Clarkson on the nail again?

Grass And Grain

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Yorks
This. Can’t believe they want praise for early payment when they are reducing rates by 25% this year
Exactly. HM Gov are going to phase out BPS, then introduce SFI with much reduced income and financial strings attached, yet they acknowledge we've no cash to buy a bit of fert with so giving us advanced BPS payment.

If we can't afford the fert now, we'll be in trouble post BPS.
 

Humble Village Farmer

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Cb97ej
Some of this will be decided by the supermarkets and the buying public. Ultimately the first and last thing to buy is food. Shiny cars or designer clothes don't keep you alive.

The problem, as highlighted on every other thread is that supply is going to tighten. It's a question of when, not if, the people making the buying decisions realise they will have to bid up the stock. How late will it be?

What price would wheat and all other stuff we grow have to be guaranteed, before everyone happily trots out the usual order for fertiliser?
 

primmiemoo

Member
Location
Devon
It's Clarkson being a journo. Write words and get paid for it. No different to Moonbat, Packham et al. Squeak squeak squeak and all you have to show for it is a hole in your shoes.
Did he reapply for that car park, or whatever "diversification" his pity-me--a-poor farmer act tries to justify?
 

Hunts farmer

Member
Location
Huntingdon
Hopefully this will copy across from this morning’s Sunday Times:

I do tend to go through life with a general sense that everything will be all right in the end. Yes, we are told every 20 minutes that soon the Earth will be a superheated ruin that’s no longer capable of supporting even bacterial life, but I continue to run seven cars, six of which have V8 engines, because I reckon that in the nick of time a Munich-based boffin will invent a giant space-based vacuum cleaner that will hoover all the unnecessary carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and make everything normal again.
I had the same attitude with Covid. Of course it wasn’t going to wipe us out, because somewhere in Germany there’d be a scientist in a room full of pipettes and Bunsen burners who’d invent a vaccine. And so it turned out to be.
Financial crash of ’08? Yup, I did a bit of running round in circles back then, thinking that all my savings would be consumed by the invisible and unfathomable fugazi that is Wall Street, but soon there was quantitative easing, and a deal with China, and by the spring of ’09 my snout was back in the fish roe.

This Ukraine business, however, is causing me to have a few chin-scratching moments of despair. I don’t pretend to be an expert in geopolitics any more than I pretend to be a farmer, but I really think the world has slipped into a pair of margarine trousers and is now hurtling down a well-watered slide into the pit of hunger, misery and death.
Let me run you through my thinking. The conflict and the sanctions and all of the other flotsam and jetsam that hurtle round a war zone have caused gas prices to skyrocket. You know this, of course, because it now costs a million pounds to heat your house and £20,000 to cook a lamb chop. I know it, too, because chemical fertiliser has gone from about £250 a tonne last year to about £1,000 a tonne now.

Naturally, because you don’t need fertiliser, you don’t care. But you should care because soon you’re going to go to the supermarket and all you’ll be able to buy is an out-of-date copy of Auto Express magazine and maybe 20 Benson & Hedges. And then, on the way home, you’ll be murdered.
The problem is that next year many farmers will decide that, because of the costs involved, they’ll use less fertiliser. Some will doubtless try to use none at all. Others will try to use cardboard or lawn clippings or faeces instead. Either way they will produce less food. Some farmers — I know of three in my area alone — have already decided to fallow their fields next year and grow nothing at all.

And this is not just happening in the UK. It’s a global phenomenon and it could well result in there being maybe 20 per cent less food in the shops than is necessary. That’s bad. And then it gets worse because, between them, Russia and Ukraine grow more than a quarter of global wheat exports . They are also responsible for about half the sunflower seeds we use, which is why, already, sunflower oil is being rationed in Britain.
So, thanks to the war, we lose a lot of the grain we need, and then, due to the cost of fertiliser, we lose 20 per cent of what’s left. Prices are already going up, not by 7 per cent or 10 per cent but by a massive 37 per cent. And the World Bank says it won’t stop there. They call it a “human catastrophe”.

Politicians say they are “monitoring the situation”, which means they aren’t doing anything at all, but one day they will have to because while people can live without heat or clothing or even sex, they cannot live without food. Hunger makes people eat their neighbours.
Or move. And surely that’s what must happen next. It’s said that nearly a third of the wheat Ukraine grows goes to Africa, and it won’t be getting any this summer. Nor will Africa be able to afford mine. Not at £300 a tonne. Anyway, what I grow is going to be needed here.

So what do you do if you are in Africa, or the Middle East for that matter, and there is literally no grain? Sit around waiting for Midge Ure to fire up his Nokia and call Bob Geldof? No, you’re going to up sticks and move to the only haven that’s remotely accessible: Europe. We’ve seen a lot of migration in recent years but I suspect that soon we’ll realise that what we’ve had so far was only a trickle.
So now the streets of Europe are filled with hungry and desperate immigrants claiming 40 quid a week from the government and finding that it isn’t even enough for a loaf of bread. Add them to the poor indigenous folk fed up with choosing between heating and eating and that’s when things risk turning really ugly.

It’s hard to see what on earth can be done to stop it happening. The British government could take a lead and force farmers to farm their land, with grants to pay for the fertiliser and nationwide clapping every night at eight. But that isn’t going to happen for a couple of reasons. First, the British government is run by Carrie Johnson, who thinks the countryside should be for badgers and not for growing food.
And second, the rest of the government (and the fourth estate, if I’m honest) is currently consumed by whether a slice of cake can turn a work gathering into a party and simply isn’t paying attention.

I get this, of course. They’re like me, assuming that a German with a Bunsen burner will come to the rescue, but this time I can’t see that happening. The war has chopped off a quarter of the world’s grain exports and caused gas prices to skyrocket, which means farmers in the West can no longer afford to feed their crops properly. Less food and massively higher prices are the inevitable consequence, and the result of that is hunger and many arterial blood splatters across the fridge-freezers in your local Iceland.
Prince Charles will tell you that the Arab Spring uprising was caused by global warming. Indirectly he may be right, but the direct cause was a sudden jump in food prices. And the world is still feeling the effects ten years later.

This time, though, it’ll be worse. And then we’ll get the right-wing, anti-immigration parties leaping onto their soap boxes and blaming the EU, which will cause Europe to fragment and then the world’s last bastion of liberalism and common sense and decency will be broken.

Which is exactly what Putin wants. Sure, the war in Ukraine may result in him gaining only a tiny bit of land in the east of the country, but beyond that it could well destabilise Europe for years. Unless, of course, none of that happens and the continent is saved, hilariously, by a German. In which case we could all go back to worrying about whales and global warming.
 

Jackov Altraids

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
@delilah in fairness though, JC's 1000 words for his editor is written as an observation and is therefore not required to give the solutions. None of us can argue with the broader view of his observations.

My Grandfather always said "it's not what you see, but what you observe that is important"

I suppose the big questions now are not only who is coming up with solutions, but what are they actually doing. As an industry there are very few credible solutions being offered. However, individually there are a lot of farmers and food producers just quietly getting on with it and sorting out solutions that work for themselves.

I just hope that those who are supposed to be making decisions that have national consequences are being pro-active in looking realistically at the resources here in the UK and how they are to be used to the benefit of the UK

The fundamental problem which our government and NFU have failed to accept, is that the solution for most agricultural businesses are currently contrary to the solutions to the problems that they have barely recognised yet.
If they don't immediately do something that will affect our decision making, it will be too late.
 

Humble Village Farmer

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Cb97ej
The fundamental problem which our government and NFU have failed to accept, is that the solution for most agricultural businesses are currently contrary to the solutions to the problems that they have barely recognised yet.
If they don't immediately do something that will affect our decision making, it will be too late.
Too late for what though?

I would think that farmers are possibly better placed than most to face the coming situation.

The problem as i see it, is that we're expected to carry on spending as per usual, while the corporate food system decides what to pay us.

I suspect I'm not alone in being very reluctant to follow that path.
 

Bury the Trash

Member
Mixed Farmer
Too late for what though?

I would think that farmers are possibly better placed than most to face the coming situation.

The problem as i see it, is that we're expected to carry on spending as per usual, while the corporate food system decides what to pay us.

I suspect I'm not alone in being very reluctant to follow that path.
I agree, only way i would adulterate that post is with.... its not so much "the spending" as what its spent on .:unsure:
 

br jones

Member
Why wouldn't it be? Russia isn't destroying the roads etc. in the areas it's fighting in let alone the rest of the Country.

If/when there's a truce everything (Ukrainian wheat, Russian gas) will start moving again.

Clarkson, being a petrolhead should be asking why petrol and diesel is so expensive-despite the much heralded cut in fuel duty.
Crude oil is currently cheaper than it was when the Ukraine war started-there is no energy shortage, just massive profiteering by energy companies with the compliance of the UK Government.

The (mainly US owned) fert makers have sussed out the UK Government as well-create a crisis (shortage of CO2, expensive fert) and sooner or later they'll get a subsidy.

Putin may or may not be "unbalanced" but there's no doubt whatsoever that our current Government is inept
Rusdia has blocked the black sea ports so no food in or out
 

kfpben

Member
Location
Mid Hampshire
I spent my Saturday afternoon yesterday speaking on behalf of the NFU at a SE Conservative Rural Conference. I believe the intention is for the party members to feed thoughts on policy into DEFRA/Central government. I’m not a Tory member but was the farmer on the Animal Welfare panel.

Among the councillor/MP/activist body at least the food production message definitely is getting through. One woman kept asking shall we say ‘vegany’ type questions and the audience reaction was not a warm one!
 

delilah

Member
I don't wish to be unkind, but as they say, 'put up, or shut up'.

Again: I don't know what it is you wish me to 'put up' about. What, specifically, is Mr Clarkson complaining about ? I can't give you an answer if I don't know what the question is. It may be that I don't consider the question to be valid.

(Don't like the bloke. Never have done. Didn't like him as a petrol head, and find the idea that he is some sort of ambassador for UK ag laughable. So, yes, i'm biased) .
 

egbert

Member
You need to cross the river 🤣 fert all bought for next year and we are full on again 👍
Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb 🤣🤦
My first example reckons he'll go again at current fert prices, hoping grain stays up.
But he's a man who seldom blinks...and hence has accumulated 600 odd acres of freehold corn ground from not much.
 

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HSENI names new farm safety champions

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

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The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...
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