Farm News 173

Animal welfare campaigners have alleged that 90% of egg producers in Greece have not yet begun to convert their cages to meet the new welfare standards that come into operation in January 2012. UK producers are concerned that some EU member states are not pursuing the imposition of the new rules and are asking for imports from these areas to be banned.

Farming leaders in Wales have expressed concern that the plans for a badger cull, to help control TB, have lost momentum. The change of government in May has led to a review of the science behind the programme and a subsequent period of inaction.

A proposed new biomass fuelled power station in Holyhead has been given the go-ahead by the government. The station will provide enough power for 300,000 homes. This follows authorisation for two similar sized stations in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire last month.

Strong demand for beef from China, Russia, Brazil and India has pushed up prices in the EU by 18% since January. Demand is likely to continue as exports from both the USA and Argentina have fallen.

Livestock farmers and meat processors have been told that they cannot escape the imposition of the full cost of meat inspections. The £25m cost is to be passed on to the industry by the Food Standards Agency.

The exchange rate for calculating the Single Farm Payment shows a slight increase on last year which will benefit British farmers. The rate is the second highest since the SFP was introduced in 2006.

The 2011 oilseed and cereal harvest looks to be a lot better than the early forecasts. Wheat production has fallen by only 1.5% and the quality is good .Oilseed production has risen by 29% on an increase in acreage planted of 12%.

Milk Link is to expand its creamery in Lockerbie with a £20m investment in the plant. Cheese production will be increased by 50% to 37,000 tonnes, requiring an additional 120m litres of milk. The creamery will be one of the largest and most advanced in the UK. Both Tesco and Arla have announced price increases to producers.

In developed countries government support for agriculture fell to an average of 18% of farm income, in 2010, a record low. In the EU, the level of support was 22% and falling.