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Virus blamed for farmer suicides

14 June 2001
Virus blamed for farmer suicides

By Robert Davies, Wales correspondent

FOOT-and-mouth disease was blamed for the suicides of two mid-Wales farmers at inquests held on Thursday (14 June) at Welshpool, Powys.

Coroner John Hollis heard a harrowing account of discovery of the body of John Bayliss lying next to the carcasses of two ewes on his farm near Kerry.

A single shot from a gun that had string attached to its trigger killed him.

Mr Hollis heard that foot-and-mouth restrictions probably precipitated the death of the 56-year-old, who was worried he would lose his stock.

Recording a verdict of suicide, the coroner said it was clear that the foot-and-mouth restrictions had affected the farmer.

The inquest into the death of Glyn Lewis, a farmer, dealer and livestock haulier from Llanfyllin, heard his business was badly affected by restrictions.

Mr Lewis was found hanging in a barn shortly after some of his livestock were culled as dangerous contacts.

But Mr Hollis decided that a third farmer, Brian Oakley, took his life because of concern about the general state of farming, rather than foot-and-mouth.

After the inquests, representatives of both Welsh farming unions said that everyone involved in the industry was under stress, and had been for some time.

The National Farmers Union Cymru-Wales said it was desperately sad, but inevitable, that some people would crack under pressure of the farming crisis.

Peter Roberts, spokesman for the Farmers Union of Wales, insisted that the union could not comment on individual cases of suicide among farmers.

But foot-and-mouth had increased the already considerable pressure on all farmers, especially where restrictions had left individuals isolated on farms.

Mr Roberts praised help provided by organisations like the Welsh Institute of Rural Health, the Rural Stress Information Network and the Samaritans.

But farmers still needed to pick up the phone and ask for help, he added.

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Virus blamed for farmer suicides

9 July 2001
Seed supplies tight this autumn

By Tom Allen-Stevens

SEED breeders have warned that supplies of certain cereal varieties may not meet demand this autumn, but growers have been slow to order.

Most at risk from running out are some of the new varieties in their first commercial year and some of those that are drilled late.

The one were most concerned about is Tanker, Bob Miles from Elsoms Seeds told FARMERS WEEKLY.

This hard feed wheat variety, the highest yielder on the National Institute of Agricultural Botany recommended list, has received good reviews.

John Howie, of PBIC Seeds, conducted market research to gauge uptake of Option, a new high yield winter wheat with bread-making potential.

We reckon the demand for Option is probably around 17,000 tonnes, but we only have enough to supply around 13,000 tonnes, he said.

Another variety that could run short is late-drilled wheat Charger, he said the seed crops were established in poor conditions so yields are likely to be low.

Despite this, early orders have been slow to come through from growers.

Advance orders to Nickerson UK, breeders of the most popular wheat variety Claire, have been absolutely terrible said marketing manager Frank Curtis.

If they leave their order too late, some growers will find they are unable to get the variety they want or will have to pay a premium.

Mr Howie said growers are reluctant to order due to a combination of factors.

Many were stung by being unable to drill the seed theyd ordered last year, so are reluctant to make advance orders.

It has also been an extended growing season some growers are still putting the finishing touches to their current wheat crop and have not begun to think about next years.

Other varieties tipped to be hard to find are Advantas new bread-maker Xi-19 and Nickersons high-yielding group three Deben.

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