Farmweb News 20/11/2012

UK milk production continues to decline with October down 6.5% on last year. So far the year on year fall is almost 2.3% despite price increases to producers.

Whilst EU budget negotiations continue there are indications that the agricultural sector will be hit harder than first thought. A compromise paper from the President contains deeper cuts to agricultural and rural support. The budget is unlikely to be agreed before the January 2013 deadline.

There have been further incidents of sheep being butchered in the field, by thieves, in Greater Manchester and Devon. The theft of sheep, in general, is on the rise, driven by high retail meat prices and costs farmers over £6m annually.

The Dept of Energy is consulting stakeholders on the future of Wayleave payments made to landowners for access to their land by the utility companies, for power lines and the like. There is concern that the life span of agreements will be lengthened or made permanent with income being reduced, leading to an adverse effect on land values.

The HSE has begun its Safety and Health Awareness Days programme for farmers with the first five being oversubscribed. A further 22 such days are planned.

As part of its global restructuring plans ING UK is to pull out of the agricultural leasing market in the UK. No new deals will be signed after 30th November and the existing book will be run off.

Tesco has announced the offer of 36 month contracts to pig and beef producers in its Sustainable Farming Groups. Premium prices will be paid together with regular reviews of input costs. Tesco sources 75% of beef and 66% of fresh pork from UK producers.

It is likely that a vaccine against the Schmallenberg virus, which causes birth defects in new born lambs and calves, will become available later this year. Signs of the virus, which arrived recently from the continent, have been found across the UK.

The Government is expected to announce the appointment of the Grocery Codes Adjudicator before the end of the year. The legislation to enable his powers should be in place early in 2013. The Adjudicator will be funded by a levy on the largest retailers.

A new research programme to find a more effective vaccine against foot-and-mouth disease has been announced. The programme has £5.6m in funding and will run for five years. Existing vaccines are difficult to administer and have a limited use.