Farm News 168

The RPA has announced that over 99% of English farmers received their Single Farm Payment before the EU deadline of 30th June. This means that the Agency will not incur any late payment fines under EU rules as in previous years.

Harvest is starting to get underway in the south east counties of England. Winter barley on light lands is showing reduced yields but farmers are more optimistic for better results on heavier soils.

Dairy Crest is seeking to expand its milk production by recruiting new producers and offering existing ones an incentive for higher volumes through to March 2013. Increases are expected from other processors in the coming weeks.

DEFRA has launched a £10m fund to support the building of new anaerobic digestion plants, with grants of £50,000+. The aim is to divert 300,000 tonnes of food waste from landfill. Meanwhile a poultry farm in Hereford is set to switch on a plant that will use 1,700 tonnes of manure annually to produce power for the farm and 450 homes.

Overall returns from investments in tenanted farmland were 9% in 2010, a recent survey has revealed. Most of the return was in the form of capital appreciation with rental income accounting for only 1.6%.

The EU is proposing that the CAP be fixed at €371bn for the funding period 2014 to 2020. In addition, it is likely that 30% of the fund will be directed towards mandatory measures to improve the environment. EU auditors have criticised the subsidy system for being too complex and for allowing money to go to those not directly involved in farming.

Wool prices have reached a 25 year high, driven by increasing demand and tight world supplies. The UK price has trebled since 2008 but still only covers the cost of shearing. Almost 70% of UK wool is exported.

A second case of TB has been confirmed in Cumbria, close to where the first outbreak was found. Tests are underway to ascertain if the two cases are linked and if the disease is now present in local wildlife.