1. The Guardian RSS
    Created by The Guardian RSS
    Dec 11, 2017 at 6:02 AM

    Mass starvation is humanity’s fate if we keep flogging the land to death | George Monbiot

    Written by George Monbiot

    The Earth cannot accommodate our need and greed for food. We must change our diet before it’s too late
    Brexit; the crushing of democracy by billionaires; the next financial crash; a rogue US president: none of them keeps me awake at night. This is not because I don’t care – I care very much. It’s only because I have a bigger question on my mind. Where is all the food going to come from?

    By the middle of this century there will be two or three billion more people on Earth. Any one of the issues I am about to list could help precipitate mass starvation. And this is before you consider how they might interact.

    Related: Goodbye – and good riddance – to livestock farming | George Monbiot

    I am plagued by visions of starving people seeking to escape from grey wastes

    Related: Animal agriculture is choking the Earth and making us sick. We must act now | James Cameron and Suzy Amis Cameron...
  2. News
    Created by News
    Dec 8, 2017 at 9:54 AM

    Farming is not so different across the channel

    A group of 15 farmers in the AHDB Monitor Farm programme crossed the channel to visit French farmers – and discovered the grass isn’t greener on the other side.

    AHDB Monitor Farms bring together groups of farmers who want to improve their businesses by sharing performance information and best practice around a nationwide network of more than 30 host farms. Monitor Farms are part of AHDB’s wider Farm Excellence Platform, which works with the industry to improve performance through knowledge exchange and benchmarking.

    The farmers from the west of England and Wales toured cereal growers and co-operatives in the northern French wheat belt to find out about their challenges and share experiences.

    Martin Williams, one of the hosts of the Hereford Monitor Farm, said: “If you feel the issues are easier or the profits greater on the other side of the channel then think again. Apart from language, the conversations held could have been in any farming group in Britain.

    “The costs of production on a 10t/ha wheat crop are identical, the cost of chemicals too are near identical, which was surprising when we are told the pound/euro situation is the cause of our prices.

    “This was a fascinating cultural exchange of knowledge. A superb visit.”

    AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager Richard Meredith led the Monitor Farm group visit...
  3. Farming Monthly National RSS
    Created by Farming Monthly National RSS
    Dec 7, 2017 at 2:52 PM

    Written by FM Web Editor

    Winter pea – cereal mixture plots at Balruddery Farm. Picture credit : DIVERSify

    The Organic Research Centre, a leading independent research charity, is inviting UK farmers to participate in a new EU-funded project called DIVERSify which is investigating how to maximise the performance of crop mixtures (or plant teams) to improve yields while reducing the reliance on inputs.

    Dr Bruce Pearce from the Organic Research Centre said, “It is estimated that we will need a 70% growth in food production by 2050 to feed the rapidly increasing global population. Although crop yields increased post 1950 through agricultural advances and farming inputs, these are now starting to plateau.”

    With this in mind, a new EU-funded project called DIVERSify has been established to investigate the design of innovative mixtures of crop species to improve the performance of crop yields while reducing pest and disease damage. The project consortium of 23 EU and International partners is co-ordinated in the UK by the James Hutton Institute. Other UK partners are the Organic Research Centre (ORC) and Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF).

    Intercropping with plant teams is the concept of growing two or more crops together in the same space and time, such as growing a barley with a pea mixture or...
  4. Farming Monthly National RSS
    Created by Farming Monthly National RSS
    Dec 7, 2017 at 2:52 PM

    Written by FM Web Editor


    UK trade body the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) will today launch its pioneering AD Certification Scheme at the ADBA National Conference 2017 in London.

    The voluntary, industry-led scheme is designed to support operators of AD plants, including those based on farms, to improve their operational, environmental, and health and safety performance, in particular in terms of energy generation and digestate quality.

    ADBA has developed the scheme, working closely with industry stakeholders including operators, developers, consultants, suppliers, insurers, regulators and other trade bodies related to the sector, who have all voiced their support for such a certification process. The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and CLA have contributed to ensuring the scheme is suitable for farmers who operate AD plants.

    The scheme includes detailed assessment criteria that will allow third-party certification bodies to verify the achievement of good practice at AD plants, and is the most comprehensive of its type.

    The scheme pilot was completed in September this year, with one on-farm plant, one food waste plant, and one on-site plant for a food manufacturer taking part.

    ADBA Chief Executive Charlotte Morton said:

    “Investing in an AD plant is a great way for...
  5. Farming Monthly National RSS
    Created by Farming Monthly National RSS
    Dec 7, 2017 at 12:32 PM

    Written by FM Web Editor

    Agroforestry – image: Woodland Trust

    Environment Secretary Michael Gove has given a strong indication that the Government’s 25 year plan for the environment, due in the New Year, will tackle the issue of woefully low tree planting.

    Speaking at the Woodland Trust’s parliamentary launch on Wednesday (December 6) of a series of essays outlining its vision for a post Brexit integrated land use policy, the Secretary of State said:

    “There is a responsibility for us to plant for the future. Compare us to the rest of Europe and the amount of woodland cover we have is pathetically small. The rates of tree planting in the UK, and England in particular, have not been good enough.

    “There is a beauty and a poetry to a landscape decorated and indeed rooted with trees. If we have a care for our environment and if we have a view of this country that goes beyond the utilitarian and the practical, and which is viewed in a proper sense of beauty and romance and history and a desire to ensure future generations can enjoy what past generations have cherished, then we need to plant more trees.

    “And with the publication of our 25 Year Plan for the Environment in the New Year, I hope we can say more on how we intend to meet that ambition. But we won’t be able to meet that ambition without the...