FarmWeb News 23/08/2012

DEFRA has released details of its proposed plan for the regulation of pesticide use in the UK.  The plan will ensure that the UK abides by all EU directives and relies on voluntary schemes to meet this target.  The proposals have been broadly welcomed by the industry and criticised by some nature campaigners as not being tough enough.

The slow ripening of crops and continual showers are holding up harvest in many areas.  Quality and yields are mixed with wheat and oilseed looking poor.  These factors, together with drought problems elsewhere in the world, helped push UK wheat prices through the £200/tonne level on futures markets.

Dairy farmers are continuing their protests over the price they are paid for milk, with both processors and retailers being targeted.  A conference has been held to discuss the setting up of producer organisations that would give farmers more power in their price negotiations with processors.  The Government is keen to see such a move and is providing financial support.

The Ensus bioethanol plant on Teesside is reopening after a 15 month shut down.  The plant, the largest wheat based processor in Europe, closed due to adverse trading conditions which have now improved following the ban on the import of subsidised US ethanol.  The plant will process 1m tonnes of locally grown wheat per year.

A shortage of land for sale is pushing average prices in England towards £9,000/acre.  Sales usually peak in the second quarter but the amount of land for sale fell by 40% this year compared to 2011.  Land sales are at their lowest for five years.

TB has been identified in another herd in Dumfriesshire, Scotland; the last incident was in April 2012.  Scotland remains officially TB free and these two outbreaks should not jeopardise that status.

The Government has announced an investment of £6.7m to create two Rural Growth Networks in Cumbria, Northumberland and Durham.  The Networks will generate new businesses and support existing ones leading to the creation of 1200 new jobs in these areas.