have spread the virus. Perhaps, they could be spreading TB too. An older generation knew TB or brucellosis gets into "closed herds" across inadequate fences, via hire bulls, or trips to rented grazing or even auctions or shows.

Mrs I Buxton

1 Topsham Road, Exeter.

Write letters to protect service

Successive governments, by their actions over the years have destroyed our railways. We must not let our politicians do the same to an even more essential service, our splendid Royal Mail.

If, as predicted the postal monopoly is cancelled it will never again be reinstated. Private firms, for a while, will cream off the most profitable urban sector and the whole idea of a nationwide service will fall apart, and the daily postal delivery nationwide will be gone forever.

That is surely a valid case for the use of people power. I am not suggesting we should go out and picket post offices or even Whitehall.

All of us who value our unique postal service should sit down, before it is too late, and write a letter to our local MP demanding that he/she promises to do everything that is humanly possible to prevent this from happening, enclosing a stamped addressed envelope for a reply.

The address is quite simple. Address the member by name, followed by the capitals MP, The House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.

If enough of us act now, before it is too late, our MPs will be bound to take note and act accordingly. Please write that letter now. Dont forget and regret it.

Percy Ferris

Kayes Park, Lanteglos by Fowey, Cornwall.

Agronomists shy on saving?

I read with interest David Richardsons comments (Mar 22) on the use of plant protection products and strongly agree with his point of view.

We have for over two years promoted a make of crop sprayer which is designed to spray at 30-40 litres/ha for most spray applications. It has also been proven on the Continent for more than 12 years to allow up to 50% agrochemical savings for effective control of certain pests and diseases.

But most British agronomists will not entertain the thought of advising farmers to try reduced chemical applications. Could that be because most of them are employed by the agrochemical supply companies?

In some Scandinavian countries agronomists are employed by the farmers union. Surely that would be a better arrangement for British farmers? If the NFU employed the agronomists, subscriptions would have to increase but would not agrochemical prices decrease and perhaps application recommendations would reduce leading to further input cost reductions? It might be a way of making the NFU work more directly for some of the arable farmers at present unhappy with the unions current role.

If we do not consider these new developments, are we not in danger of lagging behind the continentals and others, in producing lower cost produce? If applications of plant protection products were reduced we may get a positive response from the housewife and the government? If so, perhaps the political tightrope would be more secure?

Guy Hickman

Agrimec, Bromyard Rd, Ledbury, Herefordshire.

Good for one, bad for other

Oliver Walston (Letters, Mar 22) correctly points out that UK farmers already pay a royalty to plant breeders when saving non-GM wheat seed. He criticises an attack on Monsanto published in The Times which reported its prosecution of US farmers who have sown GM farm-saved seed without payment of royalties.

But Mr Walston overlooks an important point relating to the unique patents attached to GM seeds. These enable the prohibition of the saving of farm-grown seed and not just the levying of royalties. If that situation prevails Mr Walston will not be able to control his costs by continuing with his current practice of saving farm-grown seed, but will be forced to buy seed at the full retail price.

That fact is confirmed in a further article (News, Mar 22) concerning Du Ponts announcement of its withdrawal from the hybrid and GM wheat-breeding sector. The article states that GM crops "help protect seed prices, because farm-saving is not an option".

North American farmers are already being prosecuted by Monsanto for the existence of their patented GM DNA on land even where no such seed may have been planted. It may have arrived as result of wind borne cross-pollination or other sources of inadvertent transmission such as poorly cleaned contractors drills. The implications for the future of Mr Walstons arable business are potentially profound.

Among those most likely to benefit financially from this situation are the lawyers and land agents Mr Walston may be forced to employ to defend his existing property rights. That is good news for rural land management advisers like me, but not good news for him.

Mark Griffiths

75 Fairfield Rd, Winchester, Wilts.

CSS is forward thinking

We read with concern of the North Yorkshire County Councils tenant, Mr Ron Halls anxiety about possible dilapidation charges because of his foresight in entering his holding in a Countryside Stewardship Scheme. In Norfolk, where we manage a 8000ha (20,000 acre) tenanted estate for Norfolk County Council, we positively welcome any tenant, who wishes to enter into a CSS and would give them every assistance. We only wish most of our tenants were as forward thinking as Mr Hall.

Julian Hepburn and Andrew Crossley

Rural Estates Team, NPS, Norfolk County Council. jan.wilson.nps@norfolk.gov.uk

Educate our farm officials

I am becoming increasingly exasperated at comments made by spokespeople from the National Farmers Union and the Farmers Union of Wales with regard to vaccination issues.

There is a vaccine available for foot-and-mouth and a vaccine in the process of being developed for tuberculosis. But the farming unions seem intent on preventing the use of these treatments in livestock. Why? Surely these people realise that if humans did not receive immunisation against diseases then epidemics would prevail causing widescale death.

The only method for controlling F&M, according to the unions, is the slaughter policy. That seems an ignorant and outdated way of thinking, when for many decades vaccination has been found to be the safest and most effective way of controlling disease. It makes one question the true motives of these ridiculous policies.

With the aftermath of F&M only just subsiding, we now have the issue of tuberculosis. The bacteria which causes this disease lives in soil, and even though there has been no proven evidence to connect badgers with causing TB in cattle, we hear again the same statements from the farming unions, citing badgers as the cause.

Many officials from the farming unions need to gain an education in basic science. Then they would see the serious errors in their arguments.

Janet Hughes,

Laurels Cottage, Churchstoke, Montgomery, Powys.

Database for elderly cows

Due to the procedure of registering all cattle, we have had to register our old cow Daisy. She has been a prolific breeder of calves, although now retired. She is in excellent fettle for a Guernsey and is in her 20th year.

Many times in the past I have been asked how long do cows live? I have never had the answer. So I thought it might be an idea to write to farmers weekly and start a database for old cows.

If anyone has an old cow, send me a note including age, breed, name and other information.

Lesley Sunderland

Jasons Hill Farm, Jasons Hill, Chesham. Jacklesley@hotmail.com

At mercy of cheap imports

Recently industry leaders met at 10 Downing Street to discuss the future of UK agriculture. In December 1997 the UK pig industry stood at 805,000 breeding sows.

After the parliamentary decision to ban stalls and tethers (unique to the UK), the imposition of a BSE Tax of £5.26 on each UK pig, strong currency and ruthless buying pressure from supermarkets, it is anticipated that there will be fewer than 300,000 sows by December. The industry will not return and the country must rely on cheap, dubious imports for its future supplies.

The UK pig industry is not alone and many other sectors of UK agriculture are heading for the exit. If people think it is wise to rely on cheap imports, my reply is honey and its developing world shortage. History will judge our leaders after their meeting in Downing Street. But I suspect that they will be likened to the foolish virgins who allowed their lamps to run dry when they were most needed.

Robert Persey

Upcott Farm, Broadhembury, Honiton, Devon.

Consistently reliable meat

The livestock industry should thank Mr Leonard for his support for live animal exports (Talking Point, Mar 22). The narrow English Channel seems much more emotive than the distance travelled.

However, I must take issue with his theory that educating consumers would induce them to buy British meat. The pig industry has spent £ms developing and publicising the quality standard mark but most urban dwellers prefer not to consider the origins of their meat. They agree in principle with the idea of animal welfare but then buy on price irrespective of country of origin.

Ladies in Pigs has been talking to shoppers for 11 years. If everyone who assured us that they always buy British did so, we would not be in such difficulties now.

We have a government enthusiastic about regulations which make us uncompetitive and the absurdity of our national flag being used on products made from imported ingredients. We must offer meat of a reliably consistent eating quality, which is clearly and honestly labelled. Innovative cuts and ready meals using British meat at reasonable prices would do more to induce the shopper to buy than talk of animal welfare.

Sally Ham

Vice chairman, Ladies in Pigs, Field House Farm, Alston Sutton, Axbridge, Somerset.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

Worcestershire walking weekend

Name ……………………………………………………………………………….

Addres………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………

Tel No ……………………………………………………………………………….

I enclose a cheque for £………………………………………………………..

(Cheques made payable to FWC)

Please reserve a single/twin/double/triple room*

(* delete as applicable)

Please return to: Jean Howells, Worcestershire Walking Weekend, farmers weekly, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS no later than May 1.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

Ever wondered what a job

advert for the typical

farmer would look like?

With tongue firmly in

cheek, Tim Relf ponders

10 things it might say

1 Remuneration is competitive. Competitive in the sense that youll be earning the same as every other farmer – ie nothing.

2 The position carries a "profit reinvestment" scheme. This involves, in the unlikely event of you making any money in any one enterprise, it being reinvested in another unprofitable one.

3 We offer flexi-time. Yes, its entirely up to you how you structure your 16-hour day.

4 The post has good holiday leave. Naturally, youll work weekends, Christmas Day, New Years Day and all other bank holidays – but you can have one week off at a quiet time (although twice daily phone calls home while away are compulsory).

5 The post has a pension plan linked to your likely retirement age. This is assumed to be 82, unless you inform us to the contrary.

6 A desirable country residence is provided. Features of the bungalow include traditional-style air conditioning (ill fitting doors and draughty windows) and variable fenestration (subsidence).

7 Two vehicles – an old Land Rover and a bicycle – will be available for unlimited use by the postholder.

8 This job will allow you to enjoy working in the great outdoors. Its worth remembering that gales, snow storms, drought and floods are relatively new phenomena.

9 Job satisfaction is high. Occasionally sheep dont die and cattle have been known not to escape sometimes for days at a time!

10 This is a prestigious post, which will guarantee the respect of members of the local rural community. Its only the mass media, government and the general public who will be unappreciative of all your hard work and criticise your every move.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

FENG SHUI FOR FARMERSA study in how to achieve harmony in the

agricultural environment By Cha Lee Flindt

THE heart of any farm is the kitchen. Here is the nerve centre of the farming operation – the place where decisions are made, visitors entertained and bank managers grovelled to.

Always have an Ah Ga or Ra Burn installed in the kitchen where it will radiate warmth and good feeling. It will dry dogs, cats, wellies and lambs as well. It will supply plenty of boiling water for all those reps who still call round despite you not having bought anything since 1996. Ply them with coffee and chocolate Hob Nobs to ensure good feeling all round.

Pride of place goes to the kitchen table, the place to restore depleted energy. It should be round, strong and sturdy. It must not be afraid of dirt, toddlers food, Airfix paint and cigarette burns. It should bear these marks of family life with pride.

Windows should open to the yard (to spot those dodgy vans having a snoop round) and should give a clear view of the weather so the boss can have a cathartic moan about the rain without having to open the door.

Dont forget an old Man Kee So Fa which should live in the corner for dogs to sleep on, children to play on and cats to hide behind. The So Fa must be easy to move, so that lost toys can be retrieved and half-eaten rats removed before they get Hi and full of Ma Ghuts.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

Ive got a brand new combine arvester… The Wurzels will be playing at the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs annual convention this year. The event, which takes place on May 3-5, will see young farmers from around the country converge on Blackpool. Many members are billing the weekend as "just what we need" after the nightmare of foot-and-mouth and problems in the arable sector.

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Archive Article: 2002/04/12

12 April 2002

Join the moo-vement… Bath, Frome, Farrington Gurney and Wells & Glastonbury Young Farmers Clubs recently put these cows on display in prominent spots in an attempt to raise awareness of the movement and attract new members. "The reality of a Young Farmers Club is a far cry from the stereotypical image of wellies and tractors," said Bath chairman Emily Cottle. Membership brings the chance to get involved with sporting, social and educational events.

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