…Contracts starting to be cancelled

23 March 2001

…Contracts starting to be cancelled

THE North West Machinery Ring has concerns for the future of its 150 members, as the foot-and-mouth crisis continues to grip the farming industry.

"Our mixed farming members could suffer because many of them still have about 75% of drilling to do which has been held over from the wet autumn," warns ring manager Bob Cragg, who is based near Warrington, Cheshire. "A number of these mixed farms have already cancelled contracts for carrying out grass silaging."

Another concern, he says, is livestock producers who may be unable to keep up with payments due to being forced out of business.

"The majority of our members pay bills in April and May," says Mr Cragg. "If the crisis drags on until then, some members could struggle to make the necessary payments for the work they have had performed."

Mr Cragg says the disease has also affected the labour supply side of the business which makes up 5% of the rings total membership. A number of workers have temporarily been made redundant due to local markets closing and foot trimming contracts being cancelled.

Members have also stopped spreading muck to help prevent the spread of the disease. "About 15 farmers or demanders have ceased muck spreading operations," says Mr Cragg. "Although our business has taken a slight knock, we are 100% behind our members and will do everything possible to help them through this nightmare." &#42

The foot-and-mouth crisis is hampering thousands of acres of spring drilling, according to North West Machinery Ring.

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