This Week in Farming: Dairy Update, new T7 and vast toy sale

Hello and welcome to This Week in Farming, your round-up of the best Farmers Weekly content from the past seven days.

But before we get started, let me wade into a debate that I have no business participating in: Tell any grumpy farmers in your life it is now permissible to lean into the festive spirit.

Advent calendars are up and running. Christmas trees are being purchased. I say that it is, at last, acceptable to feel as Christmassy as you like without being accused of jumping the gun.

Now, pass me a chocolate Santa and let’s get on with the show…

Rural budgets in the spotlight

Fears over funding have led the debate on farm policy this week, as the spending power of rural budgets diminishes across the UK.

Scotland followed Wales’ lead in announcing funding cuts, to the fury of NFU Scotland, which has demanded the immediate reinstatement of £61m of “lost funding”.

Defra’s budget is protected until a general election, but that hasn’t stopped the Country Land and Business Association fretting that its power is being eroded as inflation eats into it.

The landowners’ lobby group is calling for political parties to pledge to increase Defra’s budget to £4bn after next year’s expected general election.

Shadow Defra secretary Steve Reed ducked an opportunity to do just that in his remarks to the conference this week, warning that Labour has only earmarked two priority investment areas thus far – the NHS and the police.

Being a good dairy boss

How can you avoid being accused of being a Scrooge this festive season?

Keeping hold of good staff is vital, especially as they’re so hard to come by, so this piece on being a good dairy employer by deputy livestock editor Shirley Macmillan is very timely.

It’s just one of several dairy-focused pieces published this week for our regular Dairy Update supplement in print.

Also available are:

Best T7 yet?

“New Holland has kept the best bits and reworked the worst of its long-wheelbase T7 tractors to create what it hopes will be a John Deere and Fendt slayer.

“In a nutshell, that means the generally reliable and economical FPT engine remains in situ, the transmission has been subject to some subtle jiggery-pokery, and the old cab has been superseded by something strikingly smarter.”

That’s machinery editor Oli Mark’s intro to his lively and in-depth look at New Holland’s latest launch and I can’t improve on it.

Read the full article but I suspect you should have asked Santa sooner if you want one for Christmas.

Vast model tractor sale

I suspect some tractor enthusiasts will be very pleased come Christmas Day as they’ll be opening items that recently went under the hammer from a very special collection of model tractors and other machinery memorabilia.

The vast display encompassed toys, catalogues, instruction manuals, models and, of particular note, a 1936 Ferguson Brown Type-A, which was previously owned by well-known Massey Ferguson historian Ben Sergeant.

Who’s up and who’s down?

Soft wheat growers are set to be on the up from next season after the curtain was pulled back on the new AHDB Recommended Lists to reveal some enticing new varieties for Group 3 growers.

Read the full article, which includes more information on the potentially “game-changing” new variety Bamford, from Elsoms Seeds.

Pig producers will be more down in the mouth after a sharp drop in prices, with values now at their lowest level since April.

Defra data showed clean pig slaughterings in October were up 8% on month-earlier levels at 882,000 head, but still down on the year.

Listen to the FW podcast

Don’t forget the latest edition of the Farmers Weekly podcast with Johann Tasker and Hugh Broom too.

Listen here or bring us with you in the cab by downloading it from your usual podcast platform.

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