This Week in Farming: Elections, mastitis and toilet humour

Welcome back to another edition of This Week in Farming, as the sun rose this morning on the first full day of a Labour government since 2010.

But first, here’s your market prices.

Now, on with the show.

Labour landslide

You can get your fill on what Labour’s victory means for the country elsewhere, but what it means for the countryside is Farmers Weekly’s job.

We’ll bring you much more on that in the days and weeks to come, but we’ve already got analysis on the impact Thursday’s transformative election had on the makeup of the Commons’ farming members.

You may also have missed that Rishi Sunak bestowed a peerage on former NFU president Minette Batters as part of his resignation honours list.

Here’s the final predictions on what farming’s lobbyists think the future will hold.

And in my editorial this week, I nod to one of the trickiest decisions for the incoming Labour Defra team – how to finish the work of cutting delinked payments in England.

Regen round-up

Let’s move on from the politics. The Arable team were hard at work gathering the most interesting information at the recent Groundswell event.

Here’s what caught their eye:

Best big reads this week

Two brilliant features from different desks attracted my attention – and garnered a lot of reaction on social media as well.

The first was one of machinery editor Oliver Mark’s Contractor Comment pieces – this time, featuring the straight-talking Daniel Freeland-Cook from the Scottish Borders.

He has his say on Valtra versus John Deere (including whether tractor warranties are worth it), and lifts the lid on whether it was cost-effective to establish and bale forage for his own farm on a remote block of land 20 miles away.

The second was the article I also referred to in my editorial – the farmers changing their business so its carrying capacity does not exceed its maximum sustainable output.

This measure – designed to maximise profits while minimising inputs – will see Northumberland upland farmers Graham and Michael Rutherford swap sheep for cattle on their organic unit.

Toilet humour

It’s not often that Farmers Weekly contains the word “urinal”, but you have Will Evans to thank for that this week after a chance encounter with a fan in the gents left him severely embarrassed.

How to segue from that into Joy Bowes’ piece powerfully making the case for helping aspiring young farmers get a foot on the career ladder? I’m not sure, but you should definitely read it anyway.

Who’s up and who’s down?

Who or what is down on luck this week? It’s hard to look past the Conservative Party isn’t it – whether you’re commiserating or celebrating their defenestration.

On the up? Surely this farmer who has saved himself over £20,000 and improved cow welfare by sharpening up his mastitis treatment protocols. Job well done.

Listen to the podcast

For more on the general election, including an interview with retiring MP and former Defra secretary George Eustice on what it’s like to take up the reins at a Whitehall department, tune into this week’s FW podcast with Johann Tasker and other guests.

You’ll find it anywhere you listen to podcasts, or free to listen to on this page.

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