Archive Article: 2002/07/05 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

Wilts livestock farmers Martin and Rosie Brown accept a cheque for £1000 from Tesco red meat manager Matt Simister, as winners of the supermarkets Marvellous Meat Idea competition. The couple, who run 500 Scotch Mules and a small suckler herd at Manor Farm, Maiden Bradley, submitted the best recipe idea out of hundreds entered by producer group members – breast of lamb stuffed with brown bread, apricots, almonds and citrus fruits. As part of the prize, their product will be made by Hazelwood Foods and put into Tesco stores.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

A new nozzle designed specifically for spraying liquid fertiliser is now available from Hardi. The Quintastream has five holes, each producing a separate stream of large size droplets for plant nutrients. Benefits of the five-jet spray pattern are said to include a wider application spread than existing triple-hole nozzles, and the large droplet size is designed to aid penetration through well developed leaf canopies to carry the nutrients to soil level.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

Winner of this years farmers weekly/Nitram Fertiliser Challenge is Yorks farmer Nicholas Ward, pictured here receiving his £2000 top prize and trophy from Richard Martin of competition sponsor Terra Nitrogen. Mr Ward, of Northallerton, won the arable class and overall honours with his combination of sound economic practice, care for the environment and public awareness. Livestock class winner and overall runner-up was Mark Osman from Bracknell, Berks.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

A Royal at the Royal…the Queen presenting the Interbreed Burke Trophy during her day at the Royal Show on Wednesday (Jul 3). The award is given to the best pair of beef and dairy animals put forward from the individual breeds societies. This years winners were the Hereford (beef cattle) and the Holstein (dairy cattle). Runners up were the Charolais (beef) and Ayrshire (dairy).

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

A winning line-up…finalists and sponsors celebrate the success of Britains premier farm management competition Farm Planner of the Year, organised by the Institute of Agricultural Management in conjunction with FARMERS WEEKLY. Receiving their awards from DEFRA secretary Margaret Beckett at the Royal Show were finalists (l to r, back rows) Tom Bradshaw, Wye College; John Foulkes, Harper Adams team; Chris Tolley, Notts University; (l to r, bottom row) Sarah Machin, HAC; Vicky Fletcher, Bishop Burton; Rob Addicott, overall winner from Cannington College; and also from Bishop Burton, Andrew Betts; Rob Shepherd and Craig Lewis. Others pictured include from the sponsors, HSBCs Jonathan Day; competition host farmer Tim Butler; FW Editor Stephen Howe; I Agr Ms Tim Brigstocke and Farmplan MD Neil Unitt.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

In the picture…FWs James Evans picked up the Semex/Guild of Agricultural Journalists award for best published picture by a non-full time photographer. The photo was of a working elephant in south India and appeared in FWs Farmlife section. It was Jamess fourth success in this category since 1990 and he says the £300 prize will help him go photographically digital when he retires this autumn after 20 years in the chief sub-editors chair.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

Black Sea region is worth consideration

Grain from the Black Sea region of central and Eastern Europe has certainly made an impact on UK prices.

Weve seen large volumes of top quality, bottom priced cereals from the region thanks to the EUs decision to remove special import duty.

In fact, a growing number of British farmers are thinking of investing in the region.

To find out more about the opportunities, FW, Trade Partners UK and DEFRA are presenting an evening conference at Shuttleworth College, Beds on Thurs, July 11.

To book your place at Farming in Central and Eastern Europe and the Black Sea Region, phone Jeremy Elgin on 07860 609979 or e-mail jeremyhelgin@aol.com

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

Milk Link is shining example for all…

Dairy co-op Milk Link has wasted no time putting its money where its mouth is. A few months ago it revamped its business structure to raise capital to boost its processing capacity.

This week it announced plans to process almost half of its members milk after buying Expresss UHT portfolio and its creamery and ingredients business. Milk Link has also entered a joint venture with Expresss flavoured milk business.

Farmers need to own more processing capacity to boost returns. Milk Link has wasted no time in showing the way.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

Action needed for Royal Show success

As the gates close on another Royal Show, its tempting to draw comparisons with previous events.

Few would consider 2002 a vintage year. Compared with even two years ago, the crowds seemed thinner, the mood subdued and the prospects for the future of UK agriculture less inviting. But after the ravages of foot-and-mouth and the political uncertainty surrounding the future, thats hardly surprising.

What can show organiser the RASE do to capture and hold the attention of a rapidly changing farming industry, while still attracting the public?

Maintaining the shows technical and business content is essential for farmers and the allied industries. For the public, RASE needs to highlight the vital link between producers and consumers. It could do worse than to follow the fine example of the Northumberland Cereals exhibit in the Food Hall.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

Harvest is go… Contractor Stamford Tractors and Farm Services new 5.5m rape swather made short work of this 19ha of Royal oilseed rape on R & L Freeman & Sons 526ha Poplar Tree Farm at Baston Fen, Lincs, last weekend. Catchy weather has slowed progress since then.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

&#8226 THE Lleyn Sheep Society has added extra sales to its normal programme this year. New sales will be held at Ruthin on Sept 2, Perth on Sept 17 and Ashford on Sept 21. It will kick off its selling season at Exeter on Aug 29, with a sale at Ross on Sept 5, and finally at Carlisle on Sept 26.

&#8226 BELTEX sheep will be offered at six breed society sales this year. The breeds sale season begins at Carlisle on Aug 16, before moving to Worcester on Aug 23, Ballyclare, Northern Ireland on Sept 3, Chelford on Sept 5, Builth Wells on Sept 23 and finishing at Omagh, Ulster, on Sept 28. &#42

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

A right royal show… More than 80 producers called in to see Chris & Margaret Balls Prestwood herd of Irish Moiled cattle at the rare breeds open day at Manor House Farm, Uttoxeter, Staffs, last weekend. "Interest is growing in the dual-purpose breed, but theres only about 220 registered animals remaining. The Moiled is on the Rare Breed Survival Trusts number one priority list. I could be biased, but they are good mothers and produce exceptionally good marbled beef," says Mr Ball (front).

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

This short-combination cultivator, marketed by Terrington Machinery, is designed to be used in conjunction with a drill attached to a three-point-linkage fitted at the rear. Cultivation components comprise three rows of spring tines followed by a crumbler roller – other tine and press types can be specified to accommodate different soil types and conditions. With the drill attached a hydraulic ram lifts it clear of work and over the top of the cultivator unit to reduce the load on the tractors linkage arms – hence the short combination designation. Price of a 3m version is £4850.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

Whole-crop wheat no more second fiddle

Maize silage or whole-crop wheat? No longer is whole-crop wheat a poor substitute for maize. So, if youre a milk producer growing maize in a marginal area why not try whole-crop wheat?

Recent advances in forage harvester design, grain processing mills and urea-treatment have made the crop a more attractive proposition.

For some, it could pay to make whole-crop wheat the first choice on cows winter menus.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

Suffolk enthusiasts had the chance to secure breeding ewes early in the season when South Yorks-based breeder Don Stewart dispersed his Hollytree flock at Borderway Mart, Carlisle. Prices reached 750gns when Sandy Fraser, who runs the Santon flock at Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, claimed a Stockton Dominator ewe (above) bred out of a Bridgestone Hercules dam tracing back to Santon breeding on the female side. Overall 103 ewes levelled at £145, 53 shearlings at £151 and 59 ewe lambs at £105 (Harrison & Hetherington).

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

Rooting for success… Time-lapse digital photography in a shallow trench is giving SAC researcher Ian Bingham a good idea of how spring barley roots respond to different growth regulators. The aim is to see whether root systems can be managed to improve crops drought tolerance and how breeding might help. Lab screening suggests Route has more effect than Moddus. Results from this years HGCA-funded field test have emphasised how many fine roots can grow and then decay, highlighting the need for more work on its implications for nutrient recycling, says Dr Bingham.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

Carbon credits for min-till in USA

Fancy some cash for moving from ploughing to minimum tillage? That could be the situation if a practice already seeing widespread use in the US catches on in the UK too.

The offer could be made if the idea proves as successful on this side of the Atlantic as it is in the United States. In the US, companies pay farmers to adopt measures to help reduce carbon dioxide production. Moving from ploughing to min-till achieves that by reducing the oxidation of organic matter in the soil.

Companies use carbon credits to meet any legal obligations to reduce pollution. It is a process that benefits industry, farmers and the environment. It should be encouraged.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

Milk is good for you and it tastes great, was the message from these primary school children from Fife and Grampian who joined NFU Scotland vice president Peter Stewart (left) and president Jim Walker at the Royal Highland Show to highlight the importance of retaining the subsidised school milk scheme.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

Warning falls on deaf ears

Congratulations on an excellent editorial (Leader, June 14). You are absolutely correct when you refer to "the catastrophe which is unfolding in our countryside". You are equally correct when you observe had this happened to any other industry the politicians would now be taking drastic action. And finally you are correct again when you observe that: "Dire warnings from NFU presidents are routinely received with cynicism by government and national media".

But you fail to ask why this is the case. The reason is, I fear, because for the past generation the NFU has, like the little boy who cried "wolf" once too often, repeated its message of doom and gloom even while British agriculture was doing very nicely thank you. The 1970s and 1980s were undoubtedly the most prosperous period British farmers (or their ancestors) have ever known.

During that time it would have been prudent, not to say honest, if the NFU had at least kept quiet. But of course it did not. On the contrary, it persisted in telling everyone how impoverished the industry was.

Today, when farming really is in crisis – and maybe even in meltdown – who can honestly blame the British public – or the politicians – for not believing Agriculture House? The moral is clear: if you want people to believe you when times are bad, then the least you should do is to admit your good fortune when times are good.

But, finally, you are yet again correct when you say that sacking Ben Gill would do no good at all. He is a brave man who has inherited an impossible situation. He needs all the help he can get.

Oliver Walston

owalston@thriplow-farms.co.uk

F&M horrors resurfaced

I was caught in last weeks foot-and-mouth scare because three of my sows were in the same abattoir alongside the unmarked pigs DEFRA could not trace to their home farm. All the horrors of F&M resurfaced and still import controls are pathetic. I never want to go through another 24 hours like that again – so perhaps the only thing to do is stop farming animals.

Has nothing been learned from the last outbreak? Surely, it is essential that all animals going for slaughter are marked so as to be easily traced? Although my sows went through a market, as soon as I identified them by tags and tattoo my farm was declared F&M free. So marking pigs was beneficial to me and could have saved the worry and expense of an official vet visit.

Fred Henley

Green Farm, Seaton Ross, York. hrf1@farmersweekly.net

Challenge to DEFRA types

Is any member of DEFRA or any member of a rural affairs committee in England able to demonstrate how to: Plough, milk a cow, farrow a sow, mow, shear a sheep, build a drystone wall or complete an IACS form? Could they list farming for food production in their CV? I have studied the members list of interests to no avail.

Giles Wynne

12 Dean Street, Stewarton, Ayrshire.

Tell them whats what

Now that the season of rural shows is here may I hope that farmers and all who rely on the countryside for their living, visit DEFRA and politely but firmly put their views to the DEFRA staff.

At Cereals 2002 their stand was well adorned with what they think should be done, if visitors agree they should ask how they intend to do it. Modulation is to be matched £ for £, please ask how they really intend to give it back. Complain about the red tape, the F&M arrangements, the general financial state in the countryside and anything else that rankles. Be cynical, but constructive.

These people do listen, but are not practical people. In the main they are theorists – those who are realists must bully them into situations that are realistic and self-sustaining otherwise all will be lost.

The French know how to!

W Banks

WarwickBanks@aol.com

F&M scare was no surprise

How strange is it that there was a possible case of foot-and-mouth reported recently? Not very. I visited the DEFRA stand at the South of England Agricultural Show to enquire what biosecurity was in place at ports and airports for the returning football fans because there had been a major F&M outbreak in Korea.

I was informed that DEFRA were not responsible, it was Customs and Excises responsibility and the departments budget would not cover it. Farmers in this country are being forced out of business by regulations which ensure that they cannot compete fairly with the rest of the world. This government has no intention of protecting our livestock and the people who nurture them from the horror which we all remember vividly from a few months ago.

Other countries insist on disinfection or destruction of items considered at risk to protect their farm industries. That lack of foresight proves that Mr Blair and his party do not want farming to continue in Britain. They would prefer livestock free football pitches to cover our green and pleasant land.

G Sillars

Hill House, Swanton Street, Bredgar, Kent.

Subsidies must go and soon

I have been watching the farming scene over the past year and thinking carefully both as a small-scale shepherd, and as a consumer. The problem is that western governments and food industries have been exploiting third-world countries to import cheap food. It hasnt mattered whether that food was safe or desirable. Profit has been the watchword.

I was born in April 1939, the year in which the World War II started. We had friends nearby who were the children of farmers. Their dad was around because his was an essential occupation. They didnt have a lot but everyone mucked in.

But at the end of the war it became different. Their mum suddenly didnt get her hands dirty and even employed a cleaning lady. We kids werent welcome in her kitchen.

Why? Farm subsidies – they came rolling in and farmers changed from scraping a living like everyone else into what seemed like wealthy squires. It was the culture created by subsidies after the war that left farmers dependant on them. Subsidies became no longer a windfall, but a necessity, and so it has remained.

There has been talk of doing away with subsidies and clearly it would be painful for those who have been receiving them. But we should do away with them as soon as possible and replace them with import controls.

Farmers, like any other producers, cannot work for a price less than cost. It is unfair to expect taxpayers to continue to fund benefits to a few selected people, purely because they own larger acreages, while denying that same support to the small-scale farmers and smallholders.

Tess Nash

Venton Vean, Mawgan, Helston, Cornwall.

Conservation not destructive

Despite all the hard work that farmers are undertaking to improve the biodiversity of their land, David Richardson notes that "we continue to be criticised for our destructive habits" (May 24).

As an industry we face a significant logistical problem in overcoming that. Our conservation work is widely dispersed, hidden from view and far too often, simply misunderstood such as coppicing.

For two years, and on limited resources, we have been collecting data that demonstrates some of the conservation work that farmers are undertaking. This is displayed on our website (www.ukagriculture.com) in an anonymous but detailed way. Each example of conservation work (however small and seemingly unimportant) is illustrated with a photograph and an explanation of what was done, and why.

The data, which is drawn mainly from our local area, illustrates a massive effort by farmers. If the same level of data could be collected across the country we would have tens of thousands of examples to prove that the destructive habits of farmers had long since been replaced by a much wider care for the environment. How much that would be worth to our industry is beyond calculation.

But it cannot happen unless farmers are motivated to take a couple of photographs of their work and to write a few brief words of explanation. Each example on the site helps build a new image for our industry and challenges the misconceptions that are held about the role of agriculture in the countryside. The onus is on us all to prove the point.

David Uren

Living Countryside, Antrobus House, College Street, Petersfield, Hants.

Maris Otter is not for all

The results achieved by farms manager John Lambkin (On Our Farms, June 21) seem to endorse my comments (Letters, May 24) that Easton Lodge is not an ideal candidate for growing Maris Otter. Far from criticising his agronomy, I merely added a few pointers, gained from growing malting barley on our own farms.

Easton Lodge achieved the full premium once in three years, hardly a profitable achievement, which endorses my opinion that only the right growers on the right ground should take on the variety.

The reason the Maris Otter premium was reduced was because Maris Otter malt has to remain competitive with other options available to the brewer. As the price of malt reduced worldwide, malting barley premiums followed. Although it is suggested that demand for Maris Otter is falling, it is rising as micro brewers and regional brewers worldwide continue to lift their consumption based on high quality malt produced consistently well by UK malting barley growers. To compare one years Pearl results with three indifferent Maris Otter results is hardly a fair comparison. I stick to my point that Maris Otter will out-perform other winter malting barley, when grown correctly. Our results over the past few years prove beyond doubt that growers enjoy great success in producing the crop, and enjoy matching their production with demand to known end users who stand behind every tonne produced at the right specification. Our marketing initiatives are designed to draw growers nearer to their markets and we continue to gain support from all sides by increasing transparency and by growing the right varieties to the right specifications with the right growers. That is based on giving everybody involved the facts.

Jonathan Arnold

Robin Appel, Church Court, Clewers Hill, Waltham Chase, Hants.

Battle of the malting barleys

Farmers in East Anglia and parts of the east Midlands have been traditional malting barley growers for years. But as the demand for Maris Otter has declined and fewer people have been able to meet the specification, the move has been towards high yielding varieties such as Pearl and Regina. According to the Maltsters Association of Great Britain, the volume of Maris Otter purchased has declined by nearly 30% since 1998, a fact which speaks for itself.

As for my comparison of gross margin results between Pearl and Maris Otter I have been more than fair. The figures used (On Our Farms, June 21) compare the average yield of Maris Otter over three years at the full contract premium over feed barley – 6.13t/ha (2.48t/acre) at £102/t. With one years Pearl results – 8.67t/ha (3.5t/acre) at £73/t. I rest my case.

John Lambkin

Farms manager, Easton Lodge.

Husbandry is not to blame

I would like to respond to CC Meatyards letter (June 21). The good old days are no longer viable. Just because a farm is dirty doesnt mean that its animals arent looked after. People cannot afford to pay labourers to clean up anymore. The decline of farming has seen to that and farmers have to concentrate on the things that matter – their livelihood and their animals.

Mr Waugh was well and truly set up. Not one of his pigs at Cheale Meats in Essex was confirmed with foot-and-mouth and inspections 10 days before the nationwide confirmation, a state vet saw no sign of F&M.

Mr Waugh might have been a little in the good old days with his husbandry techniques but he certainly didnt start F&M. That has been proven mathematically by his defence in the show trial which Mr Waugh endured.

Doesnt anyone find it odd that DEFRA hasnt and wont comment at any of the enquiries?

The fact is something of a cover up is going on. The reduction of stock numbers in the UK has been on the cards for so long. And to get the EU to pay for it must have been a godsend for the government.

However, if they said it was a mistake (such as a vaccination programme test gone wrong) or a deliberate intention, and F&M had got on to the continent, the government would have been liable for the whole cost including the EU.

How much more of this will we take? We are renowned for not sticking together, as long as we do better than the man next door. And DEFRA knows it will get away with it because of the coyness of rural people.

Pride is exactly what we need, with a whole load of tractors and a big blockade. Weve tried everything else – they wont listen any other way.

Northumbria reader

Name and address supplied.

Bureaucracy spoils show

Bishops Castle Agricultural Show committee has reluctantly decided not to have livestock at this years show. Since February we have asked DEFRA by telephone and email for guidelines specifying requirements for holding our show. Eventually we received in late May no less than 80 pages of rules and regulations contained in forms and directives.

Evidently to comply we would have needed up to 30 extra stewards at the show in addition to many volunteer stewards who already give their services.

Although we had expected extra measures, we found unexpected and onerous surprises. We would have needed to appoint a biosecurity officer, and provide clothes changing and hand washing facilities within the designated animal area. Judges handling more than one breed are required to change their clothes, wash their hands and scrub their footwear when moving from one breed to another. Judging would have been made cumbersome and taken far longer.

Like all living and working in the agricultural community, the committee appreciates the need for high standards to ensure that infectious diseases and in particular foot-and-mouth disease are not spread. But the biosecurity procedures in place are so onerous as to be unworkable for an agricultural show of our size.

After the doom and gloom of 2001, we intended having a special show in this Jubilee year, but sadly thats is not to be.

We regret this further erosion of our rural traditions and way of life – an agricultural show without livestock is hardly an agricultural show. Nevertheless, we shall have our event on Sat, July 27, 2002, and will try to make it as special as possible in difficult circumstances.

Jo Bryant-Ralph and David Marpole

c/o Norman Lloyd & Co, 31 High Street, Bishops Castle, Shropshire.

Farm licence the last straw?

All farmers, particularly those of insufficient size to be able to cope with the paperwork demands of the modern business environment, must have groaned when they heard of DEFRAs proposal to create a licence to be a producer.

For many, it must seem like the supreme insult after BSE and foot-and-mouth. This could, however, be construed differently. Food production is too important to be left in a regulatory void. The kinds appropriate to the ranch-type of farm, that will produce the globalised supermarket products that will dominate in the future are not appropriate to many small suppliers. While Northern Foods or Tesco will have capacity within their businesses to accommodate change, small-scale farmers need more space to plan business strategies, which will allow some freedom from very detailed bureaucratic supervision.

If it were decided that personal licences, issued to responsible farmers, would replace most farm-specific regulatory activity, business practice might be freed from some of the mind-boggling details of the kind of control that is arriving after the BSE and foot-and-mouth scares. The provisional stage of such licences might need some evidence of appropriate training, and perhaps also, membership of some quality assurance body like the Soil Association. But for established farmers, much business practice could be freed up. Without this happening, our industry is going to disappear into the control of ignorant politicians.

Jonathan Parsons

27 Ropers Gate, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

Win a super prize & help dairy industry

Does your son or daughter enjoy art? Would they like to see their work in FARMERS WEEKLY?

If the answer Yes, check out the Childrens Art Competition in our Farmlife Section designed to complement our current School Milk Matters campaign.

Two trampolines, together worth nearly £650, are the prizes on offer. So, reach for the paint brushes, the art work can be any size or style.

What a great opportunity for children to demonstrate their artistic talents, win a great prize and help our dairy industry.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/05

5 July 2002

The £510/ha payment for sowing a Countryside Stewardship pollen and nectar-rich field mixture sounds tempting, says farmers weeklys southern barometer farmer, Simon Porter (left), here discussing CS options at Penn Croft Farms, Farnham, Surrey, with independent conservation consultant Jonathan Howe (centre) and nephew Giles. The aim is to generate a parish-wide scheme that stands a better chance of benefiting from limited government funds.

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