Agriculture in the news - March 13

A round-up of agricultural news from across the UK.

SBV continues relentless spread northwards

SCHMALLENBERG Virus (SBV) has moved right to the periphery of areas identified as being at risk from midge infection.

The virus has been confirmed in the English Midlands with the number of cases now standing at 158 across 20 counties. Despite the discovery of infection in Leicestershire and Lincolnshire, counties previously considered at ‘low risk’, government vets insist the pattern fits existing models for transmission by midges from Northern Europe last year.

Daily Post

Beef prices will fall ‘if countries ban EU meat over virus outbreak’

EU beef prices may fall from their record highs — along with reduced demand for lamb and pork — if non-EU countries react to the Schmallenberg virus outbreak by banning European meat, Rabobank International has warned.

Irish Examiner

MPs fear lab cuts raise farm virus risks

Plans to cut back on animal disease surveillance will leave the countryside vulnerable to future outbreaks, an influential committee of MPs has warned.

The Efra committee has written to Farming Minister Jim Paice saying that it had uncovered “worrying evidence” about the effect of proposed closures of animal health laboratories.

Yorkshire Post

IFA warns farmers to ensure all imported animals are disease-free

Farmers need to be extremely vigilant to ensure that all animals imported into Ireland are disease-free, IFA president John Bryan has warned.

Based on analysis undertaken by the Department of Agriculture, the IFA understands that a high prevalence

Irish Examiner

Low egg prices ‘crippling’ Welsh laying sector

FREE-range egg producers need to see a significant increase in the price they receive to maintain long-term supplies, NFU Cymru has said.

Welsh producers were battling rising costs, low egg prices and over-supply even before the Welfare of Laying Hens Directive was introduced in January, said the union.

Daily Post

Growing demand for milk helps push up prices for farmers

Demand for milk is at last putting cash-strapped dairy farmers on the front foot – and they are being advised to shop around for the best payments for their milk from the dairies.

In the Westcountry processors are paying as much as the average price of production for the milk they buy, though the Plymouth-based farmer co-op Milk Link makes up payments with various increments.

Plymouth Evening Herald

Premier Foods secures its future under deal with lenders

THE future of the company behind household favourites such as Hovis, Ambrosia and Mr Kipling has been secured under a crucial deal to renew more than £1billion of loans.

Premier Foods, the UK’s largest food manufacturer, has hammered out a deal with its banks, including part-nationalised lenders Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland, which will see its repayment deadline extended from December 2013 to June 2016.

East Anglian Daily Times

Dog attack causes 35 in-lamb ewes to die in ditch

THIRTY-FIVE sheep that were in lamb suffocated and drowned in a ditch after being cornered in a field by a dog in Mid Wales, police have revealed.

Dyfed-Powys Police Sergeant Matthew Howells, who represents the force on rural and wildlife matters, said the incident was one of several calls received in recent weeks of sheep being worried and killed by dogs.

Wales Online

Leicestershire farmer takes fly-tipped rubbish back to where he believes it came from

A farmer took the law into his own hands after discovering piles of fly-tipped rubbish on his land – by tipping it back at the gates at the place he believes it came from.

Charles White, who farms land around Cropston, near Anstey, found large heaps of catering waste on his land in Bradgate Road on Thursday. Mr White contacted Charnwood Borough Council and sent them images of the rubbish, which included numerous envelopes and letters addressed to the former Coombs & Son bakers site in Claymill Road, Leicester.

Then on Sunday, after picking up all the mess and putting it into a tractor trailer, Mr White drove to the headquarters of Coombs & Son, which went out of business last summer, and unloaded the rubbish on the company’s land, outside the front gates.

Leicester Mercury

Plymouthpolice target deer poachers

IT’S cold, wet and miserable – ideal deer poaching weather around Plymouth according to police.

Acting Sgt Ryan Canning is a patrol officer but has the additional role of wildlife crime officer – and due to rising costs, poaching is as lucrative a business as it ever was. In addition, Sgt Canning said there has been a rise in general rural acquisitive crime, with everything and anything fair game for crooks, from farming equipment to fuel and crops to livestock.

Plymouth Herald

Whole milk is healthier than skimmed and baked potatoes make you fat… Why what you thought you knew about healthy food is wrong

Who would have thought shopping for food could be so hard? Wander around any supermarket and you’ll be bombarded with packaging plastered with nutrition labels and ‘helpful’ logos to help you assess the healthiness, or otherwise, of their contents.

At the same time, your head is probably spinning with the confusing messages of health experts and watchdogs. One minute, they’re telling us to avoid eggs because of cholesterol, the next, we’re told eggs are fine after all as the cholesterol found in food does not lead to heart disease. In fact, some dietary cholesterol is actually essential for maintaining health.

Daily Mail—Why-thought-knew-healthy-food-wrong.html#ixzz1ozJQi05e

Farmer fears drought will kill crops as Kent braced for hosepipe ban

A fruit farmer fears crops could be lost if Kent does not get rain soon.

As the county prepares for a hosepipe ban to tackle the worsening drought, John Myatt is struggling with water resources at an all-time low.

Kent Messenger

Midhurst and Petworth farmers hope for rain

Farmers and growers in the Midhust and Petworth area are pinning their hopes on heavy rain for the rest of March in a bid to avert a water crisis later this summer.

Midhurst and Petworth Observer

NFU president flies in for Westcountry visit

Newly re-elected president of the National Farmers’ Union, Peter Kendall, is paying a one-day visit to Cornwall and North Devon tomorrow.

The prices paid to dairy farmers for their milk, the long-awaited appointment of a retail adjudicator to see fair play for farmer-suppliers to the big supermarket chains and the controversial pilot badger culls later this year are expected to be subjects raised when he meets farmers at four separate locations, after flying in to Newquay Airport.

Western Morning News

Contrasting fortunes for two whisky distilleries

TWO of Scotland’s foreign-owned whisky distilleries came under the spotlight yesterday after Tomatin unveiled a banking deal with HSBC and sales growth slowed at Glen Grant.

The Scotsman

Farmers’ service is rewarded

LONG-SERVING agriculture workers can follow in the footsteps of a Farnsfield farmer at this year’s Newark & Nottinghamshire County Show.

John Whitbread, who had completed 48 years’ service on one farm, walked away with the Long Service (Single Farm) Award in 2011 and nominations can now be made for this year’s award.

People can also make nominations for the Service to Agriculture Medal ahead of the show on 12th-13th May.

Mansfield Chad

Skinny genes – how GM food may help you stave off obesity

Scientists are experimenting with modifying foods as a low-cost answer to health problems, including obesity and zinc deficiency

The Guardian

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