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    Jul 15, 2019 at 11:12 AM

    Telegraph: The Environment Secretary on government reforms to boost recycling

    Written by Defra Press Office

    Photo credit: Getty Images

    There is coverage in the Telegraph today (15 July) as part of their ‘Zero Waste’ campaign, which reports that more than two thirds of the packaging in consumers' weekly shops is not recyclable or has confusing labelling. The findings come from a snapshot survey in which the paper monitored the weekly shop of four families from major supermarkets, and featuring the experience of the Rutherfords who live in Notting Hill.

    The coverage notes that the Environment Secretary has pledged to introduce consistent recycling collections, as well as clear labelling, so households know what they can recycle.

    Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

    “I commend the Telegraph for shining a spotlight on this important issue. The experiences of these families is an all too familiar one for lots of households across the country.

    “Supermarkets have a clear responsibility to cut unnecessary packaging, but we are also fully committed to playing our part as the government.

    “That’s why I have set out ambitious plans to end the...
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    Jul 15, 2019 at 11:12 AM

    New Defra Chief Scientist appointed

    Written by Defra Press Office

    [​IMG]There was coverage in Agriland, Public Sector Executive, and Mirage News over the weekend of Professor Gideon Henderson’s appointment as the new Defra Chief Scientific Adviser.

    Professor Henderson, currently a Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford and until recently its head of department, will join Defra in October this year. He will replace Sir Ian Boyd, who is leaving Defra after seven years in the post.

    Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

    “Sir Ian Boyd’s contribution to Defra’s work has been invaluable, and I am immensely grateful for all the advice he has provided over the past seven years, informing key government policies.

    “I warmly welcome Professor Henderson to the role and look forward to working with him and seeing his positive impact on science in the department going forward.

    “It is absolutely crucial that all our policies...
  3. Agriland RSS
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    Jul 15, 2019 at 11:02 AM

    Written by Agriland Team

    A total of 29 cattle were stolen from a farm over the weekend, members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) have confirmed.

    The incident is thought to have occurred near Aghagallon, Co. Armagh, between Friday, July 12, and Saturday morning, July 13.

    Issuing a statement on social media, local members of the PSNI said: “On Saturday, a farmer in the Colane Road area of Aghagallon awoke to discover 29 of his cattle had been stolen from his farm in that area.

    These cattle are all mixed breed and are believed to have been stolen some time between Friday evening and Saturday morning.

    “Moving that amount of cattle may not have appeared suspicious at the time, so if you think you may have seen anything or know anything about this, give us a ring on 101 quoting reference 1354 of 13/07/19,” the police statement concluded.

    Ifor Williams trailer stolen

    Meanwhile, PSNI officers based in Antrim are seeking to locate an 8ft X 5ft, single-axle, galvanised Ifor Williams trailer.

    According to police, it was stolen at around 10:00am on Wednesday, July 3, from the Lylehill Road area of Templepatrick.

    Police would urge anyone travelling in this area at around this time who may have seen this trailer to get in touch with any information..

    “If you think you can provide any information about the...
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    Jul 15, 2019 at 11:02 AM

    Written by Rachel Martin

    Scottish pig producers are benefiting from a slow and persistent rise in farmgate prices which have climbed 10% since the beginning of April. According to the latest analysis by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), prices currently stand 8% above last year.

    However, while this is positive for the pig sector, and is in sharp contrast to the year-on-year declines for prime cattle (down 12%) and prime lambs (down 6%), it still masks some significant challenges.

    Stuart Ashworth, QMS director of economic services, said: “When considered in euros, the current GB pig price is down 0.5%; a sharp contrast to the average prime pig price received by European pig producers, which is up 23.5% on a year ago.

    Having had one of the highest producer prices across Europe, well ahead of the major pig producing nations, like Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and France, all of these – with the exception of the Netherlands – are currently seeing producer prices higher than in the UK.

    “This change in balance in prices will make the UK a less attractive export destination for these producers,” he added.

    Across Europe, the movement in producer prices for pigs is substantially different from that for beef and lamb.

    “The European Commission reports the average price for prime steers across Europe to be down 9.5%, although this is heavily impacted by the...
  5. Farm Business RSS
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    Jul 15, 2019 at 10:42 AM

    Written by John Swire

    Mycoplasma Bovis is the number-one cause of pneumonia in calves, and diagnoses have soared in recent years. But it is difficult to treat and to identify in the early stages, and until now the only preventative option was creating an expensive – and narrowly targeted – autogenous vaccine. Fortunately, producers now have a more cost-effective choice, in the form of an import vaccine.

    Created in the US, trials have shown that vaccinating cattle reduced mortality by nearly 40%, to 5.8% against a control of 9.6%. It also reduced lung lesion scores by 56-64%, and nearly tripled the antibody response.

    But M. Bovis doesn’t just cause pneumonia. Much like BVD, it has a plethora of other symptoms, including mastitis, arthritis, immunosuppression and otitis, leading to increased antibiotic use and hampering herd performance, explains Graeme Fowlie, director of Meadows Vets in Aberdeenshire.

    “Control is difficult and involves individual or group treatments, and isolation of clinical cases. As a vet it’s frustrating not being able to prevent the most common cause of pneumonia, despite utilising extensive vaccines for other farms,” he says. “I’m also keen to promote best practice in trying to reduce antibiotic dependence. You shouldn’t be living with BVD on your farm and it’s the same with M. Bovis – it needs to be the next target for eradication.”

    Mr Fowlie has...
  6. Farm Business RSS
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    Jul 15, 2019 at 10:12 AM

    Written by John Swire

    Lameness in dairy cows is set to reduce according to the latest data from AHDB Dairy.

    Farmers are now choosing bulls whose daughters are predicted to have 1.4 per cent fewer cases of lameness per lactation since the introduction of a dedicated genetic index last year.

    With lameness costing an average £180 per cow in extra treatment costs and loss of yield, this development will see improved cow welfare and lower costs for farmers.

    Marco Winters, AHDB head of animal genetics, said: “Although it’s early days, it is great to see signs that the industry is making use of our new genetic index.”

    Introduced in April 2018 the Lameness Advantage genetic index combines type data for locomotion and Feet & Legs, bone quality scores, digital dermatitis records along with direct lameness recordings from National Milk Records (NMR) and Cattle Information Service (CIS).

    Mr Winters continued: “Prior to April last year farmers were indirectly selecting for better lameness by choosing bulls which generally had better lifespan, fertility or conformations.

    “The average bull used in May 2019 had a Predicted Transmitting Ability (PTA) of +1.4, with the 50 most used sires showing an even better lameness advantage of +1.6.”

    As genetic improvement of the national herd made today is both permanent and accumulates over generations, dairy farmers can expect to benefit from...
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    Jul 15, 2019 at 9:42 AM

    Written by John Swire

    A 10 acre maize maze at the National Forest Adventure Farm in Staffordshire, created using an electrically driven drill directed by RTK satellite guidance, offers a spectacular illustration of the capabilities of modern precision farming.

    Contractor Michael Tomlinson, working closely with Nick Wells from Rea Valley Tractors and RVT’s precision agriculture team, used his new 8-row Kuhn Maxima 3 TI E drill to sow the field with a single pass on 1st May. The resulting intricate maze design that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing has been achieved without any manual intervention in the field.

    Mr Tomlinson, who has drilled the maize maze at the site since the attraction opened 16 years ago, explains how the new drill with electronic section control and variable row widths offered the opportunity to move to a new level of creativity.

    “In previous years we’ve drilled the field twice, in two directions, at 75cm row widths, and then the pattern has been marked out using GPS and a lot of canes, with the paths being hoed out manually,” he explains. “This year we took the design and had software written that would enable the drill to create the pattern. We set the drill at 37.5cm row widths and used approximately double the normal seed rate. With autosteer, precise electronic section control on the drill, and RTK satellite guidance...
  8. Agriland RSS
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    Jul 15, 2019 at 5:12 AM

    Written by Agriland Team

    AHDB has struck a new partnership with its equivalent levy body for arable in New Zealand to share knowledge and resources to benefit arable growers on both sides of the globe.

    Alison Stewart, chief executive of the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR), visited AHDB at its Warwickshire headquarters in Stoneleigh Park to find out about its work and to agree to collaborate.

    A packed agenda gave Prof. Stewart an overview of AHDB’s research and knowledge exchange programmes, with a particular focus on benchmarking, soil health, integrated pest management (IPM), skills and the environment.

    FAR funds a wide range of research for its arable and maize levy-payers to tackle issues themed around reducing cost, improving yield, adding value, resilience, environmental responsibility and innovation. The new partnership will allow FAR and AHDB to develop a mutually-beneficial international portfolio of activities and initiatives.

    In the first year, a programme of research co-funded by the two organisations will look at:

    • Knowledge exchange;
    • Soil quality benchmarking;
    • IPM; and
    • farm productivity benchmarking.

    The work will be overseen by a management steering group, which will agree all projects and allocate budget.

    Rebecca Geraghty, chief technical officer at AHDB, said: “I’m delighted we have entered into this agreement with our...
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    Jul 14, 2019 at 4:32 PM

    Written by Agriland Team

    Even moderate levels of soil compaction can reduce grassland output levels by 20%, according to Alex Higgins, from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).

    “Tackling the problem can be problematic though,” he explained. “Works should be undertaken when the minimal level of further damage to the soil can be minimised.”

    He went on to point out that the soil cracking so widely noticed throughout the UK and Ireland during last year’s drought had the benefit of breaking up compaction pans at lower depths within a soil profile.

    However, he cast some doubt on the benefits that can be delivered by spikes and other types of soil aeration equipment.

    “Farmers must identify where the soil compaction problem has arisen,” he explained. “Is it near the surface or is at a lower depth? Many of the techniques available to deal with compaction issues may only deliver a temporary respite to the problem.”


    Higgins was one of the speakers participating in the series of seminars that featured at Sheep NI, held in Ballymena earlier this week.

    He repeatedly stressed the need for all grassland farmers to have their soils tested and analysed on a regular basis....
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    Jul 14, 2019 at 2:22 PM

    Written by Rachel Martin

    The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has today announced an expert panel of judges for its Young Vet of the Year Award – a new accolade aimed at vets at an early stage in their careers who are already making a big difference in their field or community.

    Launched as a joint initiative with Zoetis, this award is the first of its kind in terms of cross-community reach and aims to shine a light on ‘exceptional young vets’ across the UK.

    It hopes to highlight a young vet who leads, inspires, impacts and goes above and beyond what is expected of them early on in their career.

    Judges will include:

    • Lord Trees, Professor of Veterinary Parasitology and Crossbench member of the House of Lords;
    • Daniella Dos Santos, BVA’s junior vice president and a small animal and exotics vet;
    • Niall Connell, upcoming RCVS president and chairman of the society’s Diversity Working Group;
    • Chloe Roberts, a recent graduate and BVA Council member;
    • Wendy Talbot, European specialist in equine internal medicine and national equine veterinary manager, Zoetis.

    Applications have been coming in thick and fast with nominated entries from across the profession, from nurses, vets, and even clients.

    The winner of the Young Vet of the Year Award will receive a prize of £1000 cash as well as a career-enhancing experience with Zoetis.

    Entries are...