This Week in Farming: TB down, lamb trade up and Rangers

Welcome back to another edition of This Week in Farming, your regular round-up of Farmers Weekly’s most unmissable content.

But first, are you coming to drive your tractor around Westminster on Monday as part of the latest round of farmer protests?

Drop Charlie Reeve on our newsdesk a note if so at

Now, on with the show.

ELM scheme impact on food supply scrutinised

Can maximum food production and environmental benefits be delivered on the same land, or can the best food-producing land’s potential only be maximised in isolation?

The debate, commonly referred to as land sparing versus land sharing, has been re-opened this week after Defra came in for criticism from a pro-land sparing lobby group called Scientists for Sustainable Agriculture.

In other science news, boffins have said they plan to use new gene editing technology on potatoes, with a view to tweaking spuds to reduce bruising-related discoloration and make them quicker to cook.

Lamb trade hits new heights

Another week, another record broken in the lamb market as deadweight prices reportedly exceeded £8/kg amid a frenzy from buyers scrambling to cover demand for Easter and Eid al-Fitr.

This will surely put renewed focus on further reducing lamb mortality, making this week’s article on an organic farm who have done just that by changing their colostrum protocols and investing in a new shed.

Niche spring cropping options

While arable farmers have made a tentative start to enormous spring workloads, wet weather is still hampering operations (as farmer focus writer Richard Harris notes) and seed for common crops is reportedly still short.

That’s why this week the arable team have taken a fresh look at more niche options that may fill a gap in rotations for the more adventurous.

Check out our articles on grain maize and sunflowers to get the lowdown, and if you’ve got long-term fed up in a certain field’s prospects then you may be interested to hear that an English tree planting grant has increased.

Plain versus posh

There’s a dizzying array of variations in models for most vehicles now, so machinery editor Oliver Mark decided to get to the bottom of which is actually best for one well-loved brand – the Ford Ranger.

Find out whether the range-topping Wildtrak or the basic spec XL gets the nod.

In other motoring news, new kid on the block Ineos Automotive have revealed a third model to join their line-up, a smaller electric vehicle dubbed the Fusilier.

What’s up and what’s down?

Good news in what’s down this week – incidence rates of bovine TB in England are at their lowest level in 20 years.

There were 2,460 new herd incidents in English cattle herds – a 17% year-on-year fall.

On the up, as many farmers will already know to their cost, are deer numbers.

That led outspoken environmentalist Ben Goldsmith to proclaim this week that Britain should be reintroducing the wolf to control them. Here’s the reaction.

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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