FarmWeb News – 20/03/2019

£5.7m of funding has been allocated to help stamp out BVD, a disease amongst cattle that is estimated to cost the industry over £60m per year in lost performance with 90% of herds having had exposure to it. The campaign will be led by 120 veterinary practices across England covering up to 8,000 farmers.

Singapore is the latest target for UK agricultural exports, post-Brexit, with an increased presence at a recent meat and dairy exhibition. Singapore is already the UK’s largest trading partner in the area with two-thirds of exports, to the region, flowing through it. Dairy exports rose by 55%, last year, to £7.8m with red meat products at £2.7m.

The latest figures on global pig meat exports shows more evidence of the importance of trade with non-EU countries for the sector. Exports to 97 countries grew by £19m to £490m in 2018 continuing a decade of sustained growth with China as the biggest customer. Exports to the EU rose slightly to £24m.

The rapid development of drone technology is making them more attractive to farmers. Drones are particularly effective for monitoring crops and animals and are relatively cheap. However, farmers are warned that they need to be aware of their legal and insurance liabilities when operating drones and how these will change if they carry out work for others on a commercial basis.

A survey of 43 police forces disclosed that there were 381 incidents of sheep rustling in 2018 involving almost 10,000 sheep, a rise of 6% on the previous year. The most worrying aspect was that only one prosecution was brought, by Herefordshire.

A consultation on strategic water planning indicates a shift in Government policy towards regional plans formulated by the stakeholders in the areas, in which farming representatives would play a part. Farming leaders have expressed concern at a proposal that water abstraction licences could be revoked, without compensation, if the environment was at risk.