FarmWeb News 06/11/2012

Low yields, higher input costs and increased wastage mean that many potato growers are losing money on every tonne.  Harvest is almost three weeks late and with most potatoes grown on fixed price contracts, producers have little scope to recoup their losses.  The average cost of production is estimated at £200/tonne this season.

EU pig production is forecast to fall by 2% next year as producers exit the sector in advance of the introduction of the sow stall ban. Germany, France and Poland are likely to be hardest hit with production down 5%.  Tighter supplies and continuing strong demand from China will keep prices firm. Tesco has announced higher payments to both pig and poultry suppliers.

Sainsbury’s has come in for more criticism following its decision to drop the Red Tractor logo.  Industry bodies and consumers have voiced concern that it will make it more difficult to identify British food products.  Meanwhile, Waitrose has confirmed its support for the logo and called for its profile to be raised.

Charolais bull has sold for a world record 100,000gns (£105,000) at Stirling.  The buyer is the Livestock Capital Company an American concern.  The bull will remain in the UK with the semen exported to the USA.

Farmers Weekly has launched a farming education website, Farmers Weekly Academy.  The Academy is aimed at farmers, farm workers and advisers and looks to build on existing industry training initiatives.

Latest information from the police Plant and Agriculture Intelligence Unit shows tractor thefts have fallen by 47% in the twelve months to June 2012. The fall is mainly due to increased security on tractors and the growing success of the national registration scheme, CESAR.  The unfortunate consequence is that quad bike thefts have risen by 25% as they now present an easier target.

The wet conditions have led to an increase in mud being deposited on rural roads by farm machinery.  Herefordshire has been particularly badly affected and farmers have been warned that they will be prosecuted if accidents are caused.

Figures from the HSE show that there were 33 deaths in agriculture in the last year, a reduction from the previous year (35) but still much higher than any other industry sector.  Non-fatal injuries rose by 9% although under-reporting is thought to exist.