Report shows environment subsidies provide more stable income than direct payments

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Written by Charlotte Cunningham

Subsidies paid to farmers for protecting the environment lead to more stable incomes compared with payments based purely on the number of ha being farmed, according to a new study of farms in England and Wales. Charlotte Cunningham reports. The research, from Rothamsted Research, the University of Reading and Newcastle University, also shows that farmers shouldn’t put all their eggs in one basket, as those diversifying into a wider variety of crops or livestock receive more consistent year-to-year incomes – as do those who reduce their use of fertiliser and pesticides. Lead author and PhD student, Caroline Harkness said: “Farmers are facing increasing pressures due to changes in climate, government policy and prices. Instability in farm income can be a real challenge. It was interesting, and encouraging, to find that farms adopting environmentally friendly practices also had more stable incomes. “Farmers may be benefiting financially from their environmental management, while in contrast an increase in direct payments per hectare was associated with less stable farm income. “Environmentally friendly farming practices including engaging in agri-environment schemes, diversifying outputs, and reducing the use of chemical inputs such as fertiliser and pesticides, are associated with ecological and environmental benefits and importantly could also…
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Early moves to target wild oats

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Growers and agronomists now face the dilemma of an early application to remove competition from emerged wild oats, or holding off to allow more weeds to germinate.

Syngenta grassweeds technical manager, Georgina Wood, urges Axial Pro treatment as soon as conditions allow, once weeds are actively growing.

“That offers the chance to control wild oats more cost effectively at lower rates, whilst there is still the flexibility to tailor application rates up to 0.82 l/ha for larger or over wintered weeds and difficult situations.

“The variability of crops and situations this season means decisions for appropriate Axial Pro rates and application techniques will need to be made on a field-by-field basis,” she advised.

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