Food and farming were among the top April Fool jokes this year – but at least one seemingly far-fetched story was true. We take a look at nine of the best farming April Fool’s we’ve seen today.
1) At Farmers Weekly, we reported on a new EU directive limiting the amount of hours “worked”by farm animals, including sheep dogs.
2) NFU vice-president Guy Smith suggested Defra secretary Liz Truss was spending the day visiting farms to hand over long-awaited Basic Payments in person.
We are getting reports of Liz Truss turning up at farms this morning getting BPS payments out in person, in cash.
— Guy Smith (@essexpeasant) April 1, 2016
2) Suffolk farm manager Steven Offord said he was improving soil aeration by chopping up worms using a power harrow to increase their numbers
4) Having invented a “left-handed silage sheet” last year, Will Wilson said he had now come up with a transparent sheet so farmers could more easily monitor silage quality.
Slow hand clap for me? 01/04/2016 pic.twitter.com/7kC9XJyX1x
— Will Wilson (@willwilson100) April 1, 2016
5) Potatoes featured big in this year’s jokes. Harry Wallop of the Daily Telegraph suggested they could be used to power homes, asking “Who needs fracking when you’ve got spuds?”
6) FarmDrop, which delivers food to consumers direct from farmers, suggested blue potatoes could be fed to cows to produce whole milk.
“No more blue caps, the white stuff now comes with its very own naturally produced a blue hue,” it said.
7) The Today programme on Radio 4 reported a new blue variety of Red Leicester in cheese and onion potato crisps to celebrate the unexpected success of Leicester City’s football team.
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) April 1, 2016
8) It followed a Farming Today programme, which reported how dairy farmer Richard Park of Lower Sizergh Barn has started growing vanilla in south Cumbria.
A key date in vanilla agronomy was 1 April, when the temperature became warm enough to grow the crop, he told presenter Caz Graham.
9) Meanwhile, a health conscious Toby Bruce suggested “weigh and pay” scales were being installed in supermarkets so obese customers would pay more for their shopping.
Supermarkets to introduce automated self-checkout which weighs you and raises your food bill if you're overweight… pic.twitter.com/d5lEz5rR2G
— Toby Bruce (@Toby_Bruce) April 1, 2016
April Fool stories from Farmers Weekly in previous years include:
- Top Gear approaches FW machinery boys over revamp
- Farmers to be taught ‘street slang’ to improve communication with general public
- NFU to honour Peter Kendall with 9m bronze statue
But not all supposedly fanciful stories are fictitious.
Last week, Farmers Weekly reported that farmers can tell whether sheep are ill from their facial expressions.
The story – reported on 22 March – is in fact, true.