Archive Article: 2001/03/23

23 March 2001

Ian Pigott

Ian Pigott farms 690ha

(1700 acres) of owned,

rented, share-farmed and

contract-farmed land in

partnership with his father

from Thrales End,

Harpenden, Herts. Wheat,

oilseed rape, spring barley,

beans and peas are the main

crops on the flinty,

medium clay soils

OUR frustrations of the continuing wet weather and poor wheat prices pale into insignificance against the despair that is being caused by this terrible disease plaguing many parts of the country.

Checking my diary reminds me that last weekend many of us were to be converging on London to march for Liberty and Livelihood. How far away that now seems.

I am sure we all have stories of frustration relating to planning permission and last week I was at a planning seminar hosted by the FRCA. In essence it was a meeting of farmers and planners. Over the past three months I have been to numerous English Rural Develop-ment Programme meetings also to try to get to grips with the governments quasi-reallocation of funds.

The crux of a large proportion of Rural Enterprise Scheme funding hinges on being able to gain prior planning consent.

A year ago in his "action plan for farming" Tony Blair stated that along with free consultancy, planning restrictions would be eased. Why then, 11 months later, was the senior planning officer I was talking to completely unaware of this "easing" the Prime Minister has so supportively spoken of?

If the government intends to move away from direct payments, it cannot also hide behind glossy brochures and good intentions.

Back on the farm. the wheats that are hungriest for nitrogen are those that are on the heaviest of land and as yet we have not been able to get on. But I was lucky to have a window of dry weather to get most of the cereals sprayed.

One observation from recent crop walking has been the delay in efficacy of a Hawk/Lexus mix (clodinafop-propagyl + trifluralin plus flupyrsulfuron).

Blackgrass in early September-drilled Claire sprayed on Jan 15 did not show any signs of dying for nearly seven weeks. Although the delay did have me slightly concerned I am now happy to report that the results are very encouraging. &#42

The governments message on easing planning for rural enterprises does not seem to be getting through to the people that matter, says Ian Piggott.

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