• A SPROUT is for life not just for Christmas according to the newly-formed British Sprout Growers Association which has launched its "Sprouts Bite Back" campaign this week. The association is aiming to extend the sprout buying season – which peaks during the festive period – by promoting it as versatile and nutritious. The BSGA suggests sprouts could be included in stir fries and quiches and hopes that an inspired public will add to the £30m spent annually on the vegetable in the UK.
• WATCH out for "fowl play" on poultry farms in the run up to Christmas, warns the Country Landowners Association. Small-scale farms are particularly at risk from bird rustlers intent on cashing in on the seasonal boom in demand for turkeys, chickens, geese and ducks. A CLA spokeswoman is calling on farmers to be alert night and day up to Dec 25. "Never underestimate the audacity and determination of thieves on the look out for poultry to steal," she says.
• STRAYING cattle have damaged a site of genetically modified maize, admits MAFF. The National Seed List trial of GM forage maize in Somerset was hosted by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, which says the damage was caused by dairy cattle in October. NIAB says there was no evidence that the cattle ate any of the maize and the undamaged plants have now been harvested.