Top 10 most-read stories of 2023 on the Farmers Weekly website

This year, the British agricultural industry has seen a range of events that highlight the unique challenges and changes faced by those working in and with the sector.

From legal battles over inheritance and environmental controversies to business collapses and far-reaching legal rulings, these articles were the most read on the Farmers Weekly website.

These summaries provide a snapshot of the events judged most noteworthy by our audience and offer an insight into the current state and prospects of the industry.

See also: The biggest farm machinery launches of 2023


Premium meat retailer collapses with loss of 75 jobs

Cooked bacon

© AdobeStock/leungchopan

Farmison & Co, a premium butcher and online meat retailer, has gone into administration, resulting in the loss of 75 jobs. Despite efforts to secure external investment and find a buyer, the company was unable to sustain itself financially.

For more information, you can read the full article here. 


Court awards farm to son in inheritance promise dispute

Generic picture of a will

© zimmytws/Adobe Stock

Michael Spencer won a court case against the estate of his late father, John Spencer, over the inheritance of the family’s Lincolnshire farm.

The case, based on “proprietary estoppel”, centred on promises made by John to Michael about inheriting the farm.

Despite changes in John’s will, the court found these promises were significant enough to award the farm to Michael, recognising the commitment and detriment Michael experienced while working on the farm under his father’s control.

For more details, you can read the full article here. 


Sheep farmer ‘re-inherits’ family farm sold to a neighbour

Older farmer leaning on a hay bale

The late Richard Burrell © Richard Thirlwell

Sheep farmer Richard Thirlwell unexpectedly inherited a family farm previously sold to a neighbour.

The farm, located in Northumberland and bordering Kielder Forest, came back to Mr Thirlwell after the passing of the neighbour, Richard Burrell, who had no children and wanted a young family to take over.

The farm requires significant renovation and lacks mains electricity, posing challenges for Mr Thirlwell and his family.

For more details, you can read the full article here. 


How to stay legal when felling trees – new rules apply

wood cutting

© Parilov/Adobe Stock

New rules in England regarding tree felling to deter illegal activities include unlimited fines for unauthorised tree felling, highlighting the importance of obtaining a felling licence before starting any felling work.

Our report emphasises the need for landowners to understand these regulations, including the specific requirements for record-keeping and potential consequences for non-compliance.

For more details, you can read the full article here.


Elon Musk weighs in on Irish dairy cull proposal

Dairy cows in pasture in Ireland

© Carlos Moyo/Adobe Stock

Elon Musk, owner of X and one of the world’s richest people, criticised the Irish government’s proposal to reduce its national dairy herd to meet climate change targets.

He expressed his view on X, stating that culling cows will not significantly impact climate change.

This proposal, still under consideration, aims to cut emissions from farming by 25% by 2030 and may involve voluntarily reducing dairy production, potentially affecting about 65,000 cows annually.

For more details, you can read the full article here. 


Hedgecutting contractor fears for future amid Defra rules

Tractor hedgecutting

© Tim Scrivener

Northamptonshire hedgecutting contractor Robert Rutt is concerned about the future of his business due to Defra’s regulations that ban hedgecutting on farms during the bird nesting season, from 1 March to 31 August.

These restrictions, aimed at protecting nesting birds, have significantly reduced the area he can work on, impacting his income.

Mr Rutt challenges the effectiveness of the policy, arguing that well-managed hedges are beneficial for bird nesting.

For more details, you can read the full article here. 


Exclusive: Mass food fraud and safety scandal engulfs sector

Illustration of rotten meat being pushed in a cart at a processing plant

© David Simonds

FW uncovered a major food fraud and safety scandal involving a food manufacturer passing off large quantities of foreign pork as British.

This fraudulent practice, which included selling poor-quality and potentially unsafe meat, has been ongoing for decades, affecting products in major UK supermarkets and food service outlets.

The scandal has raised serious concerns about food safety and the effectiveness of industry regulations.

For more details, you can read the full article here. 


Farm fined £60,000 after driver is fatally electrocuted

Electricity pylons on farmland with sheep grazing

© Tim Scrivener

A farm in Devon was fined £60,000 after a tipper truck driver, Paddy Rice, was fatally electrocuted when his vehicle struck overhead power lines.

The court found that the farm had not conducted a risk assessment that could have prevented the accident.

The farm has since made improvements, including a mapping and barcode system to precisely locate overhead cables on its land.

For more details, you can read the full article here. 


Jaguar Land Rover faces class action threat

Land Rover Discovery on a country road

© Martin/Adobe Stock

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is facing a potential class action lawsuit, led by the law firm Milberg London, for an alleged faulty diesel filter system in some of their 4×4 vehicles.

The claim, seeking more than £3bn, alleges that certain JLR models, including various Range Rover and Land Rover Discovery models, have defects affecting vehicle performance and safety.

These issues reportedly lead to accelerated oil dilution and frequent servicing needs, with a full or clogged diesel particulate filter potentially causing the car to enter a slower, less responsive “limp mode.

For more details, you can read the full article here.


Sentencing expected for farmer who damaged River Lugg banks

John Price

John Price © Richard Stanton

John Price, a Herefordshire farmer, is facing sentencing for unauthorised work on the River Lugg banks, which caused significant environmental damage.

Despite his intentions to reduce flooding risk, the work violated the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and Environmental Permitting Regulations.

The repair costs for the river are estimated at £655,000. Mr Price pleaded guilty to seven charges related to the damage.

For more details, you can read the full article here.

This article was produced with the help of AI

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