2018: The farming year in pictures, part one

From bad weather to Brexit, 2018 was a tumultuous year for farmers. Here is our look back at the news highlights.

See also: 2018 farming year in pictures: Weather extremes

Fly-tipping monstrosity leaves farmers with nowhere to turn

A tenant farming family were left with nowhere to turn for help to remove a fly-tipping eyesore in the middle of their holding.

Fly-tippers repeatedly dumped rubbish near a dilapidated barn thought to be owned by a man who had left the country and was on the run from police.

Beef and sheep farmers Stephen and Rachel Hallos discovered the “fly-tipping monstrosity” bordering their tenant farm at Beeston Hall, Ripponden, west Yorkshire, in January.

Piles of rubbish spread over an area of flat ground

Lamma cancelled due to wind damage

The premier UK agricultural machinery event, Lamma, was called off on day two (18 January) over safety concerns after strong winds caused serious damage to exhibits at the Peterborough site.

Leicestershire dog attack kills 30 sheep

A vicious attack by loose dogs led to the death of 30 fat lambs at a farm in Leicestershire on 5 January.

Sheep farmer Robert Gilbert said he found out about the horrific incident when he looked out of his window the next morning and saw dead sheep scattered across his farm in Kibworth.

NFU elects first female president

Wiltshire beef farmer Minette Batters became the first woman to be elected as NFU president the union’s 109-year history.

Also elected were Essex farmer Guy Smith (deputy president) and Hertfordshire farmer Stuart Roberts (vice-president).

Guy Smith, Minette Batters and Stuart Roberts stand behind a podium

Minette Batters with Guy Smith (left) and Stuart Roberts © NFU

175 tractors roll for annual tractor run

A charity run held in memory of a young farmer attracted 175 tractors and raised more than £8,000 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

The Knaresborough Young Farmers’ Club (YFC) tractor run took place on 11 March and was held in memory of Michael Spink, a 24-year-old dairy farmer and Knaresborough YFC member who was killed after being hit by a car in January 2017 during a spell working in New Zealand.

A line of tractors winds off into the distance

© Rachael Fawcett

Sinkhole appears on NZ dairy farm

A sinkhole the length of two football pitches and the depth of a six-storey building appeared on a New Zealand farm.

A farmer discovered the 200m-long and 20m-deep chasm when he was rounding up cows for milking on land near the North Island town of Rotorua, following several days of heavy rain.

Huge sinkhole on a New Zealand farm

© REX/Shutterstock

Fly-tipper fined £400 after being caught on farmer’s camera

Plucky dairy farmer Joe Tucker used a £70 wildlife camera hidden in a hedge to record a shameless woman fly-tipping on his land.

The woman was issued with a £400 fine and cautioned about her future behaviour following an investigation by environmental officers at Bath and North East Somerset Council.

The video, which was shared 45,000 times on Facebook, showed the woman opening the boot of her Audi 4×4, removing a large plastic bag and depositing it by the hedge.

Joe Tucker with his camera and a dairy cow

© Joe Tucker

Gove admits £160m convergence funding is already spent

Scottish farm leaders continued to press the UK government to hand over £160m paid by Brussels in recognition of the low support received by Scotland’s farmers.

The “convergence uplift” money was allocated to the UK by Brussels because Scotland’s average support payment rate is only about 48% of the EU average.

But the UK government allocated it to all four home countries, with Scotland receiving only £30m of £190m in total.

Scottish farm leaders and Scottish government officials raised the issue again with Michael Gove when he visited the Royal Highland Show on 21 June.

But the Defra secretary said the money had already been allocated to devolved administrations.

Michael Gove is surrounded by journalists

© John Eveson

Farm diversification trains dogs to stop attacking sheep

Kent-based sheep farmer Tobin Bird trains about 400 dogs a year to respect livestock.

Mr Bird set up his farm diversification, Sheep Proof Your Dog, after repeated problems with dog attacks on his 80ha farm at Iden Green.

While he cannot guarantee 100% success, he said only a handful of dogs did not quickly learn to behave in the presence of sheep.

Tobin Bird sits with his collie

© Tobin Bird

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