Archive Article: 2002/08/02 - Farmers Weekly

Subscribe and save

Farmers Weekly from £133
Saving £46
In print AND tablet



Archive Article: 2002/08/02

2 August 2002

Scots breeders Jim and Andrew Gammie – reducing their Westpit herd – drew the highest bid for the 27-month-old heifer Westpit Reno at a four-herd production sale at Carlisle. By a homebred bull by Carse Impact, and with Normande breeding on both sides, she boasts a beef value of 25. Buyers were Smiths of Bloxham from Banbury, who also gave 4600gns for the heifer Wespit Rebecca – a Wintles Nero daughter with a beef value of 30.

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 2002/08/02

2 August 2002

The CLA Game Fair was spot on target

for success at Broadlands, Hants.

The sun shone, the crowds were keen

to take part in sporting tuition and

events and to watch the attractions

in the main ring. And if dogs almost

outnumbered people, they did not leave

their mark for this is one show where

everyone bins their litter responsibly.

Tessa Gates and photographer

Jonathan Page joined the throng

Above: Game chaps: Gamekeeper of the Year Gary Salmon (above centre) with joint runners-up for this FW/CLA Game Fair Award, Peter Walters and Graham Binns.

Above: Elegant handling:The Sealmaster Morgan Horse Team.

Above: Gotcha! Trespassers didnt stand a chance with this 17th century mantrap displayed on the NGO stand.

Above: John Zurick with his working clumber spaniel, Worcester.

Right: Fly tied: Fly dresser Donald Downs making mayflies.

Below: Emma Hankins from Northants galloped for charity on Animal Health Trusts Black Beauty simulator.

Above: Equine dentist Martin Walls with a skull showing the damage a couple of abscesses can do to the jaw bone.

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 2002/08/02

2 August 2002

Off to store at 13.9% moisture in Norfolk last weekend. Maurice Masons own lorry collects the first Regina barley from one of the pair of Lexion 480 combines tackling the Swaffham-based businesss 200ha (450 acre) malting crop. At 4.9t/ha (2t/acre) yield from the light land sowing was a bit less than expected, says combine driver Clive Walker. Heavier fields have done 25% more with better quality.

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 2002/08/02

2 August 2002

Dry at long last…Shorthorn cattle rest in hot humid conditions on exposed grazing in upper Teesdale, Co Durham. There is plenty of grass at Cote House Farm, but it has been too wet to cut any, says Pat Mitcalfe. In recent years, changeable weather has forced us to make less hay, so more is made into big bale silage.

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 2002/08/02

2 August 2002

Contractor Anthony Dean takes water from a stream before spraying 20ha (50 acres) of permanent pasture on the Butcher familys unit near Skipton, North Yorks. Pastures received an application of MCPA at a rate of 3.5 litres/ha (1.4 litres/acre) to control thistles and nettles, says Mr Dean. Foot-and-mouth prevented pastures from being sprayed last year, allowing weeds to thrive, he adds.

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 2002/08/02

2 August 2002

Dont forget repairs and running costs

Investment in livestock equipment usually aims to save either time or money. Hopefully, the budget completed before making the investment, will show a good return on investment before precious cash is spent. But dont forget the operating costs.

Repairs and running costs can soon add up to outweigh savings in money or time.

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 2002/08/02

2 August 2002

USAfarm support policy is hypocrisy

The US has a point. Border protection for its farmers amounts to just 12% of agricultural value, compared with 31% in the EU. And although the EU can spend up to $60bn on trade-distorting aids, the US is only allowed $19bn.

So its OK to raise support to US farmers, while asking others to cut tariffs and eliminate export subsidies, it argues.

But statistics can deceive. The US is ignoring the EUs preferential trade agreements with the worlds poorer countries. Plus the US has only 2m farmers to support, while the EU has 7m.

The truth is, the US spends far more per farmer than the EU.

Telling others they must bear the burden of market liberalisation, while almost doubling its own farm spending, is hypocritical in the extreme.

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 2002/08/02

2 August 2002

Tillage event will repay your visit

Establishing good autumn seed-beds can seem a Herculean task, even in good times. But with such poor arable margins, there are sound reasons for using as little diesel and labour as posible.

No wonder the renewed interest in minimal tillage equipment. But is the system right for your farm?

Theres an easy way to find out – come to the Tillage 2002 event. Most manufacturers will have min-till and conventional tillage kit in action to help you chose the best for your land.

Organised by the Agricultural Engineers Association, in association with FARMERS WEEKLY, Tillage 2002 takes place on Sept 12 at Manor Farm, Harlton Cambs, and Oct 8 at Wester Cash Farm, Strathmiglo, Cupar, Fife. So, why not make a date to attend an event that really covers the ground?

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 2002/08/02

2 August 2002

Lets make a bigger effort on child safety

Schools out and children want to have fun. Farms have the pull of an adventure playground for youngsters so top marks to the Powys Farm Accident Project. Its workers visited 40 schools making 3000 children aware of the dangers on farms.

In the past five years 20 children have been killed on farms. So, lets work together to keep our farms safe for children even during the busy harvest period. After all, when it comes to safety, theres no second chance.

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 2002/08/02

2 August 2002

Cow discomfort can dent profitability

Are you sitting comfortably? Do your cows have the same luxury in their winter accommodation? If not, perhaps its time for a change because poor housing can damage herd profitability.

There are many options for comfortable housing. Ever thought how comfortable your cows would be lying on a sandy beach?

So, why not offer cows a soft sandy surface this winter? But dont be surprised if it takes longer to fetch them from the shed for morning milking.

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 2002/08/02

2 August 2002

Dont neglect those spud blight sprays

When coping with harvest hassle its all too easy to let other key tasks slip. Spraying against blight is one job that potato growers can ill afford to skip.

Foliar blight may not have been particularly troublesome this season. But why risk falling at the final fence? Tuber blight, allowed to creep into crops, can wreak havoc later.

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 2002/08/02

2 August 2002


THE fax number for obtaining the HGCAs grain game CD (Arable, Jul 26) is 020-7520 3931, not as stated last week. &#42

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 2002/08/02

2 August 2002

Good sports… A snapshot of some of the participants at the recent Peterborough Education Awards. Dairy Crest, who are backing the School Milk Matters campaign in farmers weekly, sponsored the Outstanding Sporting Performance category at the event. It enabled the company to strengthen its links with the community, talk to parents and teachers about the importance of milk in schools and stress the link between milk, health and sport, according to a spokesperson.

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 2002/08/02

2 August 2002

Which man would you choose?

Here are three statements worth consideration. First, Lord Haskins at Harper Adams: "Too many people in the countryside look backwards and not forwards and the heir to the throne is a prime example of that."

Second, Prince Charles at the Royal Show: "The family farms that make up part of the intricate tapestry of our landscape are dependent on "hefted" people. Lose them and you lose an irreplaceable part of our collective memory. I pray with all my heart the farming community and all it stands for is supported, protected and cherished."

Third, Tony Blair on the current state of farming: "……….."

Which of these three men has done the most for British farming? Who has our long-term interests at heart? Whose judgment do you trust on GM crops? Think about it and make up your own mind.

Tom Rigby

Johnsons Farm, Lowton, Warrington.

How did F&M virus get here?

I keep hearing that the government has learnt the lessons of last years devastating foot-and-mouth outbreak. Although I have not seen the Anderson report, nothing I have heard on news reports identifies the real source of the outbreak. We were told recently that it started on Bobby Waughs pig farm in Northumberland. No one has said how it got there.

Is it true that Bobby Waugh has had to sign the Official Secrets Act? Why? His farm is only four miles from the Albemarle army barracks. There are reports that he was illegally taking food scraps from there and feeding them to his pigs. The army denies this allegation. It held an internal investigation, which concluded that the allegation was untrue.

Why werent independent forensic scientists from Scotland Yard used to investigate the matter? The army was feeding its troops on beef from Uruguay where foot-and-mouth is rife. This has been conveniently forgotten. Have food imports from Uruguay and Argentina been banned from the UK since the outbreak? I doubt it. Lessons learnt? Honest investigation? Rubbish. The next UK outbreak of foot-and-mouth is not far away.

L Jenkins

Clyn-yr-Ynys, Gwbert, Cardigan.

NFU leaders – its time to go

The report of the Royal Society could not have been more adamant: A massive contribution to the disaster of the foot-and-mouth disease was the authorities determined and occasionally abusive refusal to contemplate vaccination or even listen to the evidence.

In the forefront of that refusal, toeing the Whitehall party line like Soviet apparatchiks, was the leadership of the NFU.

Given the full scale of the misery, ruin and despair this policy finally visited on thousands of NFU members, that same leadership should now resign en masse. I might then consider renewing my cancelled membership.

Frederick Forsyth

c/o Bantam Books, 63 Uxbridge Road, London.

Annual audit a licence to farm

When the smoke of the battle finally clears from the European Parliament over the reform of the CAP, the scene may look different to that proposed by commissioner Fischler. But one concept that may have taken root is the idea of cross compliance, even if it is not decoupled from production.

It is right to expect farmers to adhere to animal welfare and food safety codes and good agricultural and environmental standards. But the vaguely worded additional requirement for a compulsory annual audit and inspection of all but the smallest farms should ring alarm bells. The opportunity to gold plate more legislation will not escape the attention of Whitehall. British farmers could once again be put at a disadvantage in Europe.

The stated aim of DEFRA is the ultimate removal of all support payments. If that happens, will the bargain between payments in return for delivering the environmental goods also come to an end? By that time the annual inspection may have become firmly entrenched in law and will have become a license to farm.

Rosalind Pasmore

Hatchet Gate Farm, Hatchet Green, Hale, Fordingbridge, Hants.

Cheap food has held us back

Oliver Walston wrote that farmers have cried wolf too often (Letters, July 5). Perhaps the NFUs message of doom and gloom was not appropriate to him. But it was to some farmers, and was definitely so for the industry.

Governments of both colours impeded the progress of the industry in any way possible on the altar of cheap food. By manipulating currency arrangements with Europe, by using monopoly legislation and any other means possible, governments denied the industry the possibility of progressing forward.

The Milk Marketing Board was a prime example of the way in which our own market-place has been gifted to Anchor Butter, Danish Bacon and others.

Of course, some farmers may have appeared to have it good. Like Mr Walston, they were living off capital. The history of Thriplow Farms is similar to many other farms I knew on my travels around the countryside. First, the sheep went, then the cows, then the pigs, even mothers few laying hens.

That may have been applauded as efficient, nevertheless it was a diminution of capital on the farm. Some even sold land or even leased it back. The reduction of various enterprises also took with it the possibility of added value.

Yes, Mr Walston, we are almost in meltdown. We have become commodity producers, caught like a rat in a trap. Not everyone has a large reserve of capital which made them unable to see what was happening to British agriculture.

Jack Caley

Grange Farm, East Newton, Aldbrough, Hull.

Freedom Food checks do work

I would like to respond to the "Conference RSPCA issues" letter (July 12) from Robert Persey.

Our standard Freedom Food traceability checks uncovered the mislabelled chicken, which is exactly what they were designed to do.

As soon as the error was discovered, Freedom Food notified Tesco and Moy Park and the products were immediately removed. Freedom Food has been assured that the supplier will not use the Freedom Food trademark in future, until or unless the producer farms have been approved to the scheme.

Freedom Food has everything in place to ensure, through the supply chain from producer to retailer, that products are on the inside what they are labelled as on the outside. That is reared, transported and slaughtered in accordance with stringent welfare standards devised and monitored by the RSPCA.

Readers should be reassured that Freedom Food takes seriously its responsibility for giving consumers what they expect when buying a Freedom Food product. Random traceability checks are carried out to maintain this confidence and to ensure that animal welfare standards are adhered to from farm to shelf.

The RSPCA did not prosecute on this occasion and no further action was taken with Trading Standards, as the incident did not involve an issue of animal welfare. Unfortunately, a representative from Freedom Food was not available to discuss this matter at the recent AGM. But senior members of Freedom Food would be happy to discuss any concerns that Robert Persey may have at a time of his convenience.

Mike Sharpe

Chief executive, Freedom Foods Ltd, Freedom Food, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex.

Fox marksman idea off target

The child who was bitten by an urban fox and his family has my every sympathy. But in reply to John Fitzgeralds letter (July 12), I have some questions.

What evidence does he have that "hunting clubs" exist and if they do, what evidence that they "seek to exploit the fear and hysteria aroused by a childs harrowing ordeal" by releasing fox cubs near urban areas?

He feels that "a single, clean shot from a high-powered rifle will dispatch a fox in seconds". I wholly agree with him. But by what method does he propose this quick dispatch? Is a sharpshooter to sit out all night in the idle fancy that a fox, urban or otherwise, may trot out and wink at him? Who is to pay for the marksmans efforts?

Trelawny Wylie

Trevenning Farm, Michaelstow, St Tudy, Bodmin, Cornwall.

Attack was not hunts fault

I wish to reply to J Fitzgerald (Letters, July 12) about fox hunting. How can anybody possibly blame the hunt of theoretically stocking areas with foxes and an urban fox supposedly attempting to cart off a child? I believe the police are not convinced of this tale.

As for shooting being the most human method of culling foxes, I wish to differ. Can anyone guarantee a clean shot every time? No, is the answer. A wounded fox, or any animal, lingers on to a slow death. This is cruel, unlike a fox that is instantly dispatched by hounds.

I hope J Fitzgerald is not a supporter of National Hunt racing that is much loved in Ireland. If he is, then he will be in for a shock when it is no longer, as a result of a hunt ban.

G Macdowel

31 Preston Lane, Lyneham, Chippenham, Wilts.

Science backs badger lobby

Just as the public has learned to treat the medical profession with caution, so farmers would be wise not to take the veterinarians advice for granted. The National Federation of Badger Groups has an excellent working relationship with many open-minded and progressive vets with a sound grasp of the complexities of farm animal diseases. DJBDenny (Letters, June 14) is not one of them. His assertion that we have an inordinate amount of influence over those with power is generous. However attention has diverted from badgers to cattle in the bovine TBdebate through science not spin. Mr Denny needs to catch up with the science.

He appears to reject scientific opinion when it does not correspond with his views.

In his submission to the Burns Inquiry on Hunting with Dogs, he accuses respected scientists of being liars. Yet he admits that his own scientific report submitted for peer review was rejected due to "insufficient samples".

Mr Denny accuses us of using "diversionary tactics" when we p;oint out the new and incontrovertible evidence demonstrating the critical role of cattle-to-cattle transmission in spreading bovine TB. Farmers should note that Mr Denny makes no attempt to challenge this new scientific evidence. He simply chooses to ignore it. This is the real diversionary tactic and as such has prevented farmers from securing a solution to bovine TBfor over 30 years.

Dr Elaine King

Chief executive, National Federation of Badger

Reldan is easy to get hold of

In an otherwise excellent recent article on grain store preparation (Arable, June 7) Mike Kelly said: "Reldan appears to be hardly available."

The reality is that Reldan is actually widely available throughout the UK via many distributors and we are currently busy meeting demand. If any growers have trouble sourcing the product please phone 01354-741414 and we will ensure supply.

John Martin

Managing Director, Interfarm (UK), Kinghams Place, 36 Newgate Street, Doddington, Cambs.

Maps do not match the land

Further to Charlie Flindts well-made point regarding the discrepancy between acreages calculated from above and those measured on sloping ground, (Talking Point, July 19). This has always been the case.

Ordnance Survey maps show field boundaries orthogonally – viewed from above each point along the boundary. Consequently the area derived from the map is always less than the actual land area and always has been. A further complication arises when projection scale factor is taken into account. The ground equivalent of 100 yards scaled from the map varies according to where you happen to be in the country. That is because the Universal Transverse Mercator projection scale factor varies with distance from the two standard parallels, which is the only place where true to scale measurements can be taken.

I doubt if any of these points will be used to the farmers advantage.

Ray Beels

Ray Beels Associates, Chartered Land Surveyors, Sailors Bethel, Horatio Street, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Live exports cost support

Compassion in World Farming is dismayed that live sheep exports have restarted. Many of the animals are being sent to southern Europe on journeys that can last 50 hours or more. The animals suffer immensely on such long journeys.

By resuming live exports, the farming community risks losing the public support that it so much needs. Most of the public and many MPs and vets deeply oppose this cruel trade.

I believe there is an economically sustainable future for sheep farmers without live exports. Vigorous marketing on the Continent should lead to an increase in meat exports. Also, British consumers must be persuaded to stop buying imported lamb and instead to buy British. UK supermarkets must be pressed to market the light lambs – and to pay farmers a fair price for them.

Peter Stevenson

Political and legal director, Compassion in World Farming, Charles House, 5A Charles Street, Petersfield, Hants.

Dont neglect seed treatment

I am surprised and alarmed that Andy Wells of ADAS should advise farmers intending to save their own seed that they should drill seed taken straight off the combine (Arable, July 12).

I have never seen a sample of grain off any combine which compares with professionally processed seed. You only have to examine the screenings from a mobile seed processing unit to appreciate the amount of weed seed, damaged grain and other debris which the best combine sample includes. Increasing the airflow may help to remove light particles, but it will not remove many weed seeds, ergot and broken grains. Nor will it gravity separate the sample to ensure that only the heaviest and best quality grain goes forward for drilling.

So far as cost saving is concerned, there is a genuine saving of at least £30-50/t on professionally produced seed using a mobile seed cleaner compared with buying C2 seed. If there were not such savings, I dont suppose that nearly half of all the seed expected to be drilled this season in East Anglia would be farm-saved and processed through a mobile seed processing unit.

Mr Wells suggests that if the parent crop was seed treated, then it is unlikely a treatment is needed. If he is correct and the seed multipliers agreed, they would have treated C1 seed and sold C2 untreated making it more competitive years ago.

The fact is that seed treating the parent crop will have no effect on seed-borne fusarium or soil-borne bunt or fusarium. Furthermore, we know that given the high levels of disease in 2002, this is not the year to avoid a seed treatment.

Bill Eaton

Chairman NAAC Mobile Seed Processing Unit, Samuelson House, Paxton Road, Orton Centre, Peterborough.

No point if its not accurate

Following my most recent complaint to the BBC about the bias that is continually exhibited against conventional farming on its On Your Farm radio programme, the governors programme complaints committee found my complaint "not upheld".

The main basis for this rejection is contained in this paragraph: "The committee also considered that the format of On Your Farm was well established as a programme which provided an insight into the lives of farmers, and audiences would not expect the programme to (be – sic) framed as a factual, news or documentary programme in terms of accuracy and impartiality."

If the programme is not meant to be accurate and impartial then what use does it serve?

Anthony Rosen

Feenix Farming, Six Chattis Hill, Spitfire Lane, Stockbridge, Hampshire.

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 2002/08/02

2 August 2002

Know what youre doing if farm-saving

Farm-saved seed can help growers cut costs, provided you know what youre doing. Make a mistake and expect problems.

With wheat worth £60/t the temptation to dip into a heap of freshly harvested grain to fill the drill could be overwhelming.

Fine if tests confirm your grain to be clean. But for best results it will pay to use certified seed, or farm-saved seed processed to the same standard. Thats easier now that many mobile cleaners can clean your sample to match, or even out-perform, certified seed.

The trick is ensuring you use the right mobile operator.

    Read more on:
  • News
blog comments powered by Disqus