Welcome back to This Week in Farming, your regular round-up of the best Farmers Weekly content from the past seven days.
But first, have you stayed abreast of the protest meetings in Wales over the past two weeks?
Here’s as fine an example of speechmaking (on my X feed) as I have ever seen in person. Well done to farmer Gary Howells.
Watch this to the end with farmer and meeting organiser Gary Howells: “The reason I’m here in front of you everybody – I’ll show you” pic.twitter.com/d5j8GFpKrc
— Andrew Meredith (@Merry_Meredith) February 8, 2024
And while we’re on that topic, let’s get on with this show.
Earlier in the week, the key news had been the concessions won by European farmers after their direct action.
In my editorial this week, I noted that this had gone some way to vindicating the calls by some for similar action here – not that it guarantees British farmers would be as successful.
In Wales, rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths rejected calls by the Welsh Conservatives to pause the consultation on the proposed Sustainable Farming Scheme amid widespread anger over the proposals.
And on Thursday (8 Februrary) Carmarthen market played host to the second mass meeting of farmers to discuss whether to take action. I went along to see what the atmosphere was like.
All the hype might be around electric motors replacing the fossil-fuel powered internal combustion engine for passenger vehicles, but heavier industries are heading in a different direction – hydrogen.
Specialist machinery freelancer Peter Hill takes a close look at the current state of play with global engine manufacturers – with a surprising amount of progress already having been made.
Elsewhere in the machinery section this week, check out the latest Contractor Comment.
Machinery editor Oli Mark returns to see South Lanarkshire contractor Jim Watt, who is finding himself trapped between rising machinery costs and farmers unable to withstand prices rises to match.
The wet winter has set back many farmers’ attempts to get on top of their most problematic weed – blackgrass. Yet hope is not lost.
Arable editor Richard Allison sat down with Niab weed specialist John Cussans and Agrovista technical manager Mark Hemmant to get the latest advice on how to make the best of a bad job.
Here’s one farmer busting a gut to manage without chemicals: Tim Parton. He cut £43,000 off his agrochemical bill last season. Deputy arable editor Emma Gillbard went to find out how.
’Tis the season for wriggly tails, motherly bleats and bleary eyes.
Get ready for the busy period with some last-minute advice from the livestock team.
Who’s up and who’s down?
Feeling down this week will be anyone in favour of digital grain passports.
After another interminable conversation within the industry, it seems that yet again proponents have failed to win a critical mass of support to their cause.
Those feeling more cheerful include fans of the New Zealand Huntaway.
Finally, there is an association being established in the northern hemisphere for aficionados of the big-voiced breed to share information on bloodlines and breed improvement.
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.