Archive Article: 2002/06/28 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

Speedy peas – frozen within minutes of harvest – were racing their way to Pinguins factory at Kings Lynn after vining began at CF Case & Companys Lower Farm, Harpley, Norfolk, earlier this week. Holbeach Marsh Co-operatives harvest was thrown in doubt earlier this month when Albert Fisher group, which owned the factory, went into receivership. But a last-minute deal with the Belgian processor allowed doors to open on time. Richard Fitzpatrick, general manager for the co-op, hopes 80% of the crop will be frozen by the factory.

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

Logics range of equipment for use with ATVs now include this trailed rotary mower. A cutting width of 1.2m is achieved through three belt driven blades powered from a 13hp Honda engine, which can be started and controlled from the ATV. An engine cut-out is activated should the implement become disconnected from the ATV. Cutting heights from 2cm to 20cm can be set manually and the mower can also be operated in an offset position. Price is to be announced.

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

Seeing red…Alasdair Stewart of Northwold, West Norfolk, looks over the result of a grass and wildflower mix drilled in Sept 2001. Mr Stewart farms in the Breckland Environmentally Sensitive Area and is returning 6ha (15 acres) to heathland and planted the mix with support from DEFRA and the Forestry Commission.

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

Nick Howarth from Derbyshire (right) and his wife Peggy celebrate their success in the recent "Smash the £1m Piggy Bank" promotion with Robert Smith of the Dutch Meat Board. Over 5m promotional packs of bacon were placed in UK stores in February and March, guaranteeing 20 lucky winners £1000 each and a weekend in Amsterdam. One overall winner had the chance to smash as many of 2000 piggy banks as possible in 30 seconds, one of which contained a cheque for £1m. Mr Howarth grabbed a total of £11,000.

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

Strong £ sees off AGCOtackle plant

After nearly 60 years of tractor production at Banner Lane, Coventry, US machinery giant, AGCO is to close the plant by next June. Blame lies with that killing combination of the strong £ and weak k.

About 85% of the plants output is exported, making sales vulnerable to sterlings strength. 1000 jobs will be lost. There can be no better, or rather worse, testimony of how the strong £ is crippling Britains manufacturing industry, not least the farming industry. Despite a recent fall in value, sterlings strength continues to blight export opportunities as well as cutting UK farm support payments.

Perhaps its time to think again about how adopting the k on this side of the Channel might introduce currency stability.

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

Sprayer register is really a step forward

News that farm sprayer users need to join a national register of operators qualified to apply pesticides may sound like more needless bureaucracy.

But it is the latest step in the drive to counter a swingeing pesticides tax, which could rip £125m/year off the bottom line of UK farming. It also reinforces the industrys image as being a responsible pesticides user.

Government has warned that unless pesticide use improves it reserves the right to impose a tax. So far, farmers have shown full support for the industrys voluntary initiative to counter that tax – 100% returned forms in a recent postal survey. Lets hope thats enough to keep pesticide tax plans where they belong – on the drawing board.

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

Rutland sheep producer Jim Bradshaw (left) is using a new branding initiative from the Hampshire Down Sheep Breeders Association to fetch a price premium for his lamb. The scheme will place the product in high class butchers shops with a range of promotional material, says the associations Sally Horrell. Butcher Gary Gregg, of G J Doughty butchers, Tugby, Leics, says customers are already returning for more. A producer group is planned for year-round quality supply.

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

Still scope for more farm job efficiency

Coping with less labour is crucial for UK livestock producers. There just isnt the money available to employ as many people as we would like and recruiting staff to work with stock is unlikely to become easier.

But are routine tasks being completed as efficiently as possible? Asking that question in Ireland has identified why some milk producers seem to have less time available than others and suggested new efficiencies.

Finding labour savings is never easy. But asking questions is always a good start

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

Shop around and avoid tag losses

Tag losses may seem an irritating fact of life on some farms. But having to remove cattle from yards and put them through a crush to replace tags is something over-stretched beef producers can do without.

Eventually electronic tagging will eliminate the need for large primary tags. Meanwhile, theres much some producers can do to cut the workload. A recent survey, reported in our Livestock Section, revealed significant tag retention differences between manufacturers. Primary tag losses ranged from 2% to 45% – so why not shop around?

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

WITH plenty of grass now available, Grasswatch producers main challenge is to keep grass quality high and maximise milk production as swards approach maturity.

Its the time of year when grass is trying to go to head, says Staffs-based producer Stephen Brandon. "Grass has already become stemy around dung patches and without careful management, quality will rapidly fall."

High grass quality is essential to maximise intakes and summer milk production. Spring calving cows are currently yielding 25 litres from grass alone, says Mr Brandon.

Similarly, Alan Wheatley is planning to tidy up several paddocks which were poorly grazed in wet weather earlier this year on his Pembrokeshire unit. "A light cut of big bale silage will be taken and used for over-wintering stock."

Poor grass quality is not a problem for Dorset producer Clyde Jones. Growth rates are high with covers at 2600kg DM/ha following an application of fertiliser to boost growth rates. "Normally we would be concerned with this amount of cover, but swards are lush and leafy. This makes a change from previous years."

In Cumbria, Robert Craig is hoping to graze silage aftermath, allowing some grazing areas to be closed up for second cut in mid-August. "Silage aftermath was looking poor a couple of weeks ago, but growth has now picked up." &#42

Daily growth rates

Berks 50kg DM/ha

Cumbria 1 85kg DM/ha

Cumbria 2 65kg DM/ha

Dorset 105kg DM/ha

Pembrokeshire 80-85kg DM/ha

Staffs 70kg DM/ha

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

All fired up…demand for farm "antiquities" continues apace with buyers at Rookery Farm, Rugeley, Staffs, last weekend bidding to £460 for these tidy furness bellows. Ferguson tractors and spares were also a keen trade (Bagshaws).

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

Making up lost ground… Silage contractor Willy Pierce, based at Kerswell Barton, Devon, hopes to complete first cut silage by the end of this week. This years crop is about a fortnight late for most clients, with very heavy yields of wet grass from overgrown swards, says Mr Pierce. However, it has proved tricky with trailers getting stuck in fields. Fields are wetter than they were last December, he adds.

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

CORRECTION

CONTRARY to the article on p49 of last weeks issue, only the dust formulation of Actellic has ceased production and may not be used after Aug 31, 2003.

Liquid and smoke versions are still available, but no Actellic formulation may be used as an admix with oilseed rape or linseed, says maker Syngenta.

Also, new grain treatment Silica Sec gives control of existing grain pests within 4-6 weeks and provides a long-term barrier against new infestations, provided moisture levels are controlled, says supplier Dalgety. &#42

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

CORRECTION

The Cornwall cattle electronic identification (EID) project still needs to sign more members to reach its target of 300 and has not yet reached the 170 mark stated last week. For details contact the project manager (01579-372116). &#42

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

Campaign for school milk really takes off

People everywhere are giving the thumbs-up to FWs campaign to get more milk into schools. But much remains to be done.

Some teachers are still confused about the availability and administration of free and subsidised school milk schemes. Such worries are unfounded, as those who provide milk will testify.

Its up to all of us to demonstrate that school milk is simple to provide, healthy for our kids and good for our dairy industry.

Between us, well get more milk into more school. Between us, well prove how much School Milk Matters.

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

French stewardship makes more sense

Is it time DEFRA started taking French lessons? Frances Contrat Territorial dExploitation, the equivalent of our Countryside Stewardship Scheme, pays farmers £50-60/ha (£20-24/acre) for growing a cover crop between main crops.

Mustard, phacelia, radish, rye and ryegrass are eligible options and must be sown by Sept 15. The cover may be removed by mechanical or agrochemical means from as early as Nov 15. The aim is to reduce nitrate losses and erosion, but soil structure and the following crop should benefit too.

In contrast, the UK Countryside Stewardship Scheme pays growers £40/ha (£16/acre) not to plant crops over winter. Farmers receive scant compensation while nitrogen may be lost and soil structure damaged.

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

Mike Gapes, MP for Ilford South, watches a school milk scheme in action. More than 200 kids at Gordon Infant School get a nutritious glass of break-time milk – its free of charge to under fives and offered at 50p a week to five- to seven-year-olds. Headteacher at the London school, Miss Tilley, said: "Children enjoy the social aspect of giving out and receiving milk at break-time. It helps improve their interactive skills and social manners, as pupils take it in turn to distribute the milk to the other children. It is also a nutritious way of keeping them hydrated throughout the school morning."

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Archive Article: 2002/06/28

28 June 2002

By Duncan SinclairMLC beef economist

PRIME cattle supplies were up 8% during the first five months of this year at 925,000 head, showing the extent to which last years foot-and-mouth crisis affected sales.

The effects of F&M were evident, too, in a significant change in the composition of stock traded. Up to May there has been a 16% surge in steer slaughterings, attributable to a delay in selling stores until movement restrictions were eased last autumn. In complete contrast, heifer slaughterings were down 2% as higher numbers have been retained for restocking.

At the same time, December 2001 census returns confirmed a 9%, or 430,000, year-on-year reduction in the number of cattle in the UK under two years of age. Together with relatively high levels of heifers retained for restocking, domestic prime cattle supplies could tighten over the rest of the year.

BCMS data shows passport applications during the period Jan-May down by 180,000 head on last year, primarily as a result of delays in rebreeding during spring 2001 due to F&M. Applications did show some signs of recovery in April and May and figures for later in the year will determine how severe the knock-on affects on future beef supplies will be.

The resumption in EU imports from Argentina, which were suspended for most of 2001, was one factor which contributed to a tough market over the past few months.

Between July and June each year Argentina can send 28,000t of beef to the EU. Import restrictions meant that most of this had to be squeezed into a four-month window, which put some downward pressure on domestic cattle trade.

Another factor which may also have some influence on prices is the release of beef from intervention across the EU. The first offering of 2600t from the stockpile was sold in mid-June and further volumes are expected to be released over the coming months.

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