This Week in Farming: Diesel sales, snails and Agritechnica

Welcome to This Week in Farming, your regular round-up of the best content from Farmers Weekly as chosen by the editor.

Before we get started, here’s a question: Which farming events still demand the wearing of formal attire?

Every time I’ve worn a suit to a conference this year, everyone else has been more casual, and every time I don’t – like at this week’s Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) conference – then the jackets and ties are out.

Got an answer? Write to me at the email address below. Now, on with the show.

Agritechnica 2023

An outbreak of check shirts and dealer boots on the Eurostar can only mean one thing. Agritechnica is back and if you haven’t been then catch up on all the stories here.

With 100 acres of kit on show, there’s no place like the German mega-event anywhere else in Europe, dwarfing any farm machinery that the UK can put on.

Our machinery staff have been on the ground bringing you all the biggest news, including New Holland pulling the wraps off what they claim is now the world’s most high-capacity combine.

Welsh TB uproar

More farmers in Wales are set to have to test cattle for bovine TB more frequently, the rural affairs minister has announced, dismaying farming union representatives.

Lesley Griffiths told the Senedd this week that pre-movement testing will be reintroduced in the low TB area of Wales, while cattle moving into the intermediate TB area from the high TB area of Wales, the high risk area of England and from Northern Ireland will need a post-movement test. 

And there was uproar over the remarks by one of her fellow Labour MPs Joyce Watson over her comment that farmers who have been persistently shut down with the disease should “find another business”.

Look back at our archive of bovine TB news and features.

New Defra secretary… again

It’s a quirk of the way that we do politics that a spat between the prime minister and his home secretary means a rippling reshuffle that saw Defra part company with Therese Coffey this week and say hello to Steve Barclay.

In my editorial this week, I express some sympathy with the position he finds himself in, noting that this is a system that encourages disfunction.

Nevertheless, the former health secretary will be getting briefed on where his predecessor left off, including on closely watched issues such as the results of the inquiry into fairness in the poultry supply chain – but deputy editor Abi Kay has already delved into what we know about him so far.

Diversification and relay cropping

We’re never less than impressed by the innovations that farmers round the world are tinkering with to improve their farms and incomes, and this week’s content is no exception.

In the livestock section, you can meet the Irish beef farmer that has slithered into a snail enterprise and a Norfolk airy farm that’s finding success in the tourism sector.

This autumn, it’s been hard enough for arable farmers to get one crop in the ground, but what can we learn from arable farmers in the US who have been trialling relay cropping?

Arable freelancer Mike Abram spoke to experts on both sides of the pond to find out more.

What’s up and what’s down?

Steve Barclay’s promotion to Defra puts him firmly on the up this week, while Therese Coffey’s departure mean’s she’s down but away from the political pantomime.

And here’s something more interesting that’s in decline – the price of diesel.

A litre of the red stuff is pulling back from its most recent highs in September when markets were alarmed by the latest round of turmoil in the Middle East, thanks to soft demand due to the lack of wheels turning in fields.

On the up in reputational terms, at least, is another liquid – glyphosate.

The world’s most popular herbicide has been approved by the EU for another 10 years of use, in a decision that could also help it maintain regulatory approval here.

Listen to the FW podcast

Finally, don’t forget the latest edition of the Farmers Weekly podcast with Johann Tasker and Hugh Broom.

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

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