Farmer Focus: Reintroducing 5% set-aside would be ‘madness’, says Richard Cobbald

Snow fell in Cambridge recently – extremely unusual for October. It halted our efforts at ploughing in Wizard winter beans, the last of this autumn’s crops, and gave me time to relax and enjoy the warmth of the farm office.

I hope the cold snap will help to put the slugs to bed. It would be extremely good to send a big chunk of our pellets back to the supplier rather than apply them.

Slugs, I imagine, are not a problem on the nearby RSPB farm. I’m sure the huge numbers of birds it has will have eaten them all or the pests will have moved onto its set-aside areas.

The RSPB farm is apparently very sustainable as a working unit, but to use it as part of a model to try to introduce 5% set-aside is madness.

It’s easy to be sustainable when you are a charity and your employees’ livelihoods don’t depend entirely on the farm. I’m sure that even at current commodity prices any payment wouldn’t be as rewarding as growing a decent crop on the land.

Try educating cat owners. Buy 100 cats and teach them to not hunt small birds, then go into the towns and preach your gospel to the masses instead of pursuing your never-ending witch hunt against our excellent farming industry.

I realise these views may seem a bit one-sided, but the RSPB’s appear that way, too. Surely some common sense should prevail, especially in these very hard times for the world? Home-grown food is still one of the best ways to help. Why take 5% of that ability away?

Rant over! I’m a bit on edge as I’m still recovering from the effects of two hours spent watching High School Musical 3 yesterday. The things we do for our kids.

Need a contractor?

Find one now
See more