Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

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Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

Written by Lisa Applin

In July, we opened the applications window for farmers to join our Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive is 1 of the 3 new environmental land management schemes. It sits alongside the future Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes.

Through the Sustainable Farming Incentive, farmers will be paid for environmentally sustainable actions – ones that are simple to do and do not require previous agri-environment scheme experience.

We are piloting the scheme to...

35% of English and Welsh farmers possibly/probably depressed

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Written by Michelle Martin from Agriland

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) has today, Thursday, October 14, published the findings of The Big Farming Survey, which shows 35% of English and Welsh farmers are either possibly or probably depressed.

The survey, based on over 15,000 responses, concentrates on the health and well-being of the farming community in England and Wales in the 2020s.

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) is a national charity that provides support to the farming community across England and Wales.

Mental health​

Mental well-being, the survey notes, describes our ability to cope with the ‘ups and downs’ of everyday life.

According to the survey, 14% of the farming community is ‘possibly depressed’ while...

Deere Studio Evening Events

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With special guests including Gareth (aka Donkey) from Grassmen on The Forager Show, which is this Wednesday Evening. Full event details are here for the Forage Show:

Will and Tom Carlisle of Rowles Farm on The Combine Show plus machinery journalist and now founder of @Landpower TV James Rickard on The Tractor Show, you'll want to save these evenings! We will send out alerts closer to the events to remind you they are on and all 3 are in the TFF calendar...

M&S commits to sustainable agriculture through 5-year programme

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Written by Rachel Martin from Agriland

M&S has committed to sustainable agriculture through a new five-year collaborative programme designed to help its Select Farmers gain resilience to the biggest environmental challenges they face.

The ‘Farming with Nature’ programme will provide farmers with industry-relevant, specialist support in the areas of climate change, biodiversity, soil health and water usage to help them to become more sustainable and deliver measurable improvements to their businesses.

Farming with Nature​

As part of the project, the own-brand retailer has established 17 Indicator and Innovation Farms across the UK, spanning fresh produce, dairy, beef, lamb, pork, turkey, chicken and eggs.

The farms will be supported by M&S-funded...

Rhug Lamb served at British Embassy in Dubai to showcase Welsh food and drink

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

Rhug Organic PGI Welsh Lamb was served recently at the British Embassy in Dubai at an event to showcase Welsh food and drink.

The guests enjoyed poached and roasted saddle of Rhug Organic Welsh lamb, whipped pine nuts and salsa, for their main course.

Held at the Consul General’s Residence at the British Embassy Dubai, the Welsh Government event was hosted by Her Majesty’s Consul General to Dubai and the Northern Emirates, Simon Penney, and the Welsh Government’s envoy to the UAE, Paul Gyles.

Sixteen guests were invited to the event on Tuesday, September 28, including senior members of retailer or distributor companies based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The event signalled the start of the Taste Wales celebrations which take place next...

Introducing the Annual Health and Welfare Review

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Introducing the Annual Health and Welfare Review

Written by Jonathan Statham

A cow

In this guest post, Jonathan Statham introduces the Annual Health and Welfare Review.

Jonathan is a cattle vet and chair-elect for England’s Animal Health and Welfare Board. He has 25 years of experience in veterinary practice, including a range of wider industry and academic roles. He is still active in practice at Bishopton Veterinary Group in Yorkshire.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve worked with farmers, the Defra team and other specialists to develop the new Animal Health and...

Project launched to measure environmental performance of food and drink sector

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

A project to establish standardised metrics to measure environmental performance of the food and drink sector has been launched by the Environment Agency.

The Environment Agency – working in partnership with the Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Waste and Resources Action Programme and the British Standards Institute – is aiming to make it simpler for businesses and for the public to understand the environmental performance of companies in key areas such as greenhouse gas reduction and resource efficiency.

The initiative will help manufacturers to more effectively communicate their environmental performance to the public, minimising the...

New report underlines need for joined-up action to protect rivers

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New report underlines need for joined-up action to protect rivers

Written by Defra Press Office

A wide river is in view in a valley in the background, a drystone wall is behind the river, and large, green trees are prominent in the scene.

The Rivers Trust has today launched its State of Our Rivers report aiming to allow the English public understand and explore the health of their rivers on a national and local scale.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow and Environment Agency Director John Leyland attended the launch panel to discuss the ways in which the...

LIVE - DEFRA SFI Janet Hughes “ask me anything” 19:00-20:00 20th September (Today)

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Hello, I’m Janet Hughes. I’m the Programme Director for the Future Farming and Countryside Programme in Defra – the programme that’s phasing out the Common Agricultural Policy and introducing new schemes and services for farmers.

Today (20 September) between 7pm-8pm, I and some of my colleagues will be answering your questions about our work including the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Farming in Protected Landscapes, and our test and trials.

We’ll try to answer at least 15 of your top voted questions, so please vote on the questions you’d most like me to answer.

You can read more about our Future Farming policy on our blog.

I’ve answered some of your questions previously: you can watch the videos on...

Speculative coverage on the gene editing consultation response

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Speculative coverage on the gene editing consultation response

Written by Defra Press Office


There has been coverage today in the I and the Guardian, reporting on speculation around the upcoming government response to the recent Gene Editing consultation, which closed on 17th March.

A full government response, which will include a thorough analysis and summary of the responses to the consultation and which will set out our next steps, will be published in due course.

Gene editing has the ability to harness the genetic resources that mother nature has provided, such as breeding...

Claas launches new line of Liner rakes

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Written by Justin Roberts from Agriland

Claas has just unveiled three completely new four-rotor rakes with working widths of 15m, 13.6m and 12.7m. These maximum spans widths can be adjusted by 3.40 to 4.90m depending on the model,

Claas telescopic arm

The new range has been designed to offer low transport heights, improved ground-contour following by the rotors, and ease of handling, according to Claas.

Adjustable working width​

One major development are the new telescopic arms which extend and retract by means of a three-stage patented system.

This comprises a ‘C’ profile and slide rails, enabling rapid...

New regenerative grass seed Estate Range launched

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New regenerative grass seed Estate Range launched

A new regenerative Estate Range of grass seed has been launched to the market by Lincolnshire-based seed specialist Cope Seeds and Grain.

Launched to complement integrated farming systems, the range will enable landowners to reduce input expenditure, provide nutritious grazing for cattle and sheep, and improve soil health a top priority for UK farms.

The range of premium mixtures has been formulated in association with one of Europes leading grass breeders and brings together some of the top NIAB recommended varieties within each mixture...

Outlook for 2021 maize harvest

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outlook for maize harvest.png

Following a couple of bumper maize growing years, it is looking likely that maize crop yields this season will be more typical,
if not slightly lower, than usual and we could see a split in harvest dates due to there being two distinct drilling periods this year.
If we compare crop heights in June and July last year to this year, as the images below highlight,
some crops are much further behind now compared to last year.
This could mean a considerably later harvest, even into the end of October/November.
There is also the possibility of some crops struggling to reach maturity before the cold weather sets in this year.
If harvest is delayed, the weather may impact operations and the quality of the crop...

Big cashback savings on offer through Michelin’s harvest campaign

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Michelin is offering farmers and contractors up to £600 cashback when they purchase a set of four Michelin agricultural tyres, or up to £250 when two tyres are purchased, as part of its popular harvest promotion, which runs from August 1 to October 31.

In addition to the cashback savings, Michelin agricultural tyres – such as the TrailXBib, CereXBib2 and AxioBib2 – benefit from Ultraflex Technology, allowing them to operate at much lower pressure than a standard agricultural tyre, reducing the impact on the soil they are working on. A recent in-depth study into the impact of traffic and tillage on soil compaction found agricultural machinery running Ultraflex Technology tyres could boost farmers’ yields by four per cent.


Gordon Brookes, Customer...

The farmers who work in Defra

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The farmers who work in Defra

Written by Ben Keene


Ben Keene (Left) and Brian Longman (Right)

Like most workplaces, staff in Defra come from a variety of different backgrounds. Each brings their own unique experiences and specialist skills to deliver public policy.

But one area where Defra may differ from some other workplaces, is that quite a few of us are (or have been) involved in practical farming.

We felt it would be beneficial if we could develop closer ties with each other and bring something unique to the department.

So, we developed a network called the Defra Farmer’s Forum. In this post, we’d like to give you an overview of what we do. We’ll also share a little bit about...

Update on how we’re getting on with details and delivery

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Update on how we’re getting on with details and delivery

Written by Janet Hughes


At the start of this year I posted about what we had in store for the year. This post is about how we’re getting on and what’s coming next.

Designing and building environmental, climate and animal health and welfare schemes

We’ve been working hard to improve our existing schemes and services, including:

  • simplifying the 2021 Basic Payment Scheme, including removing the greening rules and simplifying the rules, reducing the amount of guidance by half
  • launching a...

United Auctions staff to take on 500-mile Great Glen Challenge for RSABI

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Written by Agriland Team from Agriland

Around 40 members of United Auctions staff are in training to take on the first-ever Virtual Great Glen Challenge this year.

Staff working from the yard to the boardroom will walk, cycle and run 500 miles in locations across Scotland on Friday, August 27, to raise money for the RSABI.

The Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI) provides emotional, practical and financial support and last year helped over 700 people. Its helpline 03001114166 is open every day of the year from 7:00a.m to 11:00p.m and also offers a telephone call-out service for the lonely and vulnerable.

RSABI’s Great Glen Challenge​

Since 2012, the RSABI’s Great Glen Challenge has raised...

Ryegrass controls stack up

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Learning from the successes of growers’ black-grass control programmes gives a raft of integrated cultural and herbicide strategies that can also be used to hit back at increasing ryegrass populations, advises Syngenta Technical Manager, Georgina Wood.

“Key to that success is stacking up as many of those options as is practically possible in a farm situation.”

  • Delay drilling
  • Adapt cultivations
  • Increase spring cropping
  • Grow competitive crops
  • Prioritise pre-emergence applications
  • Stack pre-em herbicides
  • Optimise treatment timing and...

AGCO reports sales increase of 43.5% compared to 2020 figures

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Written by Agriland Team from Agriland

The tractor manufacturer AGCO, which consists of brands such as Challenger, Fendt, GSI, Massey Ferguson and Valtra, reported its results for the second quarter ending June 30, 2021.

Net sales for the second quarter were approximately $2.9 billion, an increase of approximately 43.5% compared to the second quarter of 2020.


Reported net income was $3.73/share for the second quarter of 2021, and adjusted...

Could a ‘Meat Tax’ be on the cards in the UK?

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Written by Richard Halleron from Agriland

The latest machination coming from the so-called ‘opinion formers’, who seem to have the ear of government advisors in London, is the introduction of a ‘Meat Tax’ at consumer level.

This approach, it is argued, would have the combined impact of reducing meat consumption levels (I can really see the health benefits coming through now), while also helping to reduce the overall carbon footprint of production agriculture.

What absolute drivel! In my opinion, none of this makes sense at any level. This is a scurrilous and unfounded attack on livestock farming in this part of the world.

Yet, it has to be taken seriously. I make this point because economists at Rothamsted Research have already crunched the numbers where the introduction of a ‘UK...