Archive Article: 1997/07/19

19 July 1997

IN America, home of the GMO, three out of four consumers believe that the greatest health risk in the food sector is actually from contamination by micro-organisms, according to a Food Marketing Institute survey.

EU OILSEED plantings are estimated to be 5.7% above the maximum guaranteed area (MGA) set under the Blair House Agreement (HGCA). One of seven countries set to exceed their national MGAs, the UK overshoot is forecast at 9%. If correct, UK growers could face a 4% penalty which would lower aid payments to about £436/t before any price adjustment penalty.

SAINSBURYS has received an award from the International Council of Economic Priorities for reducing pesticide usage through crop management strategies for its suppliers.

DESPITE the wettest June this century, groundwater levels are still at the lowest on record in many areas and the current drought continues, says the Environment Agency. However the rain has reduced customer demand so much that it is at the same level as 20 years ago.

NOVARTIS has closed a deal to acquire Merck Crop Protection business worldwide. The deal strengthens its business in insecticide and fungicide markets, including thiabendazole products such as Storite.

AGRICULTURE Ministers have appointed as new HGCA members Glen Sanderson from Northumberland and Peter Stewart from Fife, both representing the interests of growers. Chief executive of Fengrain, newly appointed Chris Barnes will represent the interests of dealers and processors.

David Curry is the new Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Also in the new Conservative agriculture team is James Paice.

CONGRATULATIONS to David Herring and Jim Powell at Wisbech, Cambs and Colchester, Essex for spotting the 13 faults in the Crops spraying competition, organised by Gem Sprayers, at the Sprays and Sprayers event last month. They both receive a stereo radio-cassette.

ARABLE growers who let land for outdoor pig production can now allow pigs onto rotational set-aside land from 1 Sept, rather than 1 Jan as was the case. Preparations such as fencing and watering can start from 15 July.

HYBRID wheat production could receive a boost with Monsantos acquisition of German wheat breeder Saatzuch Dr. Hege. The new enterprise will operate as HybriTech Deutschland, a division of Monsanto Deutschland, and will work alongside current operations in France, where commercial plantings of hybrid wheat are expected to reach 25,000ha this year.

THE ING guide to financing farm vehicles is a series of looseleaf data cards covering taxation issues, road traffic legislation and health, safety and security concerns as well as finance options. Call 01904 488771 for a copy.

GREENHOUSE trials carried out last year by the charitable organisation, Farmers World Network showed that aphids can be attracted out of a crop of sugar beet using a traditional variety of field bean, Martock. Field scale research this year should confirm the preference and indicate any scope for trap cropping.

THE New Grocer reports that, following the prediction that the proportion of genetically-modified soya in the US crop is likely to rise from 2% to 15% in the autumn, Asda is to change the labels on 3,000 of its own brand products to identify those that may contain genetically modified soya protein.

THE Frozen Vegetable Association warns that peas harvests could be halved if the wettest June continues into the wettest July, and is also concerned about the prospects for green beans.

AGREEMENT has been reached in principle for the Rotagrow consortium, comprising SAC, ADAS and Cambridge University Farm, to take over the management of the Sutton Bridge Experimental Unit for three years. The deal is designed to ensure that key post-harvest potato research continues at Sutton Bridge but that the unit functions at arms length from the British Potato Council.

During the management period, Rotagrow will have the option to purchase the business and the land and buildings.

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