16 April 1999

Pig producers take protests to London

PIG producers joined hundreds of lorry drivers in central London and brought the roads around Hyde Park and Park Lane to a complete standstill on Monday.

The farmers used off-road vehicles to block the perimeter of the park, jamming roads and causing chaos to commuters and tourists.

Both groups claimed they were seriously disadvantaged by government policies which handed overseas competitors the edge over their British counterparts.

The lorry drivers claimed they were unable to compete with European hauliers because last months Budget increased British fuel costs by more than 6%.

The farmers highlighted the increase in their production costs following the introduction of a unilateral ban on sow stalls and tethers in January.

The protest was backed by the Road Haulage Association. However, the NFU distanced itself from the action. &#42

NIRIcattle lost to brucellosis

RESEARCH work at Northern Irelands Agriculture Research Institute, Hillsborough, has suffered a serious set-back following an outbreak of brucellosis and the subsequent destruction of all 600 cattle at the site.

A department of agriculture spokesman said that the outbreak will mean more than two years of research will be lost.

The disease, thought to have originated from eight in-calf cows bought into the herd earlier this year, has put an end to a number of research projects looking at breeding and feeding regimes for both dairy and beef herds.

Re-stocking at Hillsborough is unlikely before the end of the year.

Despite Northern Ireland being declared free from brucellosis as recently as 1992, official figures show there is a growing problem. There were outbreaks in 57 herds last year .

The last confirmed case in Britain was in 1993. &#42

CLAwarning over killing honey bees

FARMERS using pesticide sprays have been urged by the Country Landowners Association to ensure that they dont kill honey bees at the same time.

Producers who accidentally destroy bees as a result of failing to obey the governments code of spray safety could face heavy fines and costly compensation orders, the CLA says.

Farmers are legally required to give local beekeepers associations at least 48 hours notice before using pesticides on their land. &#42

New MMwest rep

DORSET dairy farmer Bill Dupont, who runs 360 cows in three herds near Beaminster, has been elected as Milk Marques new representative for the west Dorset district.

Mr Dupont will represent local producers on MMs west of England area council. &#42