1. Farm Business RSS
    Created by Farm Business RSS
    May 21, 2019 at 7:22 PM

    Written by John Swire

    Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, manufacturer of Bovikalc® and Bovikalc® Dry, has launched its National Milk Fever (hypocalcaemia) Survey to capture the opinions of farmers and their on-farm experiences of the condition. Farmers are being encouraged to share their knowledge to fill in some of the gaps that still exist on the impact of milk fever – both clinical and subclinical. Any farmer who hasn’t already received a survey form can request one from their Boehringer Ingelheim Territory Manager or complete the survey online at https://bovikalc.typeform.com/to/jVGllV. There will also be a prize draw from completed entries with 20 winners receiving Bovikalc® metal applicators, outers or gilets.

    The survey will seek to assess the scale of the hypocalcaemia problem on dairy and beef farms as well as look at the impact it has on the farm and productivity. Milk fever is currently thought to affect between 4-9% of the UK’s dairy cows, with the subclinical form affecting up to 39%.1,2The survey will provide another up to date figure to compare with existing data and look at any regional trends that might exist. Farmers are encouraged to complete the survey regardless of whether they believe milk fever is an issue on their farm or not.

    Bovikalc® Brand Manager, Mathieu Maignan says, “We are really keen to find out about the real-life experience of milk fever...
  2. Farm Business RSS
    Created by Farm Business RSS
    May 21, 2019 at 6:42 PM

    Written by John Swire

    Hectare (HFHa), a project run by Harper Adams University and Precision Decisions, a Map of Ag company, has received funding from Innovate UK to create a Hands Free Farm.

    HFHa started in 2016 with the aim to be the first in the world to grow, tend and harvest a crop without operators in the driving seats or agronomists on the ground. The project has been taken through two successful cropping cycles, and won a number of awards; including the prestigious BBC Food and Farming Future Food Award.

    The new Hands Free Farm will be a three-year-long project, run in partnership between Harper Adams and Precision Decisions, along with a new partner; the UK division of Australian precision agriculture specialist Farmscan AG.

    The project has just got underway and is based at the university’s campus in Shropshire. The Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre (Agri-Epi Centre) are providing the team with development space and project management support at their Midlands Agri-Tech Innovation Hub, which is also located on the university’s campus.

    Jonathan Gill, Mechatronics Researcher at the university said: “This time, we’re planning to grow three different combinable crops across 35 hectares.

    “We’re moving past the feasibility study which the hectare provided us with, to now a vision of the future of farming.

    “We want to prove the capability and...
  3. Agriland RSS
    Created by Agriland RSS
    May 21, 2019 at 5:52 PM

    Written by Jim Breen

    North American entity Solectrac is on a mission to garner support for its electric tractor. The so-called ‘eUtility‘ model costs about $40,000.

    The company is now taking orders in North America; it hopes to make its tractors available elsewhere in 2020.

    The 30kWh on-board (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery pack is claimed to provide between five and eight hours of ‘run time’, depending on what the tractor is actually doing.


    ‘Quick’ battery charging takes three hours (for an 80% charge) or overnight for a ‘full’ (slow) renewal.

    While the eUtility is currently only offered in 2WD guise, a 4WD version is planned. Availability of that is anticipated later this year.

    The tractor has a ‘conventional’ (540rpm) PTO. A front loader option, using linear actuators in place of hydraulics, is in development. It’s expected to cost about $5,000.

    Any Category I implements can apparently be used on the tractor, with the exception of those requiring hydraulics. As an added option, a hydraulic pump will be available in future – with an expected price-tag of $3,000.

    The tractor’s peak power output is claimed to equate to 50hp; rated output is pegged at just 25hp....
  4. Agriland RSS
    Created by Agriland RSS
    May 21, 2019 at 4:22 PM

    Written by Rachel Martin

    The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has warned that ‘protest votes’ in Thursday’s EU election in favour of hard-line Brexit MEPs will damage agriculture, rural communities.

    Speaking at the NSA biennial Sheep Event at Glynllifon today, (21 May), FUW president Glyn Roberts described the European Elections as one of the “most unusual in living memory”.

    However, he warned votes should not be treated lightly or used to send a message of frustration to mainstream politicians.

    “That frustration is understandable, as is the fatigue we all endure around Brexit, having seen mistakes at every turn and so many promises broken,” said Roberts.

    But the dangers of placing symbolic votes for single-issue hard-line Brexit politicians who have no manifestos to speak of cannot be underestimated.

    “A vote for those who would see us rapidly exiting the EU – rather than doing so over a realistic and safe timetable – would hit farmers and rural communities hard and cause untold damage to our economy,” warned Roberts.

    “We must look at the facts, not the rhetoric, and recognise that the only way in which to make Brexit a success is to be patient and cautious.”

    The union has long warned of the dangers of trying to untangle too quickly the UK from an EU which it has spent almost half a century becoming more aligned with.

    “Rash decisions and votes born of...
  5. Agriland RSS
    Created by Agriland RSS
    May 21, 2019 at 3:52 PM

    Written by Agriland Team

    A farmer has made quite an unexpected discovery in a badger burrow on his farm when he discovered one of his missing calves in the cavity.

    Brad Osadczuk from the Osadczuk Cattle Company in Jenner, Alberta, Canada, took to Twitter to share his unusual discovery.

    He explained that this was the first time he had ever made such a discovery in his career in farming.

    This is a first for me- we had a calf missing for over a day, his mom finally showed us where he was. All I could see is his nose down this badger hole. pic.twitter.com/a6c5sVZf0X

    — Brad Osadczuk (@bradosadczuk) May 18, 2019

    Continuing, the Canadian farmer noted that the calf had been missing for over a day and, eventually, the calf’s mother indicated to him where the calf was located.

    He noted that the only part of the calf that could be seen from the surface of the field was its nose and the rest of the animal was discovered in the badger hole.

    Police intervention

    Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, Police were called to an incident involving a “distressed bullock” on the loose earlier yesterday, Monday, May 20, according to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

    PSNI North Coast, which includes the...
  6. Agriland RSS
    Created by Agriland RSS
    May 21, 2019 at 2:22 PM

    Written by Rachel Martin

    AHDB has named the two English horticulture businesses which will become the UK’s first Strategic SmartHort Centres.

    Lincolnshire based propagators, Volmary Ltd., and Herefordshire fruit growers, Haygrove Ltd., will host the centres for the next 12 months.

    The SmartHort programme aims to help growers address the challenges around labour and its rising cost.

    Growers who engage with the programme are expected to see labour and productivity improvements between 25 and 40%.

    Consultancy firm Fedden USP will lead training to drive business improvement, while also sharing insight on practical management and methods of implementing LEAN.

    Lean is a business management strategy designed to maximise efficiencies. There are six basic principles:

    • Focus on the customer;
    • Understand and identify how work gets done;
    • Manage, improve and smooth out the process flow;
    • Identify the non-added value elements and waste;
    • Manage by using fact and data, and reduce variances;
    • Attain continuous improvement.

    Grace Emeny, senior knowledge exchange manager at AHDB said: “We’re really excited to see how the first of our Strategic SmartHort Centres develop – both Haygrove and Volmary are going to be brilliant ambassadors for the programme of work.

    We’re looking forward to seeing the impact of their projects on production efficiency and...​
  7. Agriland RSS
    Created by Agriland RSS
    May 21, 2019 at 12:12 PM

    Written by Rachel Martin

    Applications for the 2019 Professional Manager Development Scheme (PMDS) have now opened, with the first session starting in September.

    Farmers who have now completed the 2017 management training scheme reported combined savings to their businesses in excess of £600,000.

    Individually, each participant said they had saved around £50,000 or more in costs.

    Designed to develop skills of those who manage staff, the AHDB course enables farmers and growers to apply business intelligence from other sectors, improve communication and understanding, to raise the level of professionalism in their business.

    AHDB levy payers gain a £3,000 discount on the Institute of Leadership Management qualification run by training specialists, Cedar Associates.

    Tess Howe, senior skills manager at AHDB said: “Developing your management skills should be no different to getting your farm business in shape; both deliver tangible benefits to support the longevity and sustainability of your business.”

    There are 10 sessions during the 14-month programme, consisting of an evening discussion followed by a day of management training.

    Having completed the training course in 2019, 29-year-old Charlotte Hudson of Hugh Lowe Farms, said: “Skills development is important across the whole of agriculture – before there was little development and skills were self-taught, or passed on by...
  8. Farm Business RSS
    Created by Farm Business RSS
    May 21, 2019 at 11:02 AM

    Written by John Swire

    Farmers have just days left to submit a request for a Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) mid-tier application pack if they want to apply for an agreement starting on 1 January 2020, according to land and property specialists Strutt & Parker.

    The mid-tier CSS package offers payments to farmers for looking after their land in a way that enhances the environment – by conserving and improving biodiversity, reducing flood risk and protecting soil and water quality.

    Ed Trotter, farming consultant in the Stamford office of Strutt & Parker, said: “Although applicants have until 31 July in which to submit their application, they can only do so if they have requested an application pack by 31 May 2019. This means the deadline by which farmers must have requested an application pack is now just days away. Anyone requesting a pack is not obliged to put in a full application, but getting hold of a pack now does keep the option open to them.”

    Mr Trotter said requesting an application pack was easy as they can be downloaded through the online Rural Payments Service, or farmers can request to receive an application pack in the post by contacting Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

    The mid-tier scheme is an excellent opportunity for landowners to apply for grant funding for capital items such as planting new hedgerows or erecting livestock fencing to protect...
  9. Agriland RSS
    Created by Agriland RSS
    May 21, 2019 at 10:12 AM

    Written by Rachel Martin

    Four teams of students from Northern Ireland secondary schools left this year’s Balmoral Show with a very special prize – their own small herd of Angus-cross calves to rear.

    The pupils earned their new pets as finalists in the ABP Angus Youth Challenge; a skills development competition for young people interested in working in the agri-food sector.

    Each team consists of pupils ranging from 14 to 16 years old with finalists representing two Co. Tyrone schools – Aughnacloy College and Fivemiletown College – along with Belfast Royal Academical Institution, and Wallace High School, Lisburn.


    ABP Northern Ireland managing director George Mullan presented the calves at a special prize-giving ceremony at the 151st Balmoral Show.

    The next stage

    The finalists will now embark on a farm-to-fork skills development programme with ABP and will also have the challenge of rearing their five Aberdeen Angus cross calves through to beef and selling them back to ABP.

    The net profit from the sale of the calves will be shared amongst their group. Each team has also been assigned a special project to develop over the next 18 months.

    Their projects will challenge them to explore innovative and...
  10. News
    Created by News
    May 21, 2019 at 9:25 AM
    Even in times of low disease pressure late season fungicide programmes need to be well planned and timely is the advice from Hutchinsons technical director David Ellerton.

    Moderate disease levels in wheat in 2018 due to the hot, dry summer generally resulted in cost effective but lower yield responses to fungicide programmes than the previous season, he points out

    “Despite the dry conditions later in the season, the largest yield increases were often in response to the flag leaf or T2 timing in Hutchinsons small plot trials, although drought and subsequent early senescence reduced the response in many cases.”

    In Hutchinsons winter wheat variety trials, the average yield response across sites and all varieties was 1.54 t/ha (17.28 % of final yield) compared to 2.64t/ha (28.48% of final yield) the previous season.

    Dr Ellerton notes that there was a significant difference in response between varieties with Reflection giving a response 2.67 t/ha, while disease control in Santiago, Costello, Leeds, LG Rhythm and Gleam resulted in an increase in yield of over 2 t/ha (see table 1 below).

    Table 1. Winter Wheat - Fungicide Yield Responses across Varieties in Hutchinsons Trials, 2017/18

    “It is important to realise that the gap between the flag leaf spray and the previous T1 fungicide should be a maximum of 3 – 4 weeks to continue disease protection, once the earlier spray begins to ‘run out of steam’,” he says.

    This gap is even more important than...