FarmWeb News 31/05/2013

The HSE has warned farmers about the dangers of slurry storage as farms get bigger and the need for more storage rises.  Whilst most deaths and injuries have been caused by falling into the slurry store, there are great dangers in the lethal gases given off when the slurry is disturbed.

A full review of farm tenancy legislation, in Scotland, is to go ahead next year. The number of tenancies has fallen in recent years because of concern that tenants may establish a right to buy.  Many doubt if policies acceptable to both sides will be agreed.

The increasing sophistication of tractors is making them more attractive to thieves with a rising number of incidents of the theft of satellite receivers and display screens.

Rural property continued to be a good investment through 2012 generating a return of 9.9%, mainly via capital appreciation of 8.2%. Over five years, rural property investments have returned 8.9% p.a. compared with 0.7% from commercial, 4.6% from residential and 2.1% from equities.

The poor potato harvest continues to affect supplies and has forced prices up by 100% to over £300/tonne with much higher levels of imports.

The UK isunder increasing pressure from the EU to control TB in cattle.  The UK has the worst record in the EU and the disease remains out of control in South West England and South Wales.  The first trial badger cull is due to start in June with a recent survey showing that the cull was not a big issue for most people.

A Government report shows that greenhouse gas emissions from UK agriculture have fallen by 20% in the last 20 years through efficiency measures.  Agriculture accounts for 9% of total UK emissions.

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate has authorised the use of a new vaccine to counter the Schmallenberg virus in cattle and sheep. The vaccine will be available in the next few weeks.

Under new planning rules introduced on 30th May 2013, agricultural buildings up to 500 sq m can be converted to alternative uses, excluding residential, without the need for planning consent for the change.  This exemption does not apply to listed buildings or those that require structural changes.