FarmWeb News 09/05/2013

The poor quality of UK wheat, currently on the market, has forced Weetabix to cut production of some of its cereal ranges.  The company is committed to sourcing UK wheat but the quality and quantity was adversely affected by growing conditions last year.  UK wheat imports generally, are likely to have doubled to over 2m tonnes by the end of June 2013.

The latest figures from DEFRA show a 14% fall in the total income from UK farming to £4.7bn in 2012.  The figure reflects a rise in costs, a fall in output and changes in direct subsidies.  The fall is being blamed on the poor weather with little improvement being forecast for 2013.

The Great Yorkshire Show is spending more than £3m on improving the roads, drainage and car parking following the curtailment of the 2012 show after the first day, resulting in an estimated loss of £2m.

Farmers have called for more education and action to reduce the incidence of sheep worrying which costs the industry £1m each year.  The number of reported attacks rose to 739 last year with Cumbria being the worst affected.

The EU has pushed through a ban on three neonicotinoids despite opposition from several member states including the UK.  The chemicals are cited as one of the reasons for a decline in bee numbers, but scientific opinion is divided and some bee farmers doubt the move is the answer.  The ban takes effect on 1st December 2013.

The full extent of the loss of farm animals due to the freezing weather is emerging with the figure reaching 100,000. This figure will rise again as more data is collected.

Both Dairy Crest and the Co-op have increased the price they pay producers for milk to over 31p/litre. Processors are vying to attract producers with better prices and volume incentives.

The EU has fined the UK €10.3m for non-compliance with the rules on animal identification and monitoring.  The UK fine is part of total penalties of €230m applied across the whole EU for various rule breaches.

Both beef and lamb prices have risen over the past two weeks against the usual seasonal trend. Supplies remain tight with a shortage of quality animals at market. The top price at Carlisle mart for a pedigree Limousin bull reached 40,000 guineas last week.