Archive Article: 2002/07/12 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 2002/07/12

12 July 2002

With an ability to turn on a sixpence, skid-steer loaders – by definition – are unforgiving machines when it comes to tyre wear. To help remedy this problem, Michelin has developed a radial-ply tyre range for skid-steers which is claimed to last four times longer than lower cost cross-ply versions. Available in 10Rx16.5, 12Rx16.5 and 27×8.50 R15 sizes, the XZSL tyres cost up to £130 each – about £30 more than their cross-ply equivalents.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/12

12 July 2002

Rain stops play… Bob Akehurst examines his Pearl winter barley, which is two to three weeks behind due to wet weather. "Normally we would have expected to start harvest by today, but 3in of rain in the past fortnight put paid to that," he says. Mr Akehurst, who farms 200ha (500 acres) at Barham, in Kent, also has haymaking to finish, which will clash with harvest when it finally begins, he adds.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/12

12 July 2002

Day one of Wright Manleys marathon three-day sale of FARMCAREs 825-head dairy herd at the Down Ampney Estate, Latton, near Cricklade, Glos. The first day saw 275 milking cows and heifers pass under the hammer, levelling at £626.81. The top price of £1020 went to a freshly-calved second calver by Lasso that was giving 41kg. Auctioneer, Oliver Hiles, was pleased with trade and hopes it continues.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/12

12 July 2002

From seed to table:The story of Cornish King green vegetables showed hybrid seedlings through to the mature crop which is harvested by hand, packed in the field and sold to supermarkets.

Mark Speight of Childrens BBC art programme Smart with the winners of the HSEs Farm Safety Poster Competition. Eliza Harris won the four to seven-year-old category, while Tom Coles was named overall winner in this competition which attracted thousands of entries from primary schools across England. "This competition is an excellent idea," said Mark. "Not only has it inspired children to produce some brilliant artistic posters, but also it has helped them learn about the farm and how to stay safe."

DEFRA Secretary Margaret Beckett was quizzed by leaders of the Young Farmers movement at the show. Here, Richard Geldard, Paula Spiller and Neil Cameron repeat their calls for the government to adopt the European start-up scheme for young farmers. "The UK is the only European state not to have adopted the scheme," said Richard.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/12

12 July 2002

Getting rid of the leftovers… Soufflet Agriculture loaded over 4000t of feed wheat onto the MV. Sereena at Ipswich docks last week. The vessel is destined for Malaga, Spain, and will help reduce the remaining surplus of old crop wheat, says trader James Marshall. At £60/t ex-farm, the UK is competitively priced to take advantage of European harvest delays, and exports have totalled almost 300,000t since the end of May, he adds.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/12

12 July 2002

Flagging leaf? Crops of potential breadmaking wheat Xi19 from breeder Advanta have been succumbing to a mystery leaf-blotching condition across the country. Early indications suggest that agrochemical treatments and disease are not to be to blame. See Arable p45 for full report.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/12

12 July 2002

SUMMER droughts and the resulting halt to grass growth seem a distant memory with July rain keeping soils moist so far this year.

But for Dorset producer Clyde Jones cold, wet soil has reduced grass growth to 30kg/ha dry matter in the past week, from its peak of 105kg DM/ha two weeks ago. He is now hoping for a return to warmer weather to boost growth and may consider a dressing of fertiliser too. "But normally grass has gone stemmy by this time of year, currently its green and the quality is good."

On Christian Foxs organic unit in Wilts, growth is good enough to maintain supplies for grazing cows. "We have already made plenty of silage and some hay."

But in Northern Ireland, growth still needs to pick up to compensate for slow growth this spring, says Greenmount Colleges James Knox. "Overall growth is still lower than last year, with a low late May to early June peak."

Grass growth rates on Richard Johns Pembrokeshire unit are holding well at 70kg DM/ha with a little less rain than experienced elsewhere in the UK, he says. "Our growth rates have been low all year, but now swards are growing better following applications of nitrogen, phosphate and potash and after slowing the grazing rotation." &#42

Daily growth rates

Dorset 30kg DM/ha

Wilts (organic) 51kg DM/ha

Northern Ireland 58kg DM/ha

Pembrokeshire 70kg DM/ha

Cumbria 78kg DM/ha

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Archive Article: 2002/07/12

12 July 2002

Dont write off Xi19 before harvest

Speculation that potential breadmaking winter wheat Xi19 is destined for the scrapheap is premature.

Certainly the mystery leaf blotching seen in crops across the country will hit yield. But until combines roll, how widespread and how severe that yield loss may be is guesswork.

Whats more, the cause of the problem remains unclear. Co-operation between growers, agronomists and the breeder is vital to establish the facts. Only then will it become clear whether the variety is seriously flawed, compensation is due and Xi19s once promising future is indeed consigned to the scrapheap. Lets hope those prove to be unfounded fears.

Royal awards scheme sadly bites the dust

What a pity. Just when farmers need independent information to help them make important investment decisions, the Royal Agricultural Society of England is to end its machinery awards scheme.

Lack of funds is to blame. No longer will manufacturers vie for the prestigious gold and silver accolades, which marked their machinery, in the view of the judges, as being among the best in the world.

The award scheme not only provided an incentive for manufacturers to develop better machinery, it also presented them with a national shop window to promote their success.

From steam-powered threshing machines to modern combine harvesters, from land driven mowers to self-propelled forage harvesters. The scheme played an important part in promoting them all. It will be sadly missed.

Feed-lot system with stock has appeal

Beef feed-lots are a low-welfare system that wouldnt suit the UK. Or are they?

Whats wrong with keeping stock in groups, in airy pens, with access to an outdoor yard and knee deep in straw? Why would the public worry about stock kept in such conditions? Add to the picture fresh feed twice a day, dedicated staff and a stress-free handling system and even the most sceptical would find it hard to find fault.

It may not be a traditional production method, as with the byres of old, but it could help some producrers finish beef competitively to market needs.

Welcome news on breeders royalties

Plant breeders royalty payments have long proved controversial. So its good to hear of a leading companys attempt to break the mould with a pilot scheme intended to be transparent and fairer to all sides.

Its a simple idea focusing on the fact that everyone involved has a vested interest in making the most of breeders varieties. But it requires growers to accept a hefty 5.5% discount from their crop returns. How will they fare if the anticipated boost to the bottom line is thwarted by unexpected circumstances? That question will need a convincing answer before pressing ahead.

Tread organic lamb road with care

What price organic lamb? Forecasts of massive production this autumn will provide little encouragement for newly converted and converting producers.

The increase means it will be even more important for producers to do everything possible to ensure the consistent, year-round supply that supermarkets want desperately.

Its important to remember that theres good demand for organic lamb. But it is a niche market where increasingly only top quality, well marketed product can expect to find a home.

Good for the game, good for wildlife…

Whats good for game birds is also good for wildlife. Nowhere is that more evident than on a well keepered shoot.

The three finalists in our Gamekeeper of the Year Award run very different shoots on a North Yorks moor, a Midland commercial farm and a Devon stock farm. But wherever they work, habitats have been improved and wildlife diversity increased, as our Farmlife Section explains.

Each finalist shows that, with their employers backing, top class keepers can ensure conservation and shooting go hand-in-hand. All three are a credit to their profession.

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Archive Article: 2002/07/12

12 July 2002

Tractor sales continue to improve. Latest figures released by the Agricultural Engineers Association reveal that the number of tractors registered in June was 1233 units – an increase of 15.4% on the same period last year. This brings the year-to-date figure to 7358, which is an encouraging 39% increase on last year.

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