FarmWeb News – 25/11/2013

The good autumn planting conditions are predicted to lead to a more normal crop mix for the 2014 harvest. The area of wheat is forecast to rise by 22%, winter barley by 55% and oilseed rape by 3% with corresponding falls in spring plantings. The increased wheat plantings should see the UK return to the export market.

After a four year slump in sales, the organic sector in the UK is again producing positive results. Sales have been rising through 2013 with September showing a 2% increase on last year.

The Government has confirmed its intention to repeat the badger culls in 2014. Answering criticism from the Opposition the Government cited the success of similar culls in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand in controlling and eradicating TB. The NFU (E&W) has called for changes in the way culls are organised in the light of experience gained from the two trials.

Farming unions and the CLA have united in a call for DEFRA to suspend the proposal to allocate 15% of CAP funds to wider rural development projects (modulation) from 2015. The 15% is the maximum allowable under CAP rules and critics argue it should start at 9% and be phased in. At this stage, it looks unlikely that any other EU state will allocate the maximum.

The National Sheep Association has criticised the decision to ban visual ear tags, in England, from 2015 in favour of electronic ones. All lambs under 12 months old will need electronic tags even if they are going straight from their farm of birth to slaughter. The change is estimated to cost English farmers £1.8m. Electronic tagging is already in force in Scotland but Wales has yet to decide how to move forward.

Tenant farmers of the National Trust have accused the organisation of increasing rents to unsustainable levels. The TFA has reported a large increase in complaints from tenants.

The Scottish Government has announced the team of experts that will assist it in its review of tenanted holdings. The review will look at the future policy and legislation needed to secure a thriving tenanted sector. The move has been welcomed by tenant farmers.

Despite the continuing decline in dairy farmer numbers, milk production in October reached a ten-year high of 1.09bn litres, an increase of 10% on 2012. Much of the increase is down to better quality forage following improved weather conditions.