Friday, February 24, 2012

How productive is it to roll grassland?

The cost of diesel and time makes it important for each tractor job to have a positive financial outcome. This blog asks about the benefits of rolling grass in the spring, and suggests the outcome may actually be negative. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Farmers have a major role in drought and flood issues

Todays DEFRA conference should be looking at soil management

The up-coming drought in the S-E of England is worrying farmers, who are demanding concessions to any drought orders in order to protect their crops and livelihoods. Yet it is on their land that the rain mainly falls. Is modern land management, that is, the way farmers work the land, in any way responsible for the problems of drought and flood?  And if so, is there anything which can be done to help solve the problem? 

Practical Farm Ideas thinks there is.  For years

Saturday, February 04, 2012

EU funding: less for farming, more for science

Farm leaders need to focus on agri research funding as well as defending farmers' CAP entitlements

'Cut spending on agricultural support through Single Farm Payment and use the money on increased research' is not simply a call from UK universities wanting to protect their budgets, but is one which looks like getting the backing of Business Secretary Vince Cable. 
In a recent interview to the magazine Science|Business Vince Cable said "Overall UK government policy is to restrict the EU budget, but within that overall budget we would like to spend more on innovation" and he went on to say that money should be spent on science rather than agriculture. 
With the Science minister David Willetts right behind him, and PM David Cameron personally launching an overall UK Innovation Strategy, there's a good deal of support in Cabinet, and Caroline Spelman from Defra looks likely to be out-gunned. 
While the focus of innovation is on science outside agriculture, the hope is there will be opportunities for innovative ideas and developments in agriculture to be rewarded and financially encouraged, and this could and should include farmers. 
Will the farmer's greatest lobbying body, the NFU, catch the direction the wind is blowing and ease the way for a leg-up for ingenious farmers who have ideas which can make a difference throughout the world of agriculture? Plus making sure that agri science and technology is up there with other life sciences, engineering and other research areas. Or will the NFU stick to its guns and continue to focus on payments based on area and past entitlements?
Agri research has been under pressure for the past decade, and many valuable and well established centres either closed or minimised. A review of the present work, in both agri science and agri technology would be a useful starting point for the whole industry, farmers included. At present it always appears that there is significant duplication in some areas, while others are left unattended. 

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