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Farming

FUW Breakfasts are champion

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THE FUW’s Farmhouse Breakfast Week (Jan 21-Jan 17) was a huge success, raising money for Alzheimer’s Society Cymru and the Faming Community Network.

In Carmarthenshire, events were held on Thursday, January 24 at Llanddeusant village hall and Friday, January 25 at Llanarthney village hall.

“It was about showcasing the most important meal of the day in a bid to raise awareness of the health and nutritional benefits of breakfast and the huge variety of top quality farm produce available in Wales.

“We loved having everyone there and I thank all those who supported us this year either by cooking, sponsoring produce or helping us raise money for our worthy charities,” said FUW Carmarthen CEO David Waters.
The breakfasts rais
ed a fantastic £820 – with all the proceeds being split between Alzheimer’s Society Cymru and Farming Community Network.

David Waters added: “It was great to have members and friends of the Union coming together, being a part of what we do, and sharing their thoughts and worries about the state of the industry, telling us their stories and helping us to understand how we can help each other.

“What better way to do that than around a table where we share great food and have a cup of tea. I’m already looking forward to next year’s breakfast events.”

The Carmarthenshire branch would like to thank, Castell Foods Ltd, DC and SM Davies, Cwmcowddu Farm, for donating the food for Llanddeusant Hall and the cooking at Llanddeusant Hall by Meinir Davies, Catrin Price, Bethan Thomas and Joyce Owens.

The Branch also thanked Rhosyn Farm Products for cooking and supplying the food at Llanarthney Village Hall.

The Pembrokeshire branch also hosted two farmhouse breakfast functions.

The breakfasts were held on Tuesday, January 22 at Canolfan Hermon, Hermon and Friday, January 25 at Crundale Hall and were joined by Heather Harrison and Maxine Ford, who work for Alzheimer’s Society Cymru covering all of Pembrokeshire offering support and information about dementia.

The breakfasts also raised a fantastic amount of money for the FUW President’s charity appeal – just under £1,200 – with all the proceeds being split between Alzheimer’s Society Cymru and Farming Community Network.

“We were delighted that Heather and Maxine joined us for breakfast as well, which gave our members the chance to have chat about Dementia.

“It was great to have members and friends of the Union coming together, being a part of what we do, and sharing their thoughts and worries about the state of the industry, telling us their stories and helping us to understand how we can help each other,” added Rebecca Voyle.

The County office wishes to thank Brooksgrove Farm, Calon Wen, Carn Edward, Messrs Curtis, Langdon Farm, Fred Hughes & Son Butchers, Hywel Vaughan, Llwyncelyn, Melony Richards, FUW Insurance Services, Morrisons, Haverfordwest, Messrs Rogers, Coland Rise and Tesco, Haverfordwest who sponsored the breakfast.

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Farming

Big Farmland Bird Count returns

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JIM EGAN has sent out a rallying cry for people to pick up their binoculars and go bird-spotting for the Big Farmland Bird Count (BFBC) which returns on Friday, February 8.

The passionate organiser of the count, organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), is urging farmers, land managers, gamekeepers and all wildlife enthusiasts to spend 30 minutes recording what species they see on their patch of land from February 8th to the 17th.

Your support will help identify the farmland birds that are flourishing due to good conservation methods and ones in need of most support.

“It would be fantastic to see even more farmers to take part in the count this year,” said Jim.

“Counting birds on farms is a great way to recognise what species are there as well as being an opportunity to take time out and see the benefits of work such as wild seed mix and supplementary feeding.

“Taking part and submitting results enables us at GWCT to shout about the important conservation work many farmers are doing.

“We want landowners to be proud of their efforts. We will make sure that the public and policymakers hear about what can be achieved on Britain’s farms. The BFBC is a very positive way to showcase what can be achieved.”

Backing this vital citizen-science project, running for the sixth successive year, is the NFU, which is this year’s sponsor.

President Minette Batters is vowing her support to the count by going bird-watching on her farm in Downton, Wiltshire.

She will be joined on day one with GWCT biodiversity advisor Pete Thompson, an advocate of the count, both of whom will be ready with their binoculars, notepads and sharpened pencils, recording what they see.

“I am delighted to be taking part in this year’s GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count which the NFU is pleased to be sponsoring for the very first time,” she said.

“It’s becoming an important national event where thousands of farmers and growers around the country are able to take stock of and importantly, take pride in what they find on their land.

“The NFU supports initiatives like the Big Farmland Bird Count as without sound management of the environment, enhancement of habitats, protection of wildlife and support for pollinators and soils, we do not have farming businesses.

“So, I would encourage all farmers to take part, and also remember to submit your records to the GWCT, so we can pull together a vital national snapshot of the state of the nation when it comes to farmland birds.”

A record-breaking 1,000 people took part in last year’s count, recording 121 species across 950,000 acres.

A total of 25 red-listed species were recorded, with five appearing in the 25 most commonly seen species list. These include fieldfares, starlings, house sparrows, song thrushes and yellowhammers. The most plentiful of these were fieldfares and starlings, which were seen on nearly 40% of the farms taking part.

At the end of the count, the results will be analysed by the Trust. All participants will receive a report on the national results once they have been collated.

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Farming

OSR yields hit

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KLEFFMANN GROUP, a leading global market research organisation who conducts farmer surveys and panels throughout the world, has identified from its GB Winter Oilseed rape panel this year, that there has been a significant loss of this year’s planted area, with large regional differences being observed.

The group panel consists of 403 UK rape growers and calculates an original planted area in autumn 2018 of 581,030 hectares of winter rape. (The AHDB early bird survey is consistent with this figure at 582,000 hectares) However, 68 farmers have reported failed crops amounting to 6.28% of the total original planted area. This is 36,000 hectares lost. In the 2017/18 season, the percentage loss was just 1.62% so autumn 2018 has been much more hostile to rape survival by a factor of nearly 4 times.

The farmer survey has identified different proportions of hybrid and conventional variety adoption over a number of years. For the first time in many recent years, it appears that there is nearly a 50:50 proportion between hybrids and conventional rape varieties being sown on farm (285, 000 hectares of conventional varieties and 294,000 of hybrid varieties).

The survey shows a clear difference in failed crops by breeding method. In conventional varieties the area lost was 7.52% (21,400ha) of the area planted and of the restored hybrid varieties 5.16% of the crop planted (15,170ha) were lost.

Significant regional differences were also noted; Scotland, for example, had the lowest area of oilseed rape lost at just 0.91% of the original planted area, closely followed by the North East Region at 1.36%. The South East Region had the highest area of failed crop at 12.60%, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber Region at 9.75%. Between these extremes are the remaining regions; East Midlands suffered 3.5% loss, South West 4.34%, West Midlands (5.34%) and Eastern (7.29%).

Losses in cropping area have risen in comparison to the year 2018, where the crop failure amounted to just 1.62% of the original planted crop. Reasons for the crop losses are varied and include cabbage stem flea beetle damage (Neonicotinoids seed treatments are no longer permitted now and pyrethroid resistance in CSFB adults developing), poor establishment and in some regions, a lack of moisture has hindered germination.

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Farming

New Flock and Herd Health Officers

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HYBU Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) has appointed two new Flock and Herd Health Officers to its ambitious five-year Red Meat Development Programme, designed to equip Wales’s lamb and beef industry for a changing future.

The posts are key to delivering the programme’s commitment to helping farmers achieve on-farm efficiency and drive best practice in proactive animal health planning.

The programme is supported by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Lowri Reed hails from a farming background near Llanon in central Ceredigion, whereas Lowri Williams is from Llanfihangel y Creuddyn near Aberystwyth, and is a graduate in Animal Management and Welfare from Harper Adams University.

Dr Rebekah Stuart, the coordinator of the Flock and Herd Health Project at HCC, said: “We’re delighted to have recruited two officers with experience and knowledge of agriculture and flock management to this important strand of work.

“There are few things that can have as great an impact on the efficiency and bottom line of a livestock enterprise as a proactive and coordinated approach to animal health and eradicating disease.

“The project will help farmers to work with vets to put health plans in place and monitor their effectiveness. Since opening an initial expression of interest window late last year at the Winter Fair, we’re encouraged by how many farmers are keen to be involved. We look forward to working with them to put this exciting project into action.”

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