FarmWeb News – 26/04/2019

An announcement from the Department for Transport on E10 fuel is expected later this year. The fuel contains 10% bioethanol made from feed wheat and is used in the USA and elsewhere in Europe. Ahead of this announcement an all-party group of MPs has launched an inquiry to promote its introduction which will support farmers, improve the environment and help stabilise the UK bioethanol industry which is currently struggling to survive.

The world’s largest second-hand farm machinery dealer is based in the UK and it is reporting that the market is currently buoyant. Stock levels are up over 30% as farmers seek to take advantage of high prices, with sales showing an 11% increase in the first quarter compared to 2018. The main buyers are from Ireland, Spain and Eastern Europe with increasing interest from African and Middle-Eastern countries.

The latest figures from Defra show that the agri-food sector contributes almost £122bn to the UK economy, a rise of 8%. In 2018, exports increased by 2.5% to £22.6bn. The number of people employed in the sector now exceeds four million.

The amount of farmland, across Britain, coming onto the market in the first quarter of 2019 was the lowest for 25 years at 10,400 acres. This was 28% less than 2018 and 40% less than the 10-year average. Whilst there is no shortage of buyers, the current Brexit and financial uncertainties are dampening the supply and little change is forecast.

The milk processor, Arla, has announced that its price to producers for May deliveries will remain unchanged. Current prices for conventional milk are 30.23p/litre and for organic 41.98p/litre. Arla’s view is that the European market for both types is stable, presently, with prices on the world market higher than those in Europe.

Farmers are reminded that the deadline for applications for the Basic Payments Scheme is 15th May 2019. Despite the current political uncertainty, the Scheme rules and application process have only minor changes pending completion of the passage of the delayed Agriculture Bill.