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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Latest News

Here is a flavour of some of the most recent industry news stories.  To read all news posts please click on one of the categories above.

Results of the GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count 2022

February was the ninth annual Big Farmland Bird Count (BFBC) organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust.  Over 1,900 farmers took part and recorded 130 species across more than 1.5 million acres, and counting more than 420,000 birds.  The most commonly seen species were blackbirds and woodpigeons, seen by over 71% of participants. Robins, Carrion Crows and Pheasants were seen by over 63% of the farmers.   A total of 26 species from the Red List for Birds of Conservation Concern were recorded, with 7 appearing in the 25 most frequently seen species list. Starlings, Lapwing, Fieldfare, and Linnet were the four most abundant red listed species recorded with over 125,000 total spotted which equates to 29% of all species spotted.  The five most abundant birds seen were woodpigeons, starling, lapwing, fieldfare and rooks. A total of 204,398 were seen, making up over 48% of the total number of birds recorded.

Read the full details of the bird count on this page.

Rural Payments Agency launch a podcast series to help with agricultural transition

The RPA has recently launched the first in a new podcast series which will offer support and guidance to farmers, landowners and rural communities navigating agricultural transition. Listen on Apple and Spotify or through BuzzsproutIf you would like RPA to cover a particular topic with their subject experts, please email External.Affairs@rpa.gov.uk

Apply for a Nuffield Farming Scholarship before 31 July

Applications to the Nuffield Farming Scholarships are now open and will close on 31 July 2022.  Applications are welcomed from those working across the farming, food, horticulture, rural or associated industries. With around 20 Scholarships awarded each year, successful applicants are provided a substantial bursary to fund travel to study their chosen topic. Additional funding is also available for Scholars to attend the Contemporary Scholar’s Conference, training sessions and other events. You do not need formal qualifications to apply.  To apply you need to be between 22 and 45 years of age.  To find out more information please visit the website www.nuffieldscholar.org  or contact Charlotte Merson on charlotte@nuffieldscholar.org

Adjusting fertiliser application rates to reduce costs

The Government’s new Fertiliser Taskforce has held its first meeting, which was chaired by Minister Victoria Prentis MP. One member of the taskforce is the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).   The AHDB shared its analysis of fertiliser buying and application strategies, which explored 3 approaches:  

  1. Applying at the usual economic recommended amount in 2022 and 2023 
  2. Applying 75% of the typical application rate in harvest years 2022 and 2023
  3. Applying 50% of the typical application rate in harvest years 2022 and 2023

The right strategy will depend on the attitude to risk to yields, and where you feel fertiliser and grain prices will go over the next 18 months or so.  However, according to this scenario analysis, there is no significant difference between these expected common approaches.  So, whether fertiliser was purchased before the higher prices of late or not, some judicious reduction in application rates will pay off.   Visit this page to read more.

New packages for STEPS funding announced by Severn Trent

Severn Trent has announced some new packages of priority items for its 2022 STEPS funding.  These include up to £30,000 for pesticide washdown areas and free rainwater harvesting, soil testing for cover crop applicants in groundwater catchments and up to 75% funding for fencing in crypto catchments.  Grant rates have increased for many items and there are still a great range of options to choose from, all aimed at protecting the environment and water quality.  Within your catchment you will still find specific priority items – items that once implemented will make a fundamental difference to the health of the surrounding water environment.    You can make an application for mains STEPS funding all year round and the closing date is 31 January 2023.   To be eligible for funding you must be in a priority catchment area and be actively farming the land.  Visit this page for full information on the STEPS grant and to take a look at the map of priority catchments.

Direct payments to be paid in two instalments in July and December

The Government has today (6 May) announced further steps to support farmers with cost pressures. Under the latest plans, Direct Payments in England will be paid in two instalments each year for the remainder of the agricultural transition period, to help farmers with their cashflow.  The deadline for submitting Basic Payment Scheme 2022 applications is Monday 16 May 2022 and, under these plans, farmers with eligible applications will receive the first payment of 50% from the end of July and the second from December.  Read more here.

Regenerative farming case study booklet launched by LEAF

LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) recently launched a new farmer case study booklet detailing the stories of ten farmers implementing more nature-based, regenerative farming techniques to help meet net-zero targets.   Each case study showcases different farming enterprises, across the country and aims to inspire other farmers to start their own net-zero journey.  Read the booklet here.

Kenilworth Show looks for new and exciting trade stands

Kenilworth Show is Warwickshire’s largest one-day agricultural show which takes place on Saturday 4 June just outside Stoneleigh.  There is still some availability for trade stands at the show so if you have a business that would like to showcase itself at the show, please do register your interest. Similarly if you know of a business that would be well suited do pass on the details to them.  With visitor numbers approximately 15,000 it is a great place to showcase your products, meet new customers and promote your business.  The Show are particularly keen to find some additional stands selling gifts, homeware, local foods & produce, handbags or clothing.  Click here for further information

Do you have work you could offer to people from Ukraine or Afghanistan?

Employers can now complete a simple online form to tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Refugee Employment Network (REN) about work they can offer to people arriving from Afghanistan or Ukraine.  Visit this page to access the form.

Professional users of plant protection products must register by 22 June

Defra and the HSE have published new requirements for users of professional plant protection products such as insecticides, herbicides and plant growth regulators.  Businesses and other professionals subject to the 2020 Regulations are required to notify Defra of their organisation name, activities and location of premises by 22 June 2022.  The Health and Safety Executive may conduct an inspection visit without notice.  Businesses will be selected for a visit according to their risk profile.    Visit this page for further information.

Farming with trees: a potential win-win for sustainable food production and biodiversity?

With the global population approaching 8 billion, we face an ever-increasing challenge to make efficient use of land for production of resources such as food and timber, while conserving biodiversity and safeguarding the environment for future generations. The practice of farming with trees, or agroforestry, could be one strategy to help meet this challenge, on the premise that trees make use of the space above and below annual crops while benefitting biodiversity. In a recent research project, scientists aimed to test this strategy by collecting data from UK farms to explore the impact of in-field fruit and timber trees on biodiversity, services provided by biodiversity such as pollination and the natural regulation of pests, crop production, and farm income.   A summary of a PhD thesis by Tom Staton of the University of Reading can be read here.

Government aims to crack down on fly-tipping with new rules and funding

Households will no longer have to pay to get rid of DIY waste under plans set out by government to change the rules that currently allows some Local Authorities to charge for DIY waste from households. Under the proposals, household DIYers would not be charged to get rid of waste including plasterboards, bricks and bath units.  This is part of a fresh move to crack down on fly-tipping, which has increased since the beginning of the pandemic.  However, around a third of Local Authorities still charge for certain types of DIY waste, using rules designed for construction waste.  In addition, new council grants totalling £450,000 will help fund a range of projects such as CCTV, Automatic Number Plate Recognition and education initiatives.

Fly-tipping is a crime which blights communities, poses a risk to public health and the environment, and costs up to £392 million a year. Local authorities dealt with 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents in 2020/21, up by 16% from 2019/20.

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Rural Hub

Co-ordinator

Jane Hampson
E: info@ruralhub.org.uk

Tel: 07780 159291

 

 

 

 

Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

Karen Ellis (Chair)
Amy Brant
Rosemary Collier
Emlyn Evans
Ian Jelley
Henry Lucas
Marion Perrett Pearson
Alexandra Robinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Environmental Steering Group Members

Zoe Bell (Chair)
Tony Beysens
Meehal Grint, Kings Seeds
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
David Ruddock, Middlemarch Environmental
Jon Slee, Abbey Farm

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