Archive Article: 2000/02/11

11 February 2000

Lloyd Jones

Lloyd Jones farms 175ha

(430 acres) at Hall Farm,

Westbury, Shropshire.

Cereals and potatoes are

rotated with grass and he is

an NFU council member.

Buildings house potato and

cereal seed dressing lines

OUR wish for a cold, dry period of weather to spread our stockpiles of manure were partially answered last month and we got some spreading done.

However, the decision to bale linseed straw-bedding use last summer has come back to haunt us. Though we have only used the odd bale with plenty of wheat straw, it has transferred its wrapping ability from the combine table to the muck spreader. We can only hope more time to rot will weaken its resolve to wrap!

With ground beginning to dry out we will soon apply P & K fertiliser to winter cereals, except for last years potato ground. Sowing of spring cereals is, I suspect, still some time away.

The lack of field work last month has given us time to catch up on some long overdue fencing. We have yet to decide how to deal with the recent 2m headland ruling from MAFF.

Last weeks NFU AGM, which Jill and I attended, was probably the most interactive weve been to and very political. The Prime Minister, Minister of Agriculture and the Leader of the Opposition spoke and some excellent and searching questions were asked. Long-term proposals were outlined, but frankly, if our political masters dont put their glasses on and see whats happening now, we may not survive to see their longsighted vision for the industry.

The managing director of Mars Confectionery spoke and drew parallels between the changes experienced in his business and agriculture. Spangles, the firms market leader for 30 years had to be dropped when the public moved on – the message being you cant keep doing the same thing for ever. The chief executive of Sainsburys gave a presentation too, and drew some very pointed questions from the floor.

It was an excellent conference with president Ben Gill in forceful mood and a good outcome for our West Midlands region. Not only did we have two winners in the prestigious Presidents Awards, but following the meeting, Council elected Richard Watson-Jones as vice-president.

Back from the NFU AGM, Lloyd Jones says the politicians had better get their specs on.

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