FarmWeb News 23/07/2013

Following investment in automotive and other key industries, the government has announced the £160m Agricultural Technologies Strategy.  The aim of the Strategy is to ensure that agricultural research and science remain world leading.

The Ensus bioethanol plant on Teesside opened in 2010 and has been plagued by technical and marketing problems since. It has now been bought by Crop Energies of Germany with a plan to invest £50m in improvements and move production up to economic levels. The plant is one of the largest in Europe. Meanwhile, MEPs are proposing a cap on the production of biofuels from sugar, cereals and oilseeds that would threaten producers across Europe.

A Welsh Government enquiry into the livestock losses caused by the severe winter weather has found that contingency plans did not exist for dealing with them. The enquiry is likely to recommend that insurance schemes be set up to cover future losses rather than the cost falling on the taxpayer.

Twenty years ago the EU was spending over €10bn per year supporting exports of agricultural products into the world market. This has gradually been reduced over the years and the last remaining support, for poultrymeat, has now been removed.

The BBC has announced a new series of three programmes covering the science and techniques behind the growing of the main crops. The series, called “Harvest” is scheduled for screening in September.

Milk producer numbers, in Great Britain, fell by 1.65% during 2012 but have already fallen by 1.2%, so far, this year. There are now 11,542 producers, down from almost 23,000 ten years ago.

The seed company, Monsanto, has said it will no longer seek to develop any GM crops in Europe because of the EU negative attitude to the science. It has warned that GM continues to expand globally. Monsanto will concentrate on its substantial conventional seed business in Europe.

The latest TB figures from DEFRA show that 12,006 cattle were slaughtered in the first four months of this year, a 2% reduction on the same period in 2012.

Farmers along the proposed route of HS2 can now make claims for compensation following the official “safeguarding” of the route. Compulsory purchase of the land needed for the line is likely to happen in 2016 if the project goes ahead.