FarmWeb News 23/01/2012

The storms earlier this month have caused damage estimated at £5m to property in rural areas.

DEFRA has announced the location of the two trial badger cull areas.  The first is in West Gloucestershire, covering areas mainly in the Forest of Dean and Tewkesbury but extending to Wychavon, Malvern Hills and South East Herefordshire.  The second area is West Somerset and Taunton Deane.  Exact maps will not be published nor will the participants be identified.  The cull is due to start in the autumn.  Farmers have welcomed the announcement and there is unlikely to be any legal challenge to it, at this stage.

The number of herds in Wales under TB restrictions increased to 140 per month in 2011 compared to 114 per month in 2010.  Average compensation has fallen by 25% to £1,500 since 2006.  The Welsh Assembly is still considering how to best tackle the disease.

An indication of the tight margins in the poultry industry is given in the latest results from the major poultry processor, Faccenda.  Despite a rise in sales of 14%, to £313m, profits fell to £2.6m.  Faccenda runs a fully integrated operation taking poultry from day-old to table-ready.

A firm of consultants has warned that sterling is likely to continue to strengthen against the euro in the absence of a longer term solution to the eurozone problems.  This will make farm exports to Europe more expensive and food imports cheaper and more attractive to UK buyers.

The continuing opposition to GM from the EU and protest groups has led the German chemical group, BASF, to announce the cessation of its scientific research in Europe and its transfer to the USA where the attitude is more positive.

The seriousness of flouting cattle movement regulations has been highlighted in a recent court case with a farmer being fined £18,000 for failing to record and report the movement of cattle onto and off his farm.

The takeover of Robert Wiseman Dairies by the multinational, Muller, is likely to go ahead.  Wiseman provides almost one-third of the fresh milk consumed in Britain.  The £280m takeover has the support of the Wiseman board.