13 November 2000
Scottish Crops conference – reports

| Free up exports, urges Forrest | SQC cuts the cost of assurance | ‘Minimal-till no option for Scotland’ | Boost yields to survive low wheat prices |

By Crops reporters

Free up exports, urges Forrest

BRITISH exporters have their hands tied behind their backs, according to Barclay Forrest, former chairman of British Cereal Exports.

The Government should “bin intervention” and “drop the export restitution system”, he told the Crops Scottish conference on Thursday (9 November).

World grain prices are higher than the current 60/t in Britain, but export restitution is so slow that other countries are beating British farmers to vital trade.

SQC cuts the cost of assurance

SCOTTISH Quality Cereals is reducing its membership costs for 2001.

David Houghton, the SQC chairman, announced a number of cost reductions at the Crops Scottish conference in Perth on Thursday (9 November).

First, basic subscriptions are coming down by 10% so membership fees will now range from 85 to 270.

This could be the start of further gradual reductions providing membership is retained at current levels, said Mr Houghton.

In addition there will be a 35% rebate to existing members who rejoin in 2001, plus a 10 flat rate discount for those paying by direct debit.

The discount will also apply to those already using direct debit.

Members of both SQC and SQBLA Farm Assurance – the quality assurance arm of Quality Meat Scotland – will enjoy a joint assessment discount of 5%.

‘Minimal-till no option for Scotland’

LESS than 20% of the arable area of Scotland is suitable for minimal tillage, according to Scottish Agricultural College advisor Eric Anderson.

“Where min-till is an option, potential savings of the technique could soon be wiped out by extra costs,” he told the Crops Scottish conference.

Mr Andersen told delegates gathering in Perth that they should look for simplicity and speed in reshaping cultivation strategies.

Pooling machinery and labour resources, use of more shallow ploughing and improved efficiency are his favoured routes to cutting production costs.

Boost yields to survive low wheat prices

FARMERS can survive wheat prices at 60/t without the help of area aid, according to John Blackman, wheat breeder and managing director for CPB Twyford.

High yields are the answer, Mr Blackman told delegates at the Crops Scottish conference in Perth on Thursday (9 November).

Wheat growers should be aiming for at least 12t/ha, he said. “Its a lot easier to cut production costs by increasing yields than it is to reduce variable costs.”

How do you achieve 12t/ha? Throw away the Recommended List, use barley and rape as your entry to wheat and apply more inputs, he said.

| Free up exports, urges Forrest | SQC cuts the cost of assurance | ‘Minimal-till no option for Scotland’ | Boost yields to survive low wheat prices |

  • Full reports on all these news stories will be issue of Crops magazine published on 16 December 2000.
  • Copies of papers from the Scottish conference are available for 10 (incl p&p) from Marion Phillips on 0208 652 4080.
  • John Blackman will be speaking at the Crops conference on 21 November at Chilford Hall, Linton, Cambridgeshire
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