This Week in Farming: Deutz, deer culling and meat scandal

Welcome back to another edition of This Week in Farming, your weekly round-up of the best content from Farmers Weekly in the past seven days.

But first, I wanted to let you know that we’re celebrating 20 years of the FW Awards this year.

To mark the occasion, we want to salute those who have helped drive our industry forward over the past two decades.

We need your nominations of folk from both sides of the farm gate, who’ve had a positive impact on the industry at a local or national level.

See more information on the special Game Changers award, what we’re looking for and how to enter.

Now, on with the show.

Scots headage payment row deepens

Suckler beef farmers in Scotland have warned that proposed changes to the Suckler Beef Support Scheme could push smaller farms out of business.

With numbers already in decline, they say that the timing of the introduction of a requirement to make eligibility contingent on dams meeting a 410-day calving interval is problematic.

In last week’s editorial, I note that the shift towards more productivity requirements matches the one happening in Northern Ireland and, in theory, could lead to better output.

Meat: Our Expectations latest

It’s now been 12 months since we broke one of our biggest ever stories – an exclusive report on a meat processing firm that was flouting food safety rules and labelling imported pork as British.

Deputy editor Abi Kay, who led the investigation, takes an in-depth look at what has happened in the intervening period as a result of FW’s Meat: Our Expectations campaign that called for improved standards across the supply chain.

And in my piece on the topic, I acknowledge the bravery of the whistleblowers that enabled this story to be told in the first place.

New contracting commentators

Contractors are an essential component of many farming businesses, providing access to critical labour and machinery, which is why we like to hear from them regularly.

Dorset-based Elliot Stevens is the second generation in a business founded by his father from scratch. Find out about their story and the challenge higher interest rates are posing contractors currently.

Meanwhile, machinery editor Oli Mark speaks to a different contractor running Deutz and John Deere – and gets the detail on the highs and lows of each.

Teens on farm

The weather isn’t enjoyable for man or beast at the moment, but there’s still plenty of youngsters searching for their first opportunity in agriculture – and we’ve run through all you need to know about hiring under 18s.

Plenty of other farmers welcome visitors to their place of work as well, but how do you go about it for the first time?

FW reporter Maltida Bovingdon catches up with the team behind the team behind Open Farm Sunday to get the latest advice.

Who’s up and who’s down?

On the up this week – with several caveats – will be dairy farmers as the average milk price continues to edge steadily higher.

Feeling less cheerful will be Scottish farmers with a deer problem.

Amid soaring numbers of the crop-munching pests, officials in Holyrood have been considering whether to give NatureScot legally enforceable powers to order farmers to reduce deer populations, or pay a £40,000 fine.

Listen to the FW Podcast

Don’t forget the latest edition of the Farmers Weekly podcast with Johann Tasker and Sandy Kirkpatrick.

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

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