1. Farm Business RSS
    Created by Farm Business RSS
    Nov 14, 2018 at 12:02 AM
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    Written by JohnSwire

    The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (the Department) faces enormous challenges in the lead-up to EU Exit and, with the deadline of 29 March 2019 looming, still does not know which scenario it is preparing for, says the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

    The reports makes a series of points echoing its concerns that are facing DEFRA in the coming months. These points are:

    There is a high level of risk in the Department’s portfolio, with many of its plans dependent on co-operation from other departments, the devolved administrations and agencies and the goodwill of EU member states.

    The Department is too complacent about the levels of disruption or interruption to trade that may be faced. Fundamental issues for food, chemical and animal importers and exporters are yet to be resolved.

    Many businesses have not been given detailed advice on what is required by EU Exit, as the Department has had very limited engagement with stakeholders until recently.

    Six months since they last reported in May 2018, the situation for the Department’s stakeholders has changed very little, as the Department’s preparation for EU Exit continues to be complicated by its need to work on a range of solutions for different scenarios.

    It has now established a new directorate for business readiness and engagement but its focus has been on industry and...
  2. CPM RSS
    Created by CPM RSS
    Nov 13, 2018 at 8:02 PM
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    Written by Jane

    A large proportion of young people in Britain are interested in working in the food and farming industry, but job security and work/life balance are key requirements to achieve a happy career. These are the headline findings of an industry-backed Farmers Guardian survey of 16-35 year olds across the UK, which sheds light on what young people really want from their careers and what could attract new talent into the agricultural sector. Of almost 1,800 respondents, 59% said they were interested in a career in the agro-industries. However, the survey highlighted a lack of understanding around the opportunities the sector can offer, with only 5% of respondents recognising there were engineering- or science-related careers available within the agricultural industry and only 7% making the connection between agriculture and environmental careers. Farmers Guardian has joined forces with 19 key industry stakeholders from across the farming sector to launch a new campaign, #ThisIsAgriculture, to promote careers in agriculture. Building on the learning from the #ThisIsAgriculture survey, this initiative will work to educate those who have previously not considered the sector about the wealth of opportunities available within the sector, as well as dispelling common myths synonymous with careers in agriculture. The…
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  3. Agriland RSS
    Created by Agriland RSS
    Nov 13, 2018 at 5:12 PM
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    Written by Rachel Martin

    After years of industry campaigning, Defra has confirmed plans to use a fixed cut-off date of June 30 to age lambs instead of checking teeth.

    The move could potentially save producers and the supply chain an estimated £24 million.

    The new system will provide a much simpler and more accurate way for farmers, market operators and abattoir operators to determine whether a lamb is over 12 months old and whether the carcass needs to be split to remove the spinal cord.

    How it started


    Carcass splitting and the removal of specified risk material such as spinal cords are a result of the BSE crisis of the 1990s, when there were thought to be possible risks of links between BSE in cattle and human TSE and Scrapie in sheep.

    Industry assessments calculated that the system of teeth checking was costing the UK sheep industry in excess of £24 million a year. The main costs coming from mouthing sheep to check for tooth eruption, and a loss of carcass value when teeth had erupted.

    The NFU has been one of the bodies leading lobbying efforts.

    National Farmers’ Union livestock board chairman Richard Findlay said: “The NFU and other industry organisations, including those representing the devolved nations, have long been urging the Government to implement a simpler and more accurate system of ageing lambs.


    We welcome the news...​
  4. CPM RSS
    Created by CPM RSS
    Nov 13, 2018 at 4:52 PM
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    Written by Jane

    Small Robot Company, the British agritech start up for sustainable farming, announced the official unveiling of its Harry digital planting robot at Agri-Tech East’s REAP 2018 Conference in Cambridge. Just one year on since Small Robot Company first previewed its ‘Farming as a Service’ model at REAP 2017, the Small Robot Company is unveiling Harry, as well as showing an early version of its Wilma Artificial Intelligence interface. Harry is a prototype of the world’s first digital drilling robot for combinable crops, one of three precision engineered, smart robots. Small Robot Company’s Tom, Dick and Harry robots will feed, seed and weed arable crops autonomously, with no waste. This could revolutionise food production and the toll big machinery takes on soil and the wider environment. Harry, a 1.8 metre-square spider-shaped robot, compactly folds and unfurls to provide farmers with a driverless, super accurate drill that punch-plants seeds at a uniform depth, making minimal soil disturbance. He is able to accurately record exactly where he has placed individual seeds, and feeds this data back to the Small Robot Company’s artificial intelligence platform, called Wilma, to produce a per-plant crop map. An early version of the interface for Wilma is also on…
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  5. Farm Business RSS
    Created by Farm Business RSS
    Nov 13, 2018 at 4:42 PM
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    Written by JohnSwire

    Entries for this weekend’s English Winter Fair at the Staffordshire Showground are up by more than 10% on last year’s event.

    Numbers have increased across the board with more than 300 cattle, 60 pigs and 240 pens of sheep registered to compete.

    The judges in the Carcase Hall are set for a busy two days too with 15 farmers entering whole carcases and 23 submitting quality ribs of beef or saddles of lamb for the Royal Smithfield Club categories.

    Staffordshire & Birmingham Agricultural Society chief executive Richard Williams said: “The healthy increase in entries we have received recognises the quality and reputation of the English Winter Fair.

    “Some of the best livestock breeders in the UK travel to this event so there is huge value in winning classes and championships.

    “We are expecting a lot of visitors to come and experience the show. We can certainly guarantee them an exciting two days of competition.”

    Outside the show ring visitors can see leading butchers showcasing fine products such as sausages, bacon and pies.

    A Christmas Country Fair is being held in the Prestwood Hall promising an array of festive products designed to tempt those shopping for gifts for rural-loving friends and family.

    Tickets for the English Winter Fair are just £10 on the gate and the event starts at 8am on Saturday and Sunday, with judging commencing at 9am.

    For more...
  6. Farm Business RSS
    Created by Farm Business RSS
    Nov 13, 2018 at 4:12 PM
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    Written by JohnSwire

    The Horsch PowerDisc coulter, which debuted on the latest Serto drill, will now be available on the company’s Pronto DC drill. “It has proved highly effective and a popular choice on the Serto for those working heavy land, and we’re pleased to offer it as an option on the 3m, 4m and 6m Pronto DC in 2019,” explains Stephen Burcham, general manager at Horsch UK.

    The PowerDisc coulter uses a parallelogram pivot that enables a pressure of up to 150kg per coulter, which is ideal for operating on heavier land. This proven design ensures that coulter has a more consistent sowing depth and slot closing in these conditions.

    Designed for high-speed precise sowing after plough, mulch sowing or direct seed, the Pronto DC is offers precise depth control thanks to a preconfigured packer system and a choice of high-performance seed coulters.



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  7. Farm Business RSS
    Created by Farm Business RSS
    Nov 13, 2018 at 4:12 PM
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    Written by JohnSwire

    Farmers in England now have the information they need to calculate the value of their 2018 Basic Payment Scheme claim, enabling them to check the accuracy of their payments which are due to start arriving next month.

    The Rural Payments Agency has published details of the value in Euros of each entitlement, including the greening payment. It had previously confirmed that the Sterling value of payments will be worked out using the exchange rate of €1 = 0.89281, the rate set as the average exchange rate over the month of September.

    Charles Garrard, farming consultant in the Chelmsford office of Strutt & Parker, says: “The pieces of the jigsaw have now come together to enable farmers to predict what their gross payment should be for 2018, assuming they have no reductions. For example, the value of non-SDA entitlements, including the greening element, can now be calculated as £231.70/ha (£93.77/acre), which is 73p/ha more than in 2017.

    “However, farmers should remember that financial discipline will be applied to all larger claims, which will cut payments by 1.411917% in 2018, with only the first €2,000 of the BPS payment exempt from this reduction. Claimants should also be aware of reductions to payment claims of over €150,000, for which any payments over this amount are reduced by 5%. Our understanding is that payments will start to arrive in farmers’...
  8. Agriland RSS
    Created by Agriland RSS
    Nov 13, 2018 at 4:12 PM
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    Written by Rachel Martin

    British officials have been able to lower the risk status of a highly infectious poultry disease entering the UK.

    The latest Government assessment reviews Newcastle Disease’s control in Europe.

    During the summer several cases of the disease were reported in Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Sweden.


    Newcastle Disease is one of two notifiable diseases of game birds in the United Kingdom, the other being Avian Influenza. The disease was first reported in the UK in 1963 in pheasants.

    How to spot Newcastle disease


    As the disease develops affected birds may show some of the following signs:

    • Respiratory distress such as a gaping beak, coughing, sneezing, gurgling, rattling;
    • Nervous signs characterised by tremors and paralysis and twisting of the neck;
    • Unusually watery faeces (diarrhoea) that are yellowish-green in colour;
    • Depression;
    • Lack of appetite.

    Affected hens may also suddenly produce fewer eggs. Eggs that are laid may be soft-shelled.

    Defra raised the risk level to the UK to medium in response to the Belgium outbreaks in July 2018,

    At the time, this reflected the unusual nature of the outbreaks, which included a large number in hobbyist poultry keeper premises with possible links to dealers or live bird markets, despite mandatory vaccination of poultry in Belgium.

    The Belgium situation...
  9. Farm Business RSS
    Created by Farm Business RSS
    Nov 13, 2018 at 3:12 PM
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    Written by JohnSwire

    Opico Ltd has announced the appointment of L Evans & Son to their Maschio Gaspardo dealer network in the UK.

    Established in 1924, and conveniently located just outside Hereford, L Evans & Son supplies new and used farm machinery, fruit harvesting equipment and ground care machinery to farmers and contractors across Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and the West Midlands. The dealership will sell the full Maschio Gaspardo tillage line-up of ploughs, cultivators, drills, combination drills and rotovators, as well as the extensive range of Maschio flail mowers.

    Commenting Rob Immink, Maschio Gaspardo’s sales manager said, “We couldn’t be more excited to be represented in the area by such a well-respected agricultural dealer. OPICO have been dealing with L Evans & Son for many years and they know their farmers better than anyone. We are delighted to have them on board.”

    Trevor Jones, managing director at L Evans & Son added, “We have been selling a range of OPICO, HE-VA and Strautmann products under the OPICO umbrella for some time and are delighted to add the Maschio Gaspardo brand to our portfolio. We have a plough, flail mower and a power harrow in stock, and are already taking requests to demonstrate the Maschio plough. Our sales, service and parts teams are fully up-to-speed with the Maschio product range and they can’t wait to get...
  10. Farm Business RSS
    Created by Farm Business RSS
    Nov 13, 2018 at 3:12 PM
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    Written by JohnSwire

    The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) has called for fundamental change in how AHDB is structured, funded and run to strengthen its accountability to levy payers and to ensure that it is delivering value to the agricultural and horticultural sectors.

    TFA National Chairman, James Gray said “The bulk of the funding for AHDB is levied from the profits of hard-working farmers and growers who need to be assured that it is being well spent and delivering value. However, to date, there has been a lack of rigorous, independent evaluation of the activities of AHDB. We need to know that every penny of the levy is used productively”.

    The TFA believes that AHDB’s principal role should be domestic and international market development.

    “Securing routes to market domestically and internationally is vital to the industry, particularly in a post Brexit environment. AHDB should concentrate on this more. We have a vibrant home market, but farmers and growers often have difficulty in finding their place in it to achieve fair returns. The export market must also be a primary development target for AHDB whilst ensuring that the returns from this work benefit farmers and growers directly,” said Mr Gray.

    The TFA has also proposed several other changes to AHDB including the following:

    • Scaling back AHDB’s research programme but making sure that other publicly funded...