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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Recent Developments

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.

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.

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.

Syngenta Operation Pollinator seed offer for 2022

Syngenta Operation Pollinator supports growers to enhance biodiversity on their farms and demonstrates that profitable intensive farming can go hand in hand with the protection of natural resources and biodiversity.   Their annual seed offer for annual wildflowers, Bees’nSeeds and green headland mixes is now open, with a 20% discount available in partnership with the CFE, ASDA and Kings.  Visit this page for full information.

Len Eadon Memorial Event – Sunday 5 June

Len Eadon was a 22 year old farmer from Napton on the Hill who took his own life on New Year’s day, 2022.  Len’s parents and friends are organising an event in celebration of his life on Sunday 5 June at Stoneleigh Park.  The event will be themed around Farming in the Community, including agricultural competitions, best scarecrow, fancy dress and various sports etc with prize giving, food and music. The event is being supported by Rugby Farmers’ Mart, Farming Community Network, Kenilworth Show and Stoneleigh Estate.   There will also be a summer ball (date to be agreed) at Melton Mowbray Market.

This tribute site to Len is also fundraising for Papyrus (Prevention of Young Suicide), Yellow Wellies and Farming Community Network.

New website for AHDB Horticulture and Potatoes archives

Following the wind down of AHDB Horticulture and Potatoes, AHDB has launched a website to ensure that previous levy payer investment is protected and accessible.  Horticulture and Potatoes Archive website contains the articles, summaries and knowledge exchange work delivered by AHDB, as well as the research library containing published reports. It will also contain all Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMU) programme content.  All horticulture and potatoes content has been removed from the main AHDB website and can only be found on the new Archive website which can be accessed here.

Read how Defra is helping to support farmers through the growing season

The price of fertiliser has risen dramatically over the past year, but especially in recent months. Multiple global issues, including the war in Ukraine, have reduced gas and ammonium nitrate supply, forcing prices up.  The impact of these price increases will affect the productivity and profit of farms, so Defra has announced how it will be supporting farmers through the growing season with:

  • new slurry guidance
  • changes to urea usage
  • the creation of a fertiliser roundtable

Read more on this page.

Defra announce changes to urea fertiliser use will be delayed by one year

Defra has just announced a number of steps that they are taking to support farmers ahead of the growing season.  Firstly, the planned changes to the use of urea fertiliser will be delayed by at least a year, helping farmers manage costs and giving them more time to adapt to pressures on the supply of ammonium nitrate fertilisers.  Read more here.

Defra is also encouraging farmers to make use of organic fertilisers – revised and improved statutory guidance has been published on how to manage the use of slurry and other farmyard manure during autumn and winter. This guidance will provide more clarity and has been developed in partnership with farmers and farming bodies.  Further information is on this page.

Farmers will be further supported by new slurry storage grants introduced this year, helping the industry meet requirements for the Farming Rules for Water and reducing dependence on artificial fertilisers, by storing organic nutrients until needed or for onward processing.

Eggs can no longer be labelled as free range from 21 March

As the avian influenza risk level in poultry remains high where biosecurity is less stringent and medium where stringent biosecurity is in place, the mandatory housing measures set by Defra were not lifted on 21 March. Therefore, as from this date, the 16-week grace period that was in place for the marketing of free-range eggs will end.  This means that eggs from hens temporarily housed in barns for their welfare can no longer be marketed as free range.   Egg stamping with the number “2” indicating “from barn systems” must take place.  Free-range egg packs can continue to be used, but the words “barn eggs” must be shown on pack, either via direct print or sticker.

For further information on how to spot avian influenza and measure to prevent the disease please visit this page.  

Kenilworth Show puts out a call for more volunteers

The Kenilworth Show is Warwickshire’s largest one-day agricultural show and in 2022 is taking place on Saturday 4 June just outside Stoneleigh.   In the main ring there will be the ever popular vintage and modern machinery, sheep dog displays, livestock parade, inter hunt relay, classic cars and much more. Around the show you will be able to see all the cattle and sheep, birds of prey, ferrets, the animals in the mini zoo and heavy horses.

The Kenilworth Show would not be the huge success it is without the help and support of so many volunteers. It takes a huge number of people to put the show together.   The Show committee is so very grateful to all those who help and their support is truly valued by the society.   There are a range of volunteering opportunities, to suit many interests and skills, for anyone wishing to get involved.   If you would like to help and have a few hours you could give on the day please do get in touch.   For more information on the roles available please visit this page.    All show day volunteers receive free show ticket for entry and a meal voucher.

Plan your tree planting strategy with the NFU

The government has an ambitious, long-term vision for trees and woodland in England and aims to treble tree planting rates by the end of the current parliament. The England Trees Action Plan (ETAP) provides the vision to 2050 and beyond.

The NFU tree strategy was launched in July 2021. It sets out the opportunities and barriers for the farming industry and their vision for woodland creation, hedgerow planting and management, trees in the wider landscape and agroforestry.  Visit this page to read useful information and links, as well as case studies, which will help guide members interested in tree planting to the most appropriate schemes and funding.

Farming is Changing – new Defra leaflet sets out the timelines

Following our exit from the EU farming is changing and farmers and land managers will now be rewarded for doing even more to improve the environment whilst producing high quality food and other products.    Defra has produced a leaflet which sets out the changes and includes a timeline for the next few years.  Download the leaflet below.

Farming is Changing

Warwickshire businesses are encouraged to join the race to net zero

Small to medium-sized businesses across Warwickshire are being supported by Warwickshire County Council, Warwick and Stratford District Councils to achieve Net Zero emissions as part of a new and free webinar series.  A series of webinars will be delivered by Sustainability West Midlands covering various aspects of sustainability and achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.  The webinars follow feedback from businesses across the region that despite the frequency with which sustainability is being discussed there is still lack of clarity around how businesses should respond to it.

The planned webinar sessions will cover the following topics:

  • What does net zero mean for your SME? – 15th March
  • Funding support and opportunities for your SME – 29th March
  • Reduce your waste, increase profitability – 5th April
  • Greener transport  – 26th April
  • Energy saving in your small business – 10th May
  • Engaging your employees and customers – 24th May

Visit this page to book your place on the webinars.

A new guide for reducing on-farm greenhouse gas emissions

The new Innovation for Agriculture guide is aimed at farmers who are interested in the positive impact that their farm could have in tackling climate change and are looking to meet the demand for low carbon farming in a way that is both economically beneficial and environmentally friendly.  It aims to offer farmers ready to use solutions, weighing up the possible environmental impact against the positive benefit cost ratio for farm business.  Offering advice on the pathways to success and the best steps for implementing possible ‘actions’, this guide recognises that farming is part of the solution to climate change, rather than the blame.  Visit this page to download the guide.

Farmers’ Weekly Transition Hub – helping farm businesses to secure a sustainable future

Transition is a new initiative from Farmers’ Weekly aimed at securing a sustainable future for your farm business.  British farmers stand on the cusp of a new agricultural revolution when they will be expected to do much more than produce food: improving biodiversity, soil health, air and water quality, and storing carbon to help mitigate the impact of climate change will be part of their farm business.  All this means that farmers must refocus their farms to ensure they thrive as businesses while looking after and enhancing the environment.  The Farmers’ Weekly Transition Hub has a podcast, webinars, articles and case studies which will help you to navigate your journey to a sustainable future for British agriculture.  Visit the Transition Hub here.  

Read the NFU report on how farmers are working towards Net Zero

The NFU has launched a new report showcasing the steps farmers are taking to help British farming reach its net zero target by 2040.  You can read the report on this link.  

Saturday 4 June 2022 is confirmed for the Kenilworth Show

Following the loss of their existing show site due to HS2 construction a new show site for the Kenilworth Show has now been confirmed on the Stoneleigh Estate.  The date for the next show is Saturday 4 June, which is being held following a two-year absence due to the pandemic.  Follow all updates on the show on their website.  

Read farming statistics for 2020 in Agriculture in the UK

The Defra booklet Agriculture in the UK is an annual publication which contains an extensive range of data including farm incomes, land use, livestock numbers, prices, production of key commodities (e.g. wheat, milk, vegetables), overseas trade, organic farming and the environment. The information is used widely by government, industry, researchers and other stakeholders to support policy monitoring and development.  View your copy on this page.  

Break free from environmental jargon with the Prince’s Countryside Fund glossary of terms

Speaking at the Farmers Weekly awards at the start of 2021 HRH The Prince of Wales, set a challenge – to explain terms and practices linked to the environment in straightforward language.   So, the Prince’s Countryside Fund has created A-Zero: A farmer’s guide to breaking free from environmental jargon. The booklet is aimed at farmers and hopes to ensure that the ambitions around improving the management of the UK’s environment are accessible to all.  Visit this page to download the booklet.

AHDB machinery costing calculator

Calculate the cost of farm machinery, per hectare or per hour, with a simple calculator available for download on the AHDB website.  The tool can also be used to compare the costs of owning equipment with the cost of hiring it or getting in a contractor.  Different machinery systems can also be compared and repair costs can be calculated for budgeting purposes.

Measure your farm performance with the AHDB KPI Express

Understanding how your farm business is performing is critical. It’s fundamental to making decisions on how to improve performance. It helps you know where you are now, supports setting future targets and seeing how actual performance measures up against these targets.  A new tool from AHDB provides a core set of Key Performance Indicators to use as the starting point to understand how your farm business is performing.   Visit this page to use the KPI Express tool.

Agricultural transition – watch a PCF webinar on getting ready for change

Prince’s Countryside Fund and McDonald’s hosted a webinar on 9 March 2021 which covered what’s happening in England under Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan, what this means in practical terms for farmers and simple next steps that farm businesses can take to prepare themselves.   The webinar was delivered by Kite Consultants who also answered questions on the agricultural transition from farm businesses.  McDonald’s and PCF hosted this webinar as part of their Ready for Change programme. Aimed at farmers who’ve participated in The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme, Ready for Change equips farm businesses with the tools to adapt their activities and make sensible, informed decisions about their businesses. Since September 2020, 37 farm businesses have taken part in the workshop.  You can watch a recording of the webinar on this page.  

 

Forces Farming – helping ex-forces personnel to find a new career in agriculture

Retired forces personnel can often have many skills which are very transferable to farming – and they are also used to working outdoors in all weathers!    Their forces training means that veterans will also be punctual, thrive on routine, be safety conscious and be used to physical work.  If you are a farming business which would be interested in hosting an insight day, offering some work experience or even a longer placement to a forces veteran please visit the Forces Farming website for information on how to register your interest.

Recycle your farm plastic with the Green Tractor scheme

Green Tractor’s aim is to provide UK agriculture with the ability to recycle all farm plastic by 2030.  They operate on a not-for-profit basis.  The Green Tractor Scheme provides sustainable solutions for plastic used across all sectors of agriculture in the UK. The scheme is primarily focused on the collection and processing of waste farm plastic. Although agricultural plastics only represent 3% of the total plastics used in the UK, it is important that this high-profile sector continues to improve producer responsibility.   The Green Tractor Scheme covers the significant majority of the UK’s collectors and provides shared responsibility for farm plastic across the entire supply chain. The first plastic recycling survey shows that 19,974 tonnes of plastic was collected in 2018 and 24,149 tonnes was collected in 2019. Most of the plastic was sent for recycling with only 4% going to landfill.  To find out how to join the scheme please visit the Green Tractor website.  

New bank Oxbury is launched which puts farmers first

Oxbury, a new specialist agricultural bank, has now fully launched its savings and loan operations.   Designed with a 100% farmer focus, the bank and its products have been built with the specific aim of benefiting farmers and offering straightforward lending and savings products tailored to their needs.  To support farmers in their borrowing needs, the bank’s flagship account, Oxbury Farm Credit, will allow access to the cash needed for farm inputs such as feed, seed, chemicals and fertilisers.  Later in the year, the bank will also be launching the UK’s first carbon mitigation savings account for the general consumer. This allows everyone to save in an environmentally conscious way while supporting tree-planting projects on British farms. It also brings more money into the agricultural sector, as all funds saved with Oxbury are only used to support lending to UK agriculture.  You can access the bank’s website on this page.  

Addington Fund seeks building land for development of retirement homes

The farming charity Addington Fund is looking to buy a limited number of retirement homes for farmers who want to retire but cannot contemplate it on financial grounds. These can be purchased out right by Addington or on a shared equity basis using a declaration of trust agreement. If you would like more information, please call Sue English on 01926 620135 opt 2 or email sueenglish@addingtonfund.org.uk 

The charity is also looking to create the first Addington Fund owned retirement cul-de-sac for retired farmers and agriculturists. They are looking for a suitable development of up to five houses/bungalows in a suitable rural location with sympathetic like-minded partners as a builder or a landowner.  Addington Fund is happy to assist with planning applications. Please contact Bill Young on 07909 538426 or billyoung@addingtonfund.org.uk for further information.

Read the statistics on farm business income in England 2019/20

Defra has published its annual statistics on farm business income in England for 2019/20.  The figures represents the financial return to all unpaid labour on their capital invested in the farm business, including land and buildings. It is designed to compare performance across different types of farming.  The average Farm Business Income in 2019 /20 was £46,000. A combination of reduced prices and increased costs led to lower incomes, with output virtually unchanged.  Read the full report here.

Working towards net zero emissions for beef farmers

Farming for a Better Climate has produced some practical guides on how farmers can reduce carbon emissions from beef production.  Visit this page to read the guides.

Nature Friendly Farming Network publish a guide to net zero carbon in farming

Net zero carbon refers to achieving an overall balance between emissions produced and emissions taken out of the atmosphere. Achieving net zero is required to meet the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep global temperatures below a 1.5°C rise above pre-industrial levels.  To achieve the scale of change needed, action must be taken now to reduce emissions and lay the foundations for the longer-term transformation required.  In order to help farmers achieve net zero targets Nature Friendly Farming Network has created a practical guide for farmers.

New opportunity for farmers – Arden Farm Wildlife Network

Are you a farmer in the Arden area of Warwickshire interested in:
• Getting support to help you with managing the options in your environmental schemes.
• Keeping up to date with the changes in environmental support and different channels of funding available.
• Improving your farm for wildlife with low cost methods – that can benefit your business too.
• Finding more about what wildlife you have got on your farm?

The Arden Farm Wildlife Network could help you!

If you would like further details then please give Zoe Bell a call or drop her an email.

Contact: Zoe Bell
Telephone: 07980 771872
Email Address: zoecbell@outlook.com
Website: Open Website

Get pelletwise

The Metaldehyde Stewardship Group has produce “A guide to Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and slug control”.
To view the guide use the link below.

Website: Open Website

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Amy Brant
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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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