FarmWeb News 14/02/2013

The Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) has been resurrected following its fall into administration in 2011.  The Group is working with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) and aims to expand to cover the whole country in due course.

Over 100,000 machines are now covered by CESAR security following its start in 2009.  More manufacturers are fitting it as standard, including John Deere, Massey Ferguson and JCB.

Most farms in England will see a fall in income for the twelve months ending February 2013, according to DEFRA.  For arable farms the fall will be 11% but for livestock and dairy farmers it could be as much as 52%.  High input costs and the wet weather have been major factors.

The CAP budget is forecast to fall by 10% following an outline agreement on the overall EU budget.  Payments to UK farmers are likely to be directly affected but a payment cap, for larger farmers, will probably not be applied in the UK. The CAP should be finalised in June.

DEFRA is investing £20m in a range of courses covering business, marketing and IT.  The courses are offered through the Rural Development Programme with 70% of the cost being subsidised by DEFRA.

The EU has stated that an effective vaccine against TB is unlikely to be available before 2023.  Vaccination of cattle is currently banned in the EU; there is no test to differentiate between vaccinated animals and those with the disease.  Meanwhile, the cost of the Welsh Government scheme to vaccinate badgers has been disclosed as £662 per badger, so far.

The wet weather continues to affect work on the land with autumn sowings reported to be 20% down on last year.  Land left fallow seems set to rise by one-third as farmers on heavy wet land seriously consider this option.

Barclays Bank is to exit some of its agricultural trading operations as part of the drive to clean up its image.  The Bank, along with other financial institutions has been criticised in the past for speculating in agricultural products leading to price rises.