This Week in Farming: Snappers, tractors and manifesto hopes

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

This will be the final bulletin of the year before we return in 2024 with a bumper edition that will catch you up on all our special Christmas content.

Now, on with the show.

Manifesto musings

The NFU has joined the growing ranks of rural and green lobby groups calling for political parties to commit to increased funding for farming and environmental payments after the next general election.

It has called for funding in England to increase from £2.7bn a year to £4bn, the amount it says is needed to deliver the targets the government has set itself and provide similar levels of support for productivity and stability.

It comes as one in four farmers say they don’t plan to vote at the next election, according to the results of the latest Farmers Weekly sentiment survey.

Tractor troubleshooting

In the market for a new tractor? All have their positives and negatives, and a knowledge of common complaints can be useful when eyeing up something from the second-hand market in particular.

In the machinery section this week we cast an eye over some models of Fendt, Claas and Valtra with the help of specialist mechanics for each manufacturer, to illuminate how to spot the early signs of trouble.

Machinery fans will also enjoy a look around the Hampshire farm of Bob and Dan Ives in the latest instalment of What’s in Your Shed?

Happy snappers

Here’s a nice slice of Christmas cheer: Some amazing shots from our annual photo competition, including all the category winners.

The overall winner and two runners-up, who will share the £500 prize money, will be announced in early January.

And how about this for another winter warmer – weekly columnist Will Evans saluting fate and fortune in a very festive column that even manages to squeeze in a reference to It’s a Wonderful Life.

Farming on the edge

The sheer diversity of farming systems in the UK never fails to amaze and impress, and the livestock team have been hard at work gathering stories of some of the most unusual for this week and next.

Check out this story and video of a hardy herd outwintering in the Outer Hebrides, where the MacDonald family graze an island accessible only at low tide.

Still want more? Whizz down to a dairy farm at 300m above sea level in North Yorkshire, where cows still manage to stay out between mid-March and November.

Meet the farmers doing Landscape Recovery

There’s been an awful lot of chat about Sustainable Farming Initiative (SFI) options for farmers in England, but have you met anyone in the top tier of the Environmental Land Management scheme pilot – Landscape Recovery?

If not, check out this piece from expert arable freelancer Louise Impey, who has been visiting a network of farmers in East Anglia doing just that.

And for more ways on turning nature-friendly farming into cash, we return to visit Farmers Weekly’s Environment Farmers of the Year, Emma and James Loder-Symonds in Kent, who say regenerative farming is helping them improve profitability.

Who’s up and who’s down?

Definitely on the up this week is columnist Matthew Naylor, who is in full festive voice in his final opinion column of year with a gentle lampooning of his pantomime villain of the year, one Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Going down this week are Defra staff – or at least the number of days they work, if they get their way.

Departmental staff have signed a petition calling on bosses to consider letting them work a four day week – for no less pay.

Listen to the FW Podcast

Don’t forget the latest edition of the Farmers Weekly podcast with Johann Tasker and others from the Farmers Weekly team.

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

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