1. JP1
    Created by JP1 in category Farm Life
    Jan 28, 2015

    The dead moles were attached to a fence on Denbigh Moor
    The RSPCA is appealing for information after 50 dead moles were strung up on a fence “like trophies”.

    Sally Lyons, who made the macabre discovery on Denbigh Moors, said: “It’s gross. I’m not sure what the reasoning is, if there is any reason. I’m not sure what harm they do. To hang them up like trophies was disgusting.”

    “There were half a dozen last year, but this is something else.

    Ms Lyons found the grim display near Llansannan on the road which passes Aled Isaf, and says there were half a dozen dead moles in the same spot last year.

    She said: “I don’t know if they’d been poisoned or perhaps trapped. It was on the edge of farmland on Denbigh Moor.

    “I regularly take my 92-year-old mum for a drive up that way. I take her over the moors as she likes the view.”

    Moles generally eat insects and worms and naturally aerate soil, but can damage root systems of plants and are often thought of as pests.

    Stephen James, president of NFU Cymru, said: "It is important that farmers control mole numbers on farmland.

    "Moles contaminate the soil they push to the surface, which then gets into grassland silage fed to cattle and sheep during winter months and can ultimately lead to livestock deaths."

  2. News
    Created by News in category Farm Life
    Jan 22, 2015
    Well that’s a bother. I’d written a fairly careful piece on the woeful state of the dairy industry, closing with a broadside at Somerset council for their myopic lifting of the cobbles in historic Dunster. And what happens? While I was finishing the piece over my bowl of mid-day gruel, the postie brought my daily bill delivery, and the paper. When I finally got to open it come evening, there within were pieces by my respected colleagues -Mssrs Hesp and Bowern- which might’ve been lifted straight off my screen. Little blighters… even I’m not brazen enough to run the piece now, so it’s back to the drawing board for me.

    OK, since these minor matters have been dealt with, we’d better move onto the important stuff. Apparently there’s to be no more bare chested girls on page 3 of The Sun. The owner of said publication thinks they’re a bit old fashioned –which isn’t exactly the image of old fashioned that I had- and with little initial fanfare, the offending items were quietly covered up this week. Well, I say covered up…only just covered up if we’re frank, and leaving little work for the imagination.

    Feminists everywhere applaud, while white-van-men and brickies are downcast. Well, maybe it’s not just like that, but some maid on the radio phone-in, as I trundled back from feeding the South Devons, certainly seemed very pleased with this development. Curiously, there’s still a redtop paper printing such pictures, but because its circulation is only a tenth of the Sun,...
  3. News
    Created by News in category Business
    Jan 16, 2015
    Openfield is pleased to announce that its acquisition of the grain business from Countrywide Farmers has been successfully completed, effective from 31 December 2014. We are delighted to welcome the employees, customers and farmers who engage with the team at Countrywide.

    Commenting on the transaction, Openfield chief executive James Dallas said: “We look forward to working with the grain team to build on the strong relationships that they have developed with farmers and customers alike, we believe that this is a great addition to the Openfield business.”

    Countrywide Farmers chief executive John Hardman said: “We thank the grain team for their contributions to our business and feel that Openfield represents the best opportunity for our staff and customers, providing a specialist and well respected environment in which they can continue to flourish. This restructure will allow us to focus and invest in our Countrystore retail network of 53 stores across England and Wales, to better meet the needs of the farming and wider rural community and to deliver long term growth.”

    About Openfield:

    Openfield was formed in 2008 following the merger of Centaur and Grainfarmers and is the UK’s leading farmer-owned grain marketing business handling around 4.5mt of grain every year. Find more information about Openfield at www.openfield.co.uk

    · Openfield is the UK’s leading farmer-owned grain marketing business handling around 4.6mt...
  4. News
    Created by News in category Farm Life
    Jan 15, 2015
    I suppose we’d better talk about what’s been happening in Paris - and elsewhere. Obviously, writing newspaper and magazine columns, and seldom being shy about what I say, I don’t much like the implications of the attack on those cartoonists. And being a pretty godless man, I’m nonplussed that anyone could get so agitated about such abstract matters as to go round shooting people.

    On the other hand, accepting that some people feel so strongly, the cultural and racial mix in Paris is almost bound to throw up tensions. With its echo of a colonial past –where it draws French speaking migrants with different religions and some very different cultures- the ingredients were all there. Just as we’ve embraced a large immigrant population, while at the same time sending soldiers off on foreign missions which have left thousands dead, it’s no good being surprised when these things come home to roost.

    Whether we can overcome the impulsive knee-jerk reaction events such as these provoke is another thing. It saddens me that one outcome will inevitably be more votes for idiot political parties with few thought-out policies, but happy to surf along on cheap headlines.

    How we defuse the complex disenchantment between cultures is beyond this simple peasant.

    And as for religion per se, I don’t get it. I can see the need for a practical moral code, beyond fixed laws. A guide to help you be a better human, and keep your personal behavioural swingometer in the green zone. And when...
  5. News
    Created by News in category Arable
    Jan 14, 2015

    Day 57 – Dr Elaine Ingham
    It seems to be traditional now for me to put a map on each post, so here it is.

    This is the only picture, so visual types might want to stop reading now.

    Dr Elaine Ingham runs Soil Foodweb Inc and is world famous for her research in to [no prizes for guessing], the Soil Foodweb. She advocates that by getting the soil biology to be not only abundant, but also balanced, it is possible to make loads of money.

    The method is fairly straight forward:

    • Don't disturb the soil any more than necessary (no-till).
    • Provide food for the bugs to live on (leave plant residues on the surface).
    • Make use of properly made composts, and compost teas/extracts (no one makes proper compost in t he UK apparently).
    • And finally, never use any inorganic inputs. This includes fertilisers, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. To be clear, this is going further than being certified organic, because they too can use toxic inorganic chemicals on their crops.
    If you do it right, she claims that yields will not go down, in fact they will probably rise. The difference is that our conventional farming methods have turned the soil...
  6. News
    Created by News in category International News & Views
    Jan 11, 2015
    Due to computer technical issues, blog 2 has been delayed slightly

    Following on from the very popular blog 1, here @aggravated farmer submits a video file for our interest

    Kelley posts blogs about his US farm and experiences on an adhoc basis
  7. News
    Created by News in category Careers and lifelong learning
    Jan 9, 2015
    It is a common perception that farmers want to buy something for nothing. If the suppliers of inputs decided that this model was acceptable to them then the ongoing challenges to recruit and develop high-calibre people into the supply chain would be solved overnight. However, the bankruptcy of British Farming plc would surely follow.

    As necessity is the mother of invention, then the need for profit drives innovation within the supply chain, which ultimately leads to global competitive advantage for our farming industry. Progress is driven and delivered by people; companies are differentiated by their people. The stark truth is that there is a real shortage of good people and it is only going to get worse.

    There is proof that profit in the supply chain can benefit farming. One of our clients, ProCam, demonstrates that its customers benefit from nearly 1t/ha wheat yield over the national average – this rises to more than 2t/ha for their top 25% of customers. Interestingly, the yield difference is increasing against a stagnating UK average. To prosper as a business they have to deliver tangible value and this ability comes back firmly to the quality of their people.

    The demographic problem can be traced back to the 1970s and 1980s when farming was good, agriculture attracted talent and the universities were crammed with bright young things destined for great futures with companies such as Fisons, ICI, Dalgety, BOCM, Pauls Agriculture, UAM, and KW.

    Over the following...
  8. News
    Created by News in category Farm Life
    Jan 8, 2015
    I don’t know what was in it, but the early morning mug of coffee my beloved brought me in bed today nearly knocked my head off. It’s usually me dutifully doing the fetching, but ‘er awoke first this morning, so I was sat up reading when my handmaiden returned. After a few sips, I had to put the book down and enjoy the fizzing sensation in my bonce. My mind was soon spinning with fantastic insights and profound answers to the mysteries of the universe. Unfortunately, it was also filled with spangly colours, so instead of recording the erudite thoughts I was having, I gormlessly sat enjoying the show. I’m not sure how long this went on, but it did ebb after a while, and I nodded off for 40 winks before the news me on the radio, and I had to bestir myself and get the porridge on. I can’t even blame some avant-garde novelty coffee grounds, as it was a very ordinary mug of instant. Curiouser and curiouser.

    Now then. I’ve noticed a seasonal phenomenon of late. It’s often at this time of year that you see ads for series of magazines, each edition of which comes with the next part of a model sailing galleon/Ferrari supercar/whatever, which readers could ‘collect and build’. The assembled product-here’s one we made earlier- certainly looks pretty swish, and the lucky chap putting the finishing touches to it seems to live in a beautiful house with a gorgeous wife. She’s generally portrayed as having borne him intelligent attractive children while retaining a...
  9. News
    Created by News in category Careers and lifelong learning
    Jan 8, 2015
    As agricultural recruitment specialists we’re often asked, by both employers and candidates alike,about the benefits (or not), of a company car as part of a salary package and so we decided toprovide the answer which is… it’s not quite that simple!

    Historically, company cars have been considered a ‘perk’ for high-achieving employees and a‘must-have’ for anyone in an on-the-road sales role. It’s common knowledge that a company car is considered a benefit in kind by HMRC - especially if it’s used for private, as well as business purposes - both for the employer and the employee. But, we’ve taken a further look at the good, thebad and the downright dastardly from both perspectives - and it doesn’t always just come down to the financial gains/losses:


    So, you’ve visited merstonpeters.co.uk and spotted your dream job - the job description’s a career move you’d like to make; the location is ideal and the salary is certainly in the attractive bracket butthe employer is offering you the choice of a company car or a car allowance - what should youconsider -and are there alternatives?

    Company car

    • An employer will almost certainly decide upon the type of car offered, or at least some specifications such as an upper price limit; the fuel type; the C02 emission level; the safety aspects - if you have your heart set on a particular car or performance level, this may not be on offer.

    • A company car will almost...
  10. News
    Created by News in category International News & Views
    Jan 4, 2015
    We’ve hit the deep freeze here the last few days. Canadian slang for it’s really cold out. While it’s been blowing and snowing the first part of the week, today’s chores were down on a glorious, sunny morning at a chilly -33C. As you can see from the girls at their breakfast, they’re a bit frosty but everything sure is beautiful!

    Life tends to go on as normal when we hit these extreme cold temperatures with a few variations of course. In day to day life the vehicles get plugged in - but then we plug them in as soon as it’s around -10C, just easier on the poor cold things. Being plugged in is simply in reference to the block heater in the engine being plugged in to power so that it can warm the engine allowing it to start easier and warm up quicker. All vehicles sold in Canada are equipped with this, even farm machinery which lately seems to be coming out with an extra block heater for the transmission and hydraulic fluid. To this end, pretty much anywhere you park in Canada comes equipped with it’s own power outlet. Parking spots for apartment buildings and many paid parking lots all have accessible outlets while the street and the middle of some generic parking lots may be a park at your own risk scenario. There were some issues a few years back when the Canadian dollar was so high and lots of people chose to buy vehicles from America and save sometimes large amounts of money. However when winter rolled around many discovered that it’s not standard in American...