It’s about time DEFRA cut red tape, says Richard Cobbald

I read last week with some joy about the prospect of DEFRA reducing red tape within farming. I am sure this will be music to all our ears, especially the livestock sector, where any improvement on the movement of paperwork is going to be well received.


As an arable farmer, I don’t really see how things will change much anyway. The NVZ recording requirements are the main job, but most of what is required we would record anyway as good farm practice. The bit about suggesting organic farmers being exempt from recording mystifies me. They use clovers and grass for fertility and spread and store organic manures. But didn’t these cause the whole “nitrogen in water” debate to rear its head after the Sceond World War in the first place?

I have nothing against organic farmers, having grown organics myself, but we all do need to be accountable for water pollution and we should not get an easier ride because of the way the crops are grown.

We will have to see how DEFRA moves with these recommendations, but as with anything to do with politics, I am sceptical that much will change. They will get a bit of pressure from some lobby groups and will cave in claiming environmental reasons.

On the estate, we are still incredibly dry and have done the flag leaf sprays and will wait and see if we do any more. But I am certainly not going to spend much on crops that are going to be very average to say the least.

The big surprise is that we actually have some maize coming up on our game covers. How long it will last we don’t know. But that’s enough about the farm; bring on the early harvest, and golfing in August – weather permitting.

NOVEMBER
3

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