Farmer Focus: Allan Chambers February column

Time here has been taken up replacing slats on the redundant cattle house.Why bother? Well the old ones were dangerous and the replacements are strong enough to drive over, allowing farm machinery to be stored under cover.

We have been able to secure a guaranteed supply of pig slurry and will be able to store, below the new slats, about 1000gal for use on grassland and spring barley ground.

Because of our already implemented Nitrates Directive, I’ve been working my way through RB209, but find it a most confusing document when it comes to working out required spreading rates for organic manures.

I enjoy the thrust of debate on farming politics, and recently DARD issued a consultation document offering the potential to put a value on now defunct horticultural authorisations.

This would mean creaming about 0.5% off all SFPs in our region to fund a reasonable payment to fruit, vegetable and potato growers.

Bizarrely, the UFU leadership team took a decision not to lead on this issue and the debate became confused, resulting in a lost opportunity to request “fair play”.

We needed to put down a marker for post-2013 to ensure that further EU funding goes to those who farm the land and NOT to those who sit on their backsides holding the deeds of the property.

One third of farmland in Northern Ireland is rented out and is an inheritance tax avoidance system.

It’s time to confront the landlords. Reluctance to take them on shows a weakness in our farming organisation.

Mistake of the month: Two store lambs got caught up in briars at the side of the stream. Instead of me pulling them out, they pulled me in. Running water is very cold right now.

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