Page 1













Cover by Louise Thompson


Gift Guide 16 Inspirational Gifts for Farming Fathers

Fence conductors Part 3 in the Series, 4 pages of Handy Tips from Voss.

Conservation Special Brand New! Focus on Habitats and Wildlife


M A I L @ FA R M L A N D P R E S S . CO M | T W E E T @ FA R M L A N D U K | 0 3 3 3 7 3 3 13 3 9


Measure • Monitor Manage When accurate weather data is critical to your success, choose the market leader in reliable and affordable monitoring.

Vantage Pro 2 •Reports weather conditions to the Web via cellular connection •Delivers remote data to your home or office—anywhere you have an internet connection •Cabled or Wireless options •Customisable - add-on options include; solar and UV radiation sensors, soil moisture stations, and long and short-range repeaters. From £524 ex VAT

Learn more at / 02392 623900

inside this

issue. May 2017

Conservation. News from Conservation Editor Ben Eagle. Buzzing Devon with Cathy Horsley. Hedgehogs - when did you last see one? FWAG's Becky Hughes discusses the decline.

Special Features.


Connect. farmlanduk farmlanduk farmlanduk

Contributors Kate Morris. Vet Kate brought us the 'Dairy isn't scary' article in our last issue. Now she's back discussing Spring and turning the calves out. See more on page 13.

Ben Eagle.

Electric Fence 4 page special, Farmland with Knight Frank, Meet the Robinsons, planning, land, law finance, farming news, opinions and Fergus Ewing MSP on the digital age and 2 page. Father's Day Gift Guide.

Welcoming Ben Eagle as Farmland Magazine's new conservation editor. Join us each month for news, interviews and guidance on how best to protect our habitats

Smallholders Raised beds with Andy Taylor. PLUS Brand new smallholder diaries - What to look for in a new smallholding with Jack and David Smellie from Relaxed.

Farming Life.

Offering Quality and Choice ATVs, Garden Tractors, Lawnmowers, Chainsaws, Brushcutters, Hedgecutters & Rotavators.

Hear from Irish Farmerette Lorna Sixsmith, Farmers Wife and Mummy, and many more. Sharing the great voice of British Farmers.

NEXT time. 09. Legal Clinic 13. Dealer Focus 19. Farm Fashion 23. Show guide 26. Conservation 28. Young farmers 30. Giveaways 33. See you next time

Scots Gap, Morpeth NE61 4DT Tel: 01670 774603 & 774676 @robsonandcowan_ Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8.30am - 5.30pm, Saturday 8.30am to 5pm



Cheshire auction open for business

C BVDFree reaches 1,000 herd landmark Scheme set out to eradicate Bovine Viral Diarrhoea hits milestone


his week, a significant milestone has been attained by the BVDFree England scheme with 1,000 herds now registered to participate in the nationwide eradication scheme. On the BVDFree database there are 25,000 searchable, individual animal statuses in total. To achieve this, 100 vet practices have actively supported the scheme and continue to work with farmers to help improve performance. Herds with chronic infection could cost the farmer approximately £37 per cow, per year. Whereas using a proactive approach to eliminate BVD such as tag testing calves, only costs around £3.30 per calf. Being proactive is more effective for farmers to utilise their vets’ expertise to improve animal health across the herd. By joining the BVDFree scheme, farmers have access to a framework to work toward a BVDFree herd status. It includes assessing the risks of bringing BVD onto the farm and testing to see if it is present in the herd.

Willow FarmVets, Emyr Rowlands said “Knowing a herd’s BVD status and understanding farm-specific risk factors is now an essential part of herd health planning. As a predominantly dairy practice, our aim is to know the BVD status of 90 per cent of our dairy farms by the end of 2017 by engaging clients through general meetings and small group discussions. Farms which have removed BVD persistently infected (PI) animals notice a rapid improvement in calf health and fertility, and, for those confirmed free of BVD, it has highlighted the importance of biosecurity and an effective vaccination protocol. Registering with BVDFree England provides a framework for those selling stock and gives buyers confidence in the BVD status of the purchased animals. No farm can afford not to be free from BVD.” Visit to join the scheme to kick start the process of eliminating BVD on your farm.

heshire based brothers Nigel and Neil Ashley have teamed up with their colleague Roy Waller to open Ashley Waller Auctions. This new partnership has over 100 years collective experience as Auctioneers and Valuers in many diverse fields. They will be holding weekly auctions of horticultural produce and general household furniture, along with monthly machinery auctions and numerous specialist sales including off site dispersals. The new auction will be located at Four Oaks, Lower Withington, Cheshire, in the shadow of Jodrell Bank telescope. The site boasts 35,000 square feet of shed space on a 30 acre site with parking for up to 300 cars. It is 5 miles from junction 18 of the M6 and 12 miles from junction 6 of the M56. Auctioneer Neil Ashley commented; "We found there was a huge local demand for an auction centre in North Cheshire to sell horticulture, machinery, furniture and other items. Many people suggested that with our combined auctioneering experience we should find a premises, which we have done and we look forward to welcoming friends and customers both old and new." Neil added "Our first Farm Machinery and Implements sale is on 14th June and we welcome anyone with an interest in these items to get in touch. Our website is where you can get the latest details and upcoming sales.


British meat flying the flag abroad Food and Hospitality trade shows in Hong Kong and China will showcase quality meat from Britain this month at Hofex and SIAL. A selection of top quality beef, lamb, pork and processed meats will be exhibited by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) at Hofex. There will be over 2,500 different exhibitors at the event from 57 countries, drawing in 50,000 buyers. After this AHBD Pork will head to Shanghai for SIAL 2017. Both events will be supported by 16 meat exporters in total. Jean-Pierre Garnier, AHDB Head of Exports



said “We are thrilled to be attending both of these major trade shows which every year grow in popularity and size, bringing together leading food experts from around the world. Hofex and SIAL present excellent opportunities for exporters and ensure that quality British meat is top of mind for buyers. In essence, the shows reflect two different objectives: In Hong Kong we will present a very premium meat offer backed by tastings and strong branding; in Shanghai, we will aim to increase the penetration and value of British pork on the Chinese market. With Greater China, a major

prize in the development of British meat exports, these two shows will offer an opportunity to achieve this goal.”

List your event free here and online. Contact

What's On?


May Grassland & Muck The 2017 show will be bigger and better than ever before. Showcasing the latest machines in action. 24th - 25th May at Stoneleigh Park Warwickshire Oxfordshire Young Farmers County Show Sunday 28 May 10am to 5pm. Hosted annually by Oxfordshire Young Farmers, there will be main ring attractions, rural crafts, trade and food stands making it a fun day out for all the family. Earth Trust Centre, Abingdon OX14 4QZ

Bridgestone to showcase their largest ever tyre

Bridgestone set to make big impression at Grassland event At this years Grassland and Muck 2017 event, Bridgestone are launching its largest agricultural tyre to date and are set to make a big impression. The tyre will be showcased at the event alongside a selection of the brands premium products in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire. Grassland and Muck takes place on the 24 and 25 May and will be the first in the UK to see the new tyre as it is introduced into the British marketplace. Manufactured to the higher Increased Flexion specification standards, the tyre has up to 20% greater load (carrying) abilities or a 20% reduction in operating pressure to that of a conventional tyre. The IF1050/50 R32 CFO was designed to support large scale, high output, muck spreading operations. It also meets all Cyclical Field Operation specifications. “We are looking forward to presenting the latest tyre in the Bridgestone portfolio to visitors at Grassland and Muck 2017. The tyre is our largest to date and we are proud of the huge benefits that it can bring to all sizes of farming operations.

We look forward to speaking to farmers and contractors at the event and hope they’ll be able to visit the Bridgestone stand to see the IF1050/50 R32 CFO first-hand.” Steve Hewitt, Agricultural Product Manager for Bridgestone UK

"The tyre is our largest one to date and we're proud of the benefits it can bring"

To discuss the product, the Bridgestone Agricultural Tyres team will be at stand 816 on the day from 8:30am on the 24 and 25 May. To find out more information about the IF1050/50 R32 CFO and all other products in Bridgestone’s agricultural portfolio, visit

Consumer guide to water market For the first time ever, Farming businesses in England can choose who supplies their water. The water and wastewater market was opened to competition on 1 April, giving all business customers the freedom to shop around for a better price and service deal. Independent water specialist The Water Report has produced a guide to help farming businesses understand how the new market works and what they could gain from switching. The Customer Guide to the New Water Market also includes a supplier directory to help

customers shortlist potential retailers from the 20+ companies licensed to compete. Karma Loveday, editor of The Water Report said: “This is a new market and customers have so many questions about it. How does it work? Could I save on my bills? What are my options? The list goes on. We have produced The Customer Guide to the New Water Market and made if free to download to provide businesses with independent information to help them find their way in the new environment.” Download FREE at

June Royal Cheshire Show 20 - 21st June at Clay House Farm, Knutsford. The show gives a real taste of the countryside. Tickets from £17 online. Royal Highland Show The 117th annual Royal Highland Show bringing with it everything from farming, food and rural living. 22 - 25th June. NSA North Sheep 2017 W.H & J Smith & Sons will host this year’s National Sheep Associations’ North Sheep event at West Shields Farm on Wednesday 7 June.

July Royal Welsh Show 24-27th July at the South of England Showground. The pinnacle event in the British Agricultural calendar Smallholders Show 2017 1 - 2 July at the Royal Cornwall Showground. There's something for everyone at this event.

Workshops Agroforestry 2017 Agroforestry, growing trees in fields, can boost farms’ productivity and profits. 22nd June, improving productivity for farmers and foresters. Cranfield University. GREATsoils workshop: Practical Soil Health Testing A hands on exploration of practical methods for testing soil health




SUBARUSENSE Summon instant control at the touch of a button with Subaru’s X-Mode with Hill Descent Control.* Negotiating steep, slippery terrain is challenging. X-Mode with Hill Descent Control helps you do it safely and surely. When engaged, it controls the engine, transmission, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, brakes and other components to maintain a constant, slow speed when going up or down steep slopes. The result? The driver can concentrate solely on steering, making it easier to negotiate tricky terrain. At Subaru, functionality comes before anything else. To us, it just makes sense. Find out more at

SUBARU RANGE Fuel consumption in mpg (lit/100km): Urban 25.2-41.5 (11.2-6.8); Extra Urban 40.4-61.4 (7.0-4.6); Combined 33.2-52.3 (8.5-5.4). CO2 Emissions 197-141g/km. MPG figures are official EU test figures for comparative purposes and may not reflect real driving results. * Outback and Forester Lineartronic models only. Model shown is Outback 2.5i SE Premium Lineartronic priced at £32,995 plus special paint finish at £550.




Farmer’s plight highlights the need for legal support Specialist Management Liability policy Rural Protect, protects against the very issues faced by 83-year-old Kenneth Hugill. @McClarrons


awyer Nick Freeman has questioned the fairness of the legal system which “badly let down” his client, Kenneth Hugill, an 83-year-old farmer who despite being cleared for Grievous Bodily Harm after shooting an intruder in the foot, was still left with a £30,000 bill for his defence costs. Fortunately, a JustGiving page set up by Mr Freeman has already reached over £22,000 – sparing Mr Hugill a debt which would have taken the family 20-30 years to pay off. With the legal system still seeing innocent defendants penalised with massive court bills, the case once again highlights the need for dedicated insurance especially designed for farmers. Rural Protect is a Management Liability insurance policy developed specifically for rural clients, offering protection in claims brought about not just by UK regulators such as HSE and Defra, but also from criminal allegations. Given that the jury in Mr Hugill’s case took only 24 minutes to reach the verdict of “not guilty”, this is a prime example of where Rural Protect offers important financial support. Not only does this policy, unique to the UK insurance market, provide financial reimbursement for legal costs in defence and in pursuit where there is a reasonable chance of success, it also includes access to free expert advice on regulatory and legal matters from law firm radar. Confusion over who pays for what, and discrepancies between Management Liability and Legal Expenses can cause many defendants to all into a financial trap created by The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders

(LASPO) Act 2012, which was put into practice in 2013, drastically limiting the reach of legal aid. Meanwhile, those reassured that they are covered by Legal Expenses in their policy are often not if they were to find themselves in a similar position to that of Mr Hugill, who was “petrified” by his ordeal. Legal Expenses will typically provide cover for legal advice following a dispute arising from property, tax, employment, contracts and debt recovery, and the associated legal defence costs. Management Liability, on the other hand, covers the defence costs and awards arising from any allegation of wrongdoing in connection with the business. Cover is provided for the policyholder, their employees and also their business for allegations brought via the Civil or Criminal legal system. Rural Protect is unique as a Management Liability policy in that it comes from the understanding of the challenges that those with a rural business face, and specifically the gaps in cover which McClarrons, who created the policy along with global insurer AXA, identified.

“The case with Mr Hugill is very unfortunate, and it is just these kinds of scenarios we want to help rural businesses avoid.” said Darren Felgate, Account Executive at McClarrons. “This is why we worked carefully to create a product that plugs all the gaps in cover, to protect rural clients and reassure them that they have the essential legal cover they need, thereby avoiding the financial stress of exorbitant defence costs they may face in the future.”





It is not enough to focus our attention just on nature reserves

@benjy_eagle @benjy_eagle

Campaigners Call for ‘Conservation Optimism’

What can we do to improve our habitats? Who's doing what when it comes to protecting our wildlife? Join conservation editor Ben Eagle as he finds out BEN EAGLE Agricultural writer Ben also runs the regular #meetthefarmers podcast


elcome to the first issue of a new regular section in Farmland Magazine focused on conservation. Despite what comes across in much of the popular press, hundreds of farmers are passionate conservationists and these pages will celebrate this. In addition to fulfilling their primary role as food producers, many take a keen interest in the wildlife on their farm and since the advent of environmental stewardship thousands have taken advantage of paid schemes to improve the value of farmland habitats. This section will therefore bring you stories of conservation successes on farmland across the UK, interviews with farmers, conservationists, advisors and others with a stake in farmland wildlife, as well as conservation news and articles about the challenges faced by wildlife in a modern farming context and suggestions as to what we can do about it. The State of Nature report published last year built on the picture presented in the 2013 version, and it wasn’t good reading from a farming point of view. We were told that 12% of farmland species are threatened with extinction across the country and 52% of species have declined since 1970. However, in the short term (2002-2013) the picture has not got any worse, which must be a positive thing, although clearly there is still much work to be done. In reality, active conservation schemes on farms have only been apparent since the late 1980s when environmentally sensitive areas were introduced, followed by countryside stewardship (version one) which began in the early 1990s. It takes time for changes to take effect, and the trajectory is much better than the huge losses to biodiversity experienced in the 1970s and 1980s. What is more, hundreds of farmers actively engage in public orientated conservation projects, such as the annual Big Farmland Bird



Count, run by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. In February this year over 970 farmers took part and recorded 112 different species across over 316,000 hectares. This statistic, indicating scale, shows how important farmland conservation is for conservation generally. Around 70% of land in the UK is farmed in some way, whether arable or pasture. It is therefore no longer enough to focus conservation efforts just on nature reserves. We all need to take an active approach on farmland to aid efforts overall. Action on the ground will vary depending on the specific landscape and priority habitats available on a particular farm. Upland farmers might be focused on improving habitat for breeding waders or restoring blanket bog. Those in the south east might be encouraged to plant new hedgerows or leave 6 metre margins around the perimeter of fields. On my own family’s farm, on the Essex coast, we breached a small area of sea wall seven years ago to create a sheltered tidal saline lagoon and encourage build-up of salt marsh habitat. We also dedicate the management of our coastal grazing marsh to over-wintering waders, with Herefords and a small flock of mule sheep doing most of the hard work regulating the grass condition whilst we manage relative water levels. We have planted new hedgerow, created skylark plots in fields, planted areas with small seed intended for winter bird feed and left areas of scrub for small breeding birds. As we (hopefully) enter a new countryside stewardship agreement next year this work will continue. I look forward to bringing you farmland conservation stories from across the UK. Please do get in touch with us if you are interested in having your farm featured.

Conservationists are often criticised for being too negative when it comes to speaking about the state of nature. Further, the media tends to focus on the doom and gloom of species loss, habitat degradation and climate changes issues, rather than the positive stories of real successes on the ground. As an antidote to this, the Conservation Optimism Summit, a two day conference bringing together over 300 conservationists, journalists, policy makers and other interested individuals, was held in London last month, in addition to a public event held on Earth Day at London Zoo. It was organised by a partnership of conservationists and students from the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science at Oxford University, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Zoological Society of London. Cheli Cresswell, a PhD student at Oxford University, was on the steering committee for the summit, and believes that hope is a better cause for action than despair. ‘’I was thrilled with how the event came together’’ said Cheli. ‘’So many diverse voices and backgrounds were represented, and the one thing that everyone seemingly shared was a tremendous enthusiasm for the vision of the summit. I think more and more people are realizing that hope is a much more empowering emotion than fear, and if we want to make a difference for conservation, we have to give people both a reason, and a model, for action.’’ Topics of discussion included lynx reintroduction in central Europe, giant tortoises in the Galapagos, orangutans in Malaysia, microbeads, conservation communication and rewilding. Farmland conservation received little attention directly, although biologist Ugo D’Ambrosio acknowledged a growth in diversity of certain crop varieties in some parts of the world, for example of buckwheat and aubergines. Farming and conservation are often discussed in different arenas and it is important that they come together.

Next time...

*If you would like your farm featured in our monthly conservation section, you can email

- Farm in focus - GWCT Loddington - Allerton project 25 year anniversary

get through your application may also reveal facts about your farm that you didn’t know – archaeological features, valuable habitats in the surrounding countryside, native wildlife species that rely on your farm.

Demonstrate your environmental credentials The farming sector will come under increasing scrutiny in the future, both from government and from our customers. Being part of a recognised agri-environment scheme is a simple way to signal your commitment to protecting our landscape and wildlife, and running an efficient and sustainable business. The record-keeping requirements of Mid-Tier, whilst they may seem onerous at first, can also be used to help you monitor and manage your farm performance and satisfy other inspections such as farm assurance.

Plenty of time to apply for Mid-Tier Countryside Stewardship


lthough applications for Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship closed on 5th May farmers interested in applying for the Mid-Tier scheme still have until 31st July to request an application pack. Mid-Tier focuses on less targeted conservation improvements with wider benefits, such as improving condition of key habitats for pollinators and farmland birds or reducing diffuse water pollution. Agreements run for five years and have varied management requirements, depending on the bespoke options chosen by the farmer or landowner. The Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) are on hand to support farmers with their applications. Becky Hughes, a farm conservation advisor from FWAG SouthWest is encouraging all farmers to consider applying. FWAG SouthWest seeks to support, enthuse and inspire farmers to value the environmental assets on their land and use them to secure sustainable and profitable businesses for the future. Here, Becky outlines just some of the potential benefits:

Proven benefits for wildlife

The management requirements for countryside stewardship are detailed but this is because they are evidence-based and proven to get results. If you find options that you are confident you can deliver, you know that you will be having a positive impact on helping wildlife on and around your farm, protecting water, soil and landscape in the process. You

may already be doing management that is similar to the requirements, so why not improve your effectiveness and be rewarded for it?

Opportunity to make capital improvements

The Mid-Tier scheme comes with the opportunity to apply for up to two years of capital grants. If you are in a high priority area for water quality (Catchment Sensitive Farming) you can get help towards improving yard layout to reduce pollution. But even if you are not in a target catchment, you can still get grants towards hedge and wall repair, stream fencing, livestock troughs and more. Why not take advantage of this money whilst it still exists to improve your farm infrastructure?

If all of this, plus of course five years of guaranteed income, does not persuade you to allocate some time and effort into submitting an application, but you would still like some advice and guidance on improving the environmental performance of your farm and reducing your pollution impact, then follow the Campaign for the Farmed Environment at uk or of course contact one of our FWAG SW Advisers for independent expert advice on managing your farmed environment. For more information about FWAG - or call 01823 660684

Take a fresh look at your farm

Your landscape has the potential to work for food production and provide wildlife benefits at the same time. Moving into a new agri-environment scheme is a good time to review your land capability and efficiency, and find a better use for less productive, marginal, risky land. Do you have fields prone to runoff and soil erosion? Are there wet fields that require more work than they are worth? Have you been considering incorporating fallow or cover crops into your management? A Mid-Tier Scheme can give you the means to tackle these issues. The information you

Being part of an agri-environment scheme imple way to signal your commitment to protecting our landscape and wildlife




Spring time on the Bee farm As the bee farming season really kicks off, we are looking at migratory pollination on the farm

Cathy Horsley | @BuzzingDevon Cathy is a Conservation Officer for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, based in Devon and working on the West Country Buzz project. She joined BBCT in 2016, and has a background in Ecology and pollinators. West Country Buzz – working with farmers to support pollinatorfriendly land management Picture credit GED MARSHALL KEVIN HORNER Southern Region Bee Farmers Chairman | @kevinhorner4


ast month we spoke about siting an Apiary for best results, now is when the Bee farming season really begins to take off. The two main forms of bee farming split at this time of year, the bee farmers whose income relies on pollination of crops start their migratory season, their strongest colonies get loaded onto trailers and pickups either very late at night or in the early hours, this is because the whole colony needs to be transported and bees need to be kept cool whilst on the road. They are moved in the hours of darkness as this is the coolest time of day. Orchards are all over the country and our pollination secretary does a good job in coordinating this throughout the season, matching colonies of bees in the correct number at the right time. At this time of year the main crops are top fruits, blueberries and many other crops that rely on well-timed and targeted pollination for a good yield later in the year. For those of us that do not do any migratory pollination work there are still some that move some of their colonies to various crops throughout the season to collect nectar from specialist crops giving niche market honeys. The majority however are working hard with all their colonies as the colony size grows at speed. To obtain the biggest honey crop we must stay ahead of the bees, giving lots of space for the storage of nectar to be converted into honey. Whilst the Oil Seed Rape is in flower a strong colony can fill a honey super with thirty pounds plus of nectar in less than a week given ideal weather conditions.

Next time...Habitats 10


This is the beginning of the busiest time of the beekeeping season as these colonies can get so big they begin swarming preparations, if a colony of bees swarms half of the bees and the queen leave the hive, this seriously affects the colonies ability to effectively forage for nectar for the rest of the season. This makes it a very important part of management to keep the colony intact to maximise honey cropping potential. See more at

The dramatic decline of bumblebees and other pollinators has hit the headlines in recent years. Two bumblebee species have gone extinct since the start of the 20th century, and a further two are on the brink of extinction. Urgent action is clearly needed, and landowners in the south west are working with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) to reverse this downward trend. Why do we need pollinators in farmland? Pollinators are essential for productive and sustainable farming. We depend on them to pollinate 75% of our food crops, clover pasture and herbal leys, and wildflowers. The decline of pollinators has enormous repercussions. What West Country Buzz is doing and how to get involved Bumblebees need a continuous supply of food (pollen and nectar) throughout the colony’s whole life cycle, which can range between March and September, and somewhere to nest and hibernate. Nesting habitat can be in disused small mammal burrows in long tussocky grassland or underground, or in more open grassland. Hibernation sites are commonly in north-facing banks. Farmers across Devon and the wider south west have been doing outstanding work for pollinators by providing food and sheltering sites. Examples include encouraging naturally occurring wild flowers along tracksides, and grazing on rotation to allow pasture to flower. Others have left long grass in strips along hedgerows and fences, and in awkward field corners to create nesting space. These areas are cut on a three to five year rotation to stop scrub encroachment. For more information on how to get involed in the project please visit;


When was the last time you saw a hedgehog on your farm – alive or dead? Becky Hughes Farm Conservation Adviser - Cornwall tweet @FWAGSouthWest


edgehog numbers have dropped from around 35 million in the 1950’s to less than a million now, and we can’t prove why. It is thought likely that a combination of factors that have changed both in the farmed landscape and suburban environment are combining to affect this generalist omnivore in such a way that if we don’t do something to reverse the decline, future generations may never see a hedgehog in the wild. What might cause the decline? A number of factors all working together, such as Lack of food – hedgehogs mostly eat invertebrates like slugs, earthworms, leatherjackets and beetles. Increasing chemical use has not only vastly reduced the amount of food available to hedgehogs, but the chemicals themselves, like slug pellets, are toxic.

Shrinking habitat – hedgehogs have a home range of perhaps 10 – 20 hectares, and will roam up to 2km a night looking for food. If they cannot safely roam throughout their range, perhaps due to garden fences, roads, arable fields and open spaces, then they find it difficult to get enough food, meet other hedgehogs to breed, or find safe places to hide from machinery, traffic and predators. Historic loss of hedgerows and permanent pasture has significantly reduced their potential range and foraging space too. Mild winters – hedgehogs hibernate through the winter, but mild temperatures may mean that they emerge before their food is abundant enough for them to survive. This is compounded by difficulties of putting on enough weight before winter,

especially if they were a late or second litter. Predation & Disturbance - Mature hedgehogs are well protected by their spines against many typical predators like owls or foxes, although young hoglets are vulnerable. Badgers are often cited as a significant problem for hedgehogs, and it is the case that badgers will kill (and sometimes eat) young AND adult hedgehogs. Hedgehogs and badgers occupy a similar ‘niche’ in our countryside – they eat the same food and live in the same habitat, and have done for thousands of years. However, because they do compete for the same food sources, badgers will kill hedgehogs to protect their territory assets and they will eat them. Hedgehogs therefore actively avoid any contact with badgers, and it is likely that in a range where hedgehogs are already vulnerable, a high local population of badgers would affect hedgehog behaviour and roaming, prevent numbers from recovering and possibly wipe out a hedgehog population completely from the area. So are there any answers? Hedgehogs are a great generalist pest controller, only really requiring the simple things in life – food, shelter and room to roam. These can all be provided on the farm by connecting permanent pasture with corridors of dense bushy hedges and tussocky grass margins, reducing chemical use where possible to boost amount of invertebrate food and limit hedgehog exposure, creating safe untidy corners for hedgehogs to hibernate away from farm machinery and fire, and boosting a healthy hedgehog through weaning and hibernation, by providing supplementary food sources like meat-based pet food and escape routes from traps like cattle grids. A healthy and abundant hedgehog population that can travel freely about a productive home range, through gaps in fences and walls, and that can rear a healthy litter or two a year and get them safely through hibernation, will be better placed to withstand predation by badgers and death on the roads. All these measures will also benefit our other familiar farm wildlife that is struggling in secret – swifts and toads are also experiencing dramatic declines in numbers due to lack of food and safe habitat. What simple steps could you take to make space for wildlife on your farm?

No. 1 for your Countryside Stewardship Applications Get a free quote today: Tel: 01823 660684 Email: @farmlanduk | FARMLAND MAGAZINE



Britains brown hares could benefit from non-native crops grown for bioenergy

Operation turtle dove RSPB calls for farmers to help saved a much loved bird


he UK’s fastest declining bird, the turtle dove, needs farmers. This beautiful, diminutive farmland dove celebrated by Shakespeare - and sung about across the nation every Christmas - is in serious trouble. Since 1970, we have lost 97% of our UK turtle doves. The reasons for this are complex, especially as this is a migratory species, which overwinters in Africa. Turtle doves eat only seeds, in fact, unusually, even their chicks are fed on seeds, and scientists believe that a shortage of this important food source here in the UK is one of the main factors for the dove’s disappearance. Disease may also be playing a part and more research is ongoing to work out how much of a problem this is for the birds. On the migration route, many are shot, legally and illegally, which we believe could be at unsustainable levels. Finally, when the turtle doves reach their wintering grounds in countries like Mali and Senegal, they may find that many of the trees they need to

spend the night in have been chopped down as the pressure on the landscape to provide for people increases. Operation Turtle Dove is a partnership of organisations aiming to reverse the fortunes of this much-loved bird. The RSPB, Conservation Grade, Natural England and Pensthorpe Conservation Trust work with farmers, scientists and other conservationists across the UK and the birds’ migration flight path to try to tackle these challenges. So, how can farmers join in to help? First, by making sure there’s plenty of food. There are Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) options to support this, as well as simple ways to create suitable turtle habitat using voluntary measures. Then, the birds need somewhere like a scrubby hedge to nest, as well as a nearby water source: There’s plenty of advice on what to do on the Operation Turtle Dove website. In the next issue, find out more about these amazing birds and how we can help save them.

Researchers from the universities of Cambridge, Hull and the Open University have discovered that native brown hares may be benefitting from exotic, non-native crops growing across Britain’s farmland. The study, published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research, shows that how crops are planted is just as important as to which crops are grown in determining their effects on farmland wildlife. The research team led by Dr Silviu Petrovan, set out to investigate what effects biomass energy crops might have on one of Britain’s most charismatic but threatened farmland species, the brown hare. Several new crops are being planted across the UK and Europe, which are harvested and burned for fuel. These biomass energy crops differ from most because they are typically planted for long-term harvests (up to 25 yrs) and are cut annually from the same sites. By tracking hares in farmland planted with different sized fields of elephant grass, Dr Petrovan’s team showed that the crop planted in small blocks provides an excellent habitat for brown hares, but if planted as a monoculture across large areas, it was found to discourage hares. The team analysed the diet from hare droppings, which showed that hares avoid elephant grass as a food source, preferring more typical cereal crops, wild grasses and herbs, but they rest and shelter extensively in it.

Made in Germany

kg Up to 250 te u in m r e straw p

Mixer Wagon combined with straw blower • Spread far: up to 20m • Unique Air flow technologie • Adjust the throw distance as standard For more information: North: Paul McUrich · Tel: 07810 - 04 01 00 · South: John Molton · Tel: 0794 - 77 19 985 ·





Spring is in the air Kate Morris | @farmuponthehill


pring is in the air, which can only mean one thing- time to turn the cows out. The dairy herd goes back out to grass 24 hours a day. This years in-calf heifers will be turned out separately. Preparations for turnout begin with routine tasks such as checking fencing and water supply. Perhaps more importantly we implement several routine health tasks in the lead up to turnout. The aim of this is to protect the herd and minimise financial loss due to disease. We vaccinate against Blackleg and Leptospirosis, and worm to protect against PGE and Lungworm. Blackleg is the common name for a Clostridial disease caused by a bacterium found in soil. Infection can enter through wounds, dirty needles or even whilst grazing. Once inside the cow, spores will lie dormant in muscle until a bash from another cow or a bulling injury causes them to activate. This can lead to high fevers and lethargy, lameness and sudden death. Prevention is better than cure, and we routinely vaccinate the heifers, followed by annual boosters for the rest of the herd. Leptospirosis is another bacterial disease we protect against. Spread in urine, the two strains of Lepto can dramatically reduce milk yield. Effects on fertility may be subtle, with decreased conception rate causing large financial loss. It can also lead to abortion, and the birth of premature calves.

By vaccinating, we also protect ourselves. Getting splashed with infected urine whilst in the parlour or contact with abortion products could lead at best to flu like symptoms, at worst to liver or kidney failure. Vaccination against leptospirosis is beneficial in both infected and ‘clean’ herds. Not only will it protect naïve animals against contracting the disease, it will help improve fertility in affected cows and decrease shedding of bacteria in urine. All our heifers get 2 doses of vaccine 4-6 weeks apart, with the rest of the herd getting a yearly booster before turnout. Biosecurity is also important to protect against Leptospirosis. We run a closed herd and use AI or one of our home grown bull calves rather than buying in a bull. We don’t share grazing with sheep and prevent access to the stream that runs through the farm. Lungworm can cause substantial drop in

At the Vets with...

milk yield as well as breathing problems and even death of affected cows. Parasitic Gastroenteritis (PGE) is mainly a risk for in calf heifers during their first summer at grass. We strategically worm the herd around turnout to reduce worm burdens and prevent development of these diseases. Every farm is different, so the way you protect your herd should be tailored to your own situation. Some people prefer to vaccinate against lungworm, following on later with wormers to control PGE. Turnout is much anticipated here on the farm. It is looked forward to longingly by man and beast after the winter months. Practically, planning ahead means the herd will hopefully have a healthy and profitable summer, so we can concentrate on worrying about silage! Kate Morris

Elizabeth Hodges MRCVS

CLOSTRIDIAL VACCINE IN LAMBS While most farmers are used to giving a clostridial vaccine to ewes before lambing, not everyone thinks to vaccinate their lambs! Considering all the hard work taken to get them to the field it is devastating to see losses, usually of the best lambs, due to clostridial diseases when a very cost-effective vaccine is available. Vaccinations given to the ewes before lambing provide essential protection for lambs through the colostrum but this protection usually only lasts 4 weeks. Lambs are then at risk from several types of clostridial bacteria causing a range of problems including; blackleg, lamb dysentery, pulpy kidney, struck, braxy and tetanus. Clostridial bacteria are commonly found in the soil and within the gut. Soil borne clostridial bacteria invade tissues through wounds often due to ringing lambs and produce toxins which quickly lead to death.


Changes in diet can cause an overgrowth of clostridial bacteria within the gut with the same effects. Pasteurella is also a risk for young lambs. This most commonly causes pneumonia but can also cause a systemic septicaemia causing high number of sudden deaths. The use of the combined clostridial and pasteurella vaccines is very useful in addressing both these issues. The most common protocol for lamb vaccinations are two doses 4-6weeks apart for all lambs over 3weeks old. Batch lambs over this age to ensure effective use of bottle sizes. Clostridal vaccines are some of the cheapest you can buy – well worth the cost to keep lamb losses down!

Towfarmvets @farmlanduk | FARMLAND MAGAZINE



Keeping it brief Prices Muller announce price decrease The dairy giant has

Dairy council launch sports nutrition award Council looking to inspire next generation of researchers to investigate the benefits of dairy products.


he Dairy Council is awaiting the next generation of sport nutritionists to submit their research on the role dairy plays in sport and exercise nutrition. In collaboration with the British Dietetic Association’s Sport and Exercise Nutrition register (SENr) the 2017 Dairy Council Sport Nutrition Award is open to nutrition and sports students and graduates registered to SENr. To enter, all applicants are asked to write a formal, evidence based article on the use of dairy foods or milk in sport nutrition and elite performance. This can be submitted as either a dissertation, case study or a literature review.

“Research on milk and dairy and its relationship with exercise and performance nutrition is extensive, and is a growing field of study. Over the 4 years we have been running this award we have received some really high quality research from students and graduates. Interestingly, more researchers are showing an interest in studying the protein content of milk, but saying that, every year

we receive submissions that cover a whole range of topics. Through this award, we hope to inspire the next generation of sport nutritionists and researchers to further investigate the benefits of dairy products, and put it in practice in their future careers. It’s a fantastic platform for aspiring sport nutritionists to showcase their work on recreational sport nutrition or elite performance nutrition.” Lydia Cooper, nutrition scientist at The Dairy Council. Entries will be accepted up until the 31st of December with winners being announced early 2018. Winners may be given the opportunity to present their work at the 2018 SENr showcase event.

Muller has announced a 0.5ppl decrease on its standard milk price from June to 26.19ppl. Commenting on this Agriculture Director Rob Hutchison has said: “Whilst the nature of our business and focus on adding value protects our farmers through a more stable milk price than one driven by the commodity sector, we must ensure that we reflect key changes in the market environment. We have worked to minimise the scale of this price reduction whilst responding to the balance of supply and demand driving the current market value for milk. We have reviewed our position with the MMG Board who are understandably disappointed by a price reduction but understand the market environment we are working in and our commitment to pay a competitive milk price and be clear with our communication to our farmers.” Other major dairy names including Arla and Dairy Crest have either decreased or unchanged their prices.

Date for the Diary World Milk Day celebrates its 17th annual event this year and the important contributions the dairy sector has on nutrition, sustainability, livelihoods and more. Thursday 1 June 2017. See for more details. #WorldMilkDay

Made in Germany

kg Up to 250 te u in m r e straw p

Mixer Wagon combined with straw blower • Spread far: up to 20m • Unique Air flow technologie • Adjust the throw distance as standard For more information: North: Paul McUrich · Tel: 07810 - 04 01 00 · South: John Molton · Tel: 0794 - 77 19 985 ·





Cabinet Secratary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing is commited to ensuring a world class infastructure

Improving accessibility for our farmers their basic payment scheme online and it is projected that even more will do so again this year. Our aim is therefore to ensure that everybody has the opportunity to get online he digital age is transforming the way and participate. To use the power of digital to in which we live our lives. People think enable economic growth and social mobility. about connectivity in the same way as That is why we launched the Lets Get Online they think about gas, electricity and water. campaign to encourage everyone to take those Fibre and mobile masts and sensors are as vital first steps to get online by offering support to economic growth as more traditional infraand promoting the benefits of using digital structure such as roads, rail and buildings. services and devices. Since 2014, the campaign has carried out 133 days of face-to-face sessions in 149 cities, towns and villages In 2016, over 75% of customers across Scotland offering pracapplied for their basic payment tical help and advice to around scheme online and we expect even 37,000 individuals. This is supported by a range of locally run more will do so this next year" courses as well as a dedicated free telephone advice service. Our area offices have introduced new customer self-service terminals Businesses depend on it to improve productivthat provide farmers with access to the interity, support customers and open new markets. net and supported by a dedicated customer And our farmers are no different. support service offering assistance with online Increasingly services are moving online. This application processes. means that farmers and crofters are increasHowever, we must go further and make sure ingly reliant on fixed and mobile connectivity. our services are also accessible to all. When we In 2016, over 75% of customers applied for become aware of a digital practice that impacts

FERGUS EWING MSP @fergusewingmsp



negatively on farmers and crofters, we do all that is reasonably possible to remove or reduce that impact. We have therefore signed up to the Accessible Technology Charter whose objective is to build disability smart organisations and are fully supportive of the NFUS’s Farming with Dyslexia campaign. This has directly led to us taking a range of steps to improve accessibility of our channels for farmers and crofters. Individual farmers and crofters are at different points of their digital journey and many may feel uncomfortable about the level of change going on around them. Our refreshed digital strategy, launched earlier this year, expands the level of support available through the Digital Participation Charter and provides funds for further online training and development. While digital allows information to be transmitted faster and further, enabling us to develop new communities of interest and opening up new opportunities for education, commerce, creativity, friendship and leisure, it is also vital that we recognise and meet the challenges of online privacy and ensuring no one is left behind. I am committed to ensuring the availability of high quality, world class digital infrastructure where everyone has the opportunity to get online and enjoy the benefits that the internet can bring – whether at work, at home or on the move.


GET FARMLAND ON YOUR MOBILE -------------------------------------------Just search Farmland Magazine on your app store for instant FREE access @farmlanduk | FARMLAND MAGAZINE



Meet the Robinsons "Because of the way we farm, we are farming for tomorrow" Fifth generation farmer and Dairy Shorthorn Society President James Robinson talks family, farming and a stint on Countryfile


Photography by Louise Thompson Being a primary teacher must be really useful for your school visits? Yes it certainly is. We're on a HLS scheme (Higher Level Stewardship) and part of that includes these visits, we can offer free visits to primary schools, they tend to be more local but we have had them come from further afield. They learn about everything we do here and they always enjoy it because you can connect any curriculum to farming. We explore conservation, wildlife, ponds, dipping and woodland. A small barn has been converted into a classroom where we teach theory.

bout 3 miles east of infamous market town Kendal lies Old Hutton, a breathtaking rural settlement home to a 235 acre, all grassland organic dairy enterprise, Strickley Farm. Strickley began in 1875 as a conventional sheep farm and the business has developed into an organic enterprise since 2007. The Robinson family keep 130 pedigree dairy shorthorn cattle, churning out a whopping 800,000 litres of milk each year. We catch up with James, or better known by his twitter handle as @JRfromStrickley.

The Family

It sounds great, is it all positive feedback? The kids love it, the best thing is the tractor trailer ride around the farm, it's always a firm favourite. We've done over 200 visits so far and not only do the schools commend us, it's the feedback we get from the kids that makes it wortwhile, it's a great feeling. I know any day off school would be welcomed but they really do enjoy it.

What's your first memory of farming? Oh, so many really. I always have good memories of the farm, like going to the local shows with Dad. Memories of Summer and hay time always make me smile and still do. Before i could stand I used to love going out with the tea and sandwiches. Who works at the farm with you? I'm in partnership with my parents Henry and Kathleen. My wife Michelle and I have two young lads Robert and Chris who help out as much as they can. I guess mum is the real boss then? She certainly holds the purse strings (need we say more?) She manages really well and runs everything like a typical farm wife, making sure everyone is looked after, fed and watered. What's dads role? A workaholic that's what. He’s 69 now and doesn’t slow down. He’s doing as much (if not more) now as he ever was. Without Dad doing far too much work, I wouldn't be able to manage the extra load. The beauty of a family business is that everyone mucks in and cracks on. I was really interested to hear about your eldest son Robert buying 2 limousin heifers from you out of his own money. Were you as enterprising as him at his age? I was very good at saving money, so he's got that from me. I remember being his age and there was a lot of different mushrooms that grew around here and my grandad used to sell chickens at a local market on Fridays, so each week I’d go along with him with the picked mushrooms and sell them. I made a huge £25 one night which back then was megabucks,



so I managed to save up and bought my very own first pushbike with the money I’d made. He's a good young lad, I hope he's got his work ethic from me. Do the lads want to take over Strickley? I would love them to. Robert is showing such a keen interest in farming, I would be really pleased if he carried it on. The choice is totally theirs and if they they wanted to pursue something else I'd be right behind them. When you push them into anything it starts to go belly up. Michelle is a part time Primary teacher, does she get much time to work on the farm too? She teaches 3 days a week, then the other time she spends doing the farm visits. If she's not doing the visits she's preparing for them and if she's not doing that she's looking after us lads. When we need an extra pair of hands with milking, she's there too. We've been married for 16 years and she is my rock.

Talking about wildlife, I've enjoyed following your updates on conservation. What are you doing to encourage wildlife? Because of the way we farm, we are farming for tomorrow, we look after woodland and our habitats. We've always tried our best to maintain our boundaries and hedgerows, we've got 8 miles of hedges and over 2 miles of dry stone wall. When we lay it, we’re always ‘Laying it for next time’, thinking 20 years ahead. It's got to be done right for the next person who comes along to make it easier for them. I remember planting trees with Dad over 20 years ago, he said to me ‘this is for the next generation’ and I thought, that’s a world away, but suddenly, it's here and I’m doing the same thing as he was. I believe if you leave your land and stock in a better way than you found it, you've done a good job as a farmer. What simple things can we do to improve habitats? Boundaries are the main thing, there’s literally thousands of miles of hedgerows in South Cumbria alone, we can maintain our boundaries better by not topping them in certain areas, most farms have an area where you can have the hedges a little longer. This attracts all different species. You need to dig huge ponds and plant acres of wildflowers but by doing small things like simple hedgerow management, can have a really positive effect.


Mum Kathleen, Dad Henry, 79, James 37 + VAT, Michelle and sons Robert, 15, Chris, 12 and a whole load of pedigree dairy shorthorn make up Strickley Farm @farmlanduk | FARMLAND MAGAZINE


'Only the most pampered cows allowed here' The Farm Were you always interested in the organic option over conventional? As a family, we were always interested in the organic process over conventional methods. Eleven years back we were lambing 250 -300 yowes but decided to sell the sheep and started really concentrating on dairy cows. Twelve months after that we looked at the organic route, I think it was the right decision, a big decision, but the right one. We had to make the choice and go with it and like everyone, make the best out of what we have got. What other key differences are there compared to before? At the time it was a big and difficult step to take, but in hindsight, it wasn't as big a deal as we thought. The whole idea with organic is that you're farming within your own scope, you can't buy in other muck, you're limited to the amount of nitrates that can be used, it's quite similar to being in a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) but when you start reaching the nitrogen limit allowance you see then that it's a nice cycle everything plateaus nicely. You’re not overproducing, your ground is healthy, the animals are happy and delivering quality produce, everything is…What’s the opposite of a vicious circle? [A happy circle?] Yes! Everything goes in a happy circle.



Getting the soil balance right and generally breeding healthy stock in terms of feeding and management is important. Where antibiotics are concerned we can't use them unless in extreme circumstances but if the animal is healthy to start with, there normally isn’t a need and animal health must come first. Have you got any advice for farmers considering the organic route? There’s a few local farms looking at converting, 10 years ago, when we explored the options,. others farms were looking too, the

Ultimately it's hard to invest in anything if you don't know whether you will be in business in 6 months. Going organic has enabled us to to plan ahead conventional price was good and much steadier back then so they stopped looking.Now they're considering it again because there’s so much currency fluctuation and it’s just too hard to predict where the price is going to be. Due to the products being sold outside of the commodity market, there isn’t worldwide volatility like there is in conventional dairy produce. The bulk of milk that’s sold organically is sheltered from that market which is a huge draw for people being able to focus

on and predict the next 12 months. Ultimately, it’s hard to invest in anything if you don't know where you're going to be in 6 months, so with us taking the organic route we can plan ahead and re-invest into the business because we know things will still be ticking over in a few years’ time. How much milk are you producing? We sold over 750,000 litres last year, I think we did around 800,000 but we keep some back for calving and other things. Would you introduce new breeds on to the farm? Not at all, we are very happy with the Dairy Shorthorns, we've proudly stuck with this breed for over 100 years and we know it works, so definitely not going to stop any time soon. What makes the breed so iconic? It’s the oldest pedigree in the world with such a long history, the breed has travelled around the world and back again. For generations, people have bred their own versions for their own climate and well over 100 different pedigree breeds come from the Shorthorn. Ours have a 7,000 kilo yield which is a solid national average and the cows have fantastic health traits and their fertility is superb, it’s just a great, versatile package.


Have you tried anything new that hasn't worked out? Yes, about 7 or 8 years ago, we calved Brown Swiss, but I found them a little bit lazy. Don't get me wrong they're good hardy animals but they didn't seem to have the 'get up and go' of a Dairy Shorthorn. You're now the President of the Dairy Shorthorn Society, how did that come about? Well I’ve been serving on the council for a few years now and have loved getting my voice heard. Like the other council members we give up our time for free and I wanted more of a say. One of my colleagues nominated me to be president and here I am. I was highly honoured just to be nominated, let alone selected. The shorthorn society started in 1822 and the herdbook is still going now which is another testament to the strength of the breed. What are your plans for your time there? We're going through some changes at the moment, we were doing joint admin with the Bee Society and now that's coming to an end we are restricting some things in terms of work force so will have more of an update on our progress soon. We have a twitter account for the society @ShorthornUK where you can get all of the updates. Who is your favourite past president? I'm not just saying it but there’s so many. For me, just to be up there and mentioned in the same breath as some of these very inspirational breeders gives me a fantastic feeling.

The future of Strickley. Prosperous young farmers Robert and Chris

Amongst everything that you've got going on, you're a show judge too. Tell me a bit about that I've seen some fantastic cows. Some, you know as soon as they walk into the ring they're going to win the whole show. Some you say 'oh that's a shame'. You can have the best cow in the world and if it doesn't look the part on the day it could be the difference between winning and not. I don't have any pre-conceptions and hope that people respect my decision as that's what they've asked for, although i know i can't please everyone. I judge as i find and do my very best to maintain my credibility throughout the whole judging process. It's great to be involved in judging as i do enjoy it. @farmlanduk | FARMLAND MAGAZINE


Farming is very much a family business. What's in the pipeline? I'll be judging at the National Shorthorn Show and the Royal Cheshire Show (20 - 21 June) which is a big one to look forward to. What in particular do you look for in a winner? This sounds a bit corny but a cow that you're looking for has always got to have a bit of an ‘X factor’, it’s something you can’t really describe. The winners look special and in a way, stylish too. The winner should be a cow that you would take home yourself, something you wouldn’t mind looking at every day. Let’s talk social media. You're racking up a few followers now - who's your favourite? I really like a lot of farmers on social media but I do think James Rebanks is the one. He’s got it spot on and shows what a farmer can be, not what the media would want you to believe. I've met some great some great friends through twitter especially and I really enjoy meeting them for the first time at different shows, it's quite surreal when you meet them after speaking online for so long. I have made a good friend in Will Evans, he's a great lad. I've spent time with Hannah Jackson and she is a credit to the industry and is building up a huge following too. With the positives, come the negatives. How do you deal with any negativity? Well when I started on twitter, I used to have a bit of a battle and bite back to the insults, but soon you start to realise that you can't



win a fight like that online, it just escalates and people still have the same opinion as before the argument. I simply block them so they're just shouting into a black hole and what I don't see won't hurt me. You can't win them all can you? You appeared on BBC Countryfile recently, how was the experience? Thoroughly enjoyed it, we were very impressed with the whole set up. It's like magic to see it edited when you know the work ‘s gone into it. It takes a lot of bodies to make ten minutes of good tele. The farm and the cattle looked at their best so I was delighted with that. Any positive exposure has got to be a good thing. How do you make time for family? If you ask my wife I probably don’t make enough time at all. We do have weekends away and try to go out somewhere each week as a family, but

every time we are out, one of us is always clockwatching so we don’t miss the afternoon milking. Farming, unfortunately comes first and most other farmers will say the same. When it comes to holidays, if we can get away even for just a few days it’s great. We took the boys to Rome nearly 3 years ago so we are all looking forward to another well-deserved trip there again this year. It takes that long to slow down, when you are used to waking up at 5am it's hard to break that routine - even on holiday. President and TV personality. Has anyone asked for your autograph yet? No, and i hope no-one bloody does. Follow life at Strickley Farm on twitter @JRfromstrickley | Tweet us @FarmlandUK

A prime example of a Dairy Shorthorn. Strickley Lily, 13. Lact No - 6




Our Range of

Conductors Electric fencing offers a convenient and cost effective method of containing livestock. Choose the conductor material that best meets your requirements to ensure that you have the most effective conductor that suits your purpose to save yourself unnecessary expense later. There are 4 main types of electric fence conductors available, each has its own physical characteristics and is suitable for different purposes. Electric fence poly tape is highly visible compared to other conductor materials and its width ranges from 7 to 40 mm. It comes normally in 200 m spools and is divided into 3 main categories 10, 20 and 40 mm tape. These are standard widths, although you may see a number of variations from various manufacturers. For example, looking for a 10 mm tape you can find 8, 12, 12.5, 13 mm tapes and so on. The differences are minimal as they usually still have same number of conductors, but they may cost a bit less or more since less or more raw materials are used. 20 and 40 mm tapes are often recommended for horses, with a 40 mm one having higher breaking point and double the amount of conductors (usually 8). However, due to its width it is also more susceptible to damage from strong winds. In such cases thinner 10 or 20 mm tape or poly rope are a better choice. You can also find tape in a variety of colours - white, orange and green being the most popular. White tape is highly visible and is used especially for horses or wild animals to clearly mark the boundaries. White tape is more visible against green vegetation or brown landscape, whereas brown or green tape is more visible against a white background. When selecting the tape please consider the following: width and colour affect visibility, the amount of conductors affects fence security and maximum fence length and the type of metal or alloy used affects conductivity and therefore also the fence length. Electric fence poly wire is particularly simple to handle and is long-lasting. It has the least breaking point of all wires and is up to 3 mm thick. Just like the poly tape it is has metal wires intertwined with polywire strands. These metal conductors rarely exceed thickness of 0.25 mm each. Poly wire is a perfect material for short distances, temporary fence solutions and mobile reel systems. It is very light and transportable. It is mostly suitable for cattle, sheep, goats and dog fences. Although we would always recommend nets for containing pets, especially cats. Electric fence poly rope should have a diameter of 6 mm or 8 mm. Due to its high breaking point and visibility it is also widely used for horses and wild animals, although more often in conjunction with high-visibility signal tape. It is a great material for establishing fence perimeters and for areas with windy conditions. Electric fence high-tensile wire can be considered the most cost-effective solutions. It is used for large permanent fences. However, it is not a recommended for horses or other fast-moving animals as they can considerably injure themselves. It is, however, a great choice for cattle, sheep and goats. It is normally made of steel or aluminium. Aluminium is 4 times more conductive than normal steel wire. It is also impressively resistant to corrosion and its light weight makes it a great material for fences. Of course, these qualities make it more expensive. The fence length depends on the conducting material. The more conductors, the better the electricity is carried along the fence. Two conductors made from the same material have double the conductivity – i.e. the fence can theoretically be made twice as long without any loss of voltage. This increases to 4 times with 4 conductors, i.e. the lower the resistance of the fence wires in (ohms per m), the better the electricity flows along the fence which is very important for long fences. Disturbances on the fence such as vegetation, etc. reduce this flow accordingly. Connections between wires are always weak points. These connections are made using tape, rope and wire connectors. The metal ends of polywire and ropes should be additionally stripped at the ends and twisted together. This creates the best connection with the lowest transfer resistance. The following two images show how the quality of the conductor affects the fence length. Using the highest quality conductor allows the fence to be around 375 x longer than when using the basic quality conductor without any significant loss in fence voltage. As well, you can achieve higher voltages with the same length.











When buying conductors one must not forget about connectors. They are needed to either extend the fence or repair it. We do not recommend tying the conducting material into the knot, as this will affect the fence security. Connectors ensure an optimal electrical connection and guarantee a secure flow of current. Conducting materials at the start and end of the fence are also attached using connectors. Different connectors are available depending on the conducting material chosen.

0145 234 62 04 (Mon - Fri 8am - 4pm)

Our Range of

Conductors In our shop you will find 4 series of conductors: profiline, expert plus, expert and basic plus. With each progressive series you get better materials and ability to construct longer fences.

Basic plus series is suitable for simple stretches of fences, mobile fences, paddocks, etc and has a quite high resistance (around 11 Ohm). Why “plus“? It is because even in our standard tape we offer a little bit extra, like extra stainless steel conductor in the tape. Expert series is for simple fencing: finest-quality plastic, top quality stainless steel, very strong and durable. Conductivity around 4 Ohm. Expert plus comes with even better conductivity (around 0.5 Ohm). In this series you can already find a combination of copper and stainless steel and special alloys.


Profiline series offers ultra-high conductivity (around 0.1 Ohm), premium materials, highest durability, longevity and UV-resistance. It is an excellent choice for long-lasting fences.

In addition to separating our items into series, you may also find the following icon in our shop. The quality of our conducting materials is graded on a scale from A (top premium quality) to E (basic quality). The lower the resistance of the material, the better the current can be transported along the fence without any losses. Using high-quality conducting materials (stainless steel, TLD, copper) and a high number of conducting lines, the electric resistance can be reduced and thus improve the conductivity of the material.

Horse fence A rule of thumb for the height of horse fences is: 0.75 to 0.8 x withers height of the tallest horse you have. For an electric fence to provide the best protection for horses, you need at least two rows on the fence that are adjusted to the height of your horses. Depending on the nature of the risk, additional fence rows may be necessary, for example with very wild animals, a situation where you have both large and small horses in the same pasture or where there is a busy road running nearby, etc. For large horses we recommend having three fence rows set at heights of around 50 cm, 95 cm and 140 cm. For small horses we recommend three rows at around 45 cm, 75 cm and 120 cm. Due to its high visibility and low risk of injury, electric ropes or tapes are preferred conducting materials to use with horses. The quality of the rope used should be matched with the length of the fence. Our simplest electric rope has a resistance of 3.45 ohm/m should suffice for a shorter fence (up to about 200 m) and has one more stainless-steel conductor than our competitors‘ products (Art: 44160). For fences longer than this, a high-quality electric rope (low resistance of 0.07–0.104 ohm/m) should be used. Low quality rope will mean that a large amount of voltage is lost over the longer distance, leaving insufficient voltage at the end of the fence. We recommend our highly conductive TLD series electric fence rope (Art: 42390), or for particularly high demands, the electric fence rope 3 x 0.3 copper + 3 x 0.3 stainless steel wires (Art: 44659). Electric tapes for horses should be 20–40 mm wide. As with electric ropes, the quality of tape required is decided by the length of the fence. The inexpensive electric fence tape 200 m, 20 mm, 5 x 0.16 stainless steel (Art: 44140) is sufficient for short fences (up to about 200 m). Longer fences require a higher quality tape (quality A or B) to ensure there is still sufficient voltage at the far end of the fence. For this we recommend, for example, the 20 mm TLD tape, 200 m, 6 x 0.25 (Art: 42425) or the 200 m electric fence tape, 40 mm, 4 x 0.3 copper + 6 x 0.3 stainless steel (Art: 44675).

0145 234 62 04 (Mon - Fri 8am - 4pm)

Our Range of

Conductors Chicken fence Chickens and geese are amongst the more difficult animals to keep. A powerful energiser with a high output voltage and powerful discharge is required. If it’s not possible for you to use a mains powered device, we recommend a powerful 9 V battery device or even better – a powerful 12 V battery unit with high voltage and pulse energy. Four rows should be arranged on electric fences at heights of approx. 20 cm, 40 cm, 60 cm and 85 cm. The quality of the wire used should be matched with the length of the fence. For a fence that is just 200 m long the poultry fence, the Basic Plus, wire will suffice. Longer fences require a high-quality wire to ensure there is still sufficient voltage at the far end of the fence. For a 400 m fence, an Expert Plus (4-star) electric fence polywire is recommended). A Profiline (5-star) series indicates top quality and highest conductivity, far outperforming the wire marked Basic Plus (2-star) series, meaning longer fences can be built. Alternatively you can use our fered by our competitors.


nettings, which not only offer high security, but also come with extras not of-

Cattle fence

To make a fence secure for cattle you need at least two rows in the fence. Depending on the risk, additional rows may be necessary. For cows we recommend having 2 fence rows set at a height of around 60 and 90 cm. For bulls, mothers with calves and heavy breeds we recommend having 3 fence rows set at a height of around 45, 75 and 105 cm. Conducting materials should be chosen based upon the length of the fence. The longer the fence, the higher the quality (conductivity) of the conducting material required. This is the only way to be certain that sufficient voltage will be available at the end of the fence to make it effective. Suitable materials for keeping cows are electric polywire, electric rope and electric tape.

For simple medium-length fences, electric fence polywire (Art: 44613) with a resistance of 3.45 ohm/m is best suited. It has 7 rust-proof high-grade steel conductors running through it and is extremely tough. For longer fences, an even more high-quality wire with an even lower resistance is required. Low quality rope will mean that a large amount of voltage is lost over the longer distance, leaving insufficient voltage at the end of the fence. We therefore recommend a highly conductive polywire from our TLD series (Art: 42402) or our premium green/white electric fence polywire with 3 x 0.25 copper and 3 x 0.2 stainless steel conductors (Art: 44645). Due to its high visibility and low risk of injury, electric ropes or tapes are preferred conducting materials to use with cattle. A simple electric rope with a resistance of 3.45 ohm/m should suffice for a shorter fence (up to about 200 m) (Art: 44160). For longer fences a low resistance rope (0.07–0.104 ohm/m) should be used. We recommend our highly conductive TLD series (Art: 42390), or for particularly high demands, the electric fence rope with 3 x 0.3 copper and 3 x 0.3 stainless steel wires (Art: 44659). Electric tape for cattle should be 10–40 mm wide. As with electric ropes, the quality of tape required is decided by the length of the fence. The inexpensive electric fence tape (Art: 44140) is sufficient for short fences (up to about 200 m). Longer fences require a higher quality tape (quality A or B) to ensure there is still sufficient voltage at the far end of the fence. We recommend, the 10 mm TLD tape (Art: 42420) or for very long fence systems the 40 mm tape with 4 x 0.3 copper and 6 x 0.3 stainless steel wires (Art: 44675). Plastic reel are a useful tool for winding and unwinding polywires, polyropes and tapes. Whichever the length we have a reel for you.

0145 234 62 04 (Mon - Fri 8am - 4pm)

Our Range of

Conductors Sheep fence The rows in the electric fence should be set at a height of around 30 cm, 45 cm, 65 cm and 90 cm. To ensure that a sheep makes sufficient skin contact with the electric fence even through its thick wool, electric fence polywire or galvanised wire with a high conductivity should preferably be used. Broad electric tape is not suitable, as this cannot easily get through the dense insulating fur.

For simple medium-length fences, electric fence polywire (Art: 44613) with a resistance of 3.45 ohm/m is best suited. It has 7 rust-proof high-grade stainless steel conductors running through it and is extremely tough. For longer fences, we recommend our highly conductive TLD series (Art: 42405), or white-red polywire with copper and stainless steel wires (Art: 44800). Stranded wire (Art: 44558) is extremely robust, but also flexible and therefore easy to work with. Its excellent conductivity (0.12 O/m) means it can be used for long fence systems. Thanks to the galvanised metal wires, the electrical impulse is transmitted with maximum efficiency. The monowire (Art: 44544) brings together the benefits of stranded wire and polywire. Like stranded wire, monowire has a high conductivity at a low cost. Monowire, however, is easy to handle, due to its plastic component, and is very durable! Why use a sheep netting? An electric fence for sheep should be 90 cm high and have sufficient conductivity for its length. For most, double security is the main motivation. Anyone wishing to combine a mechanical barrier with an electronic deterrent should purchase sheep netting. The beneficial product features also include: • • • • • • • • •

also suitable for extensive areas can even be used on uneven terrain closely meshed electric netting is difficult to break through equal distribution of conductors and voltage easy assembly and disassembly can be used on a mobile basis if required excellent value for money the length of the netting can be shortened the narrow mesh makes it ideal for keeping lambs safe

The latter aspect is further reinforced by sheep netting available from our online shop, as narrower mesh is used in the lower part of the netting. Regardless of how small and adventurous a lamb may be, it will not be able to get through the netting as it will inevitably come into contact with the conducting material and receive a short, sharp shock. Therefore, narrow mesh sheep netting is the right choice for anyone wishing to protect lambs. Here, the mesh distance of 9 cm is ideal, whereby vertical distances may otherwise be 13 or 15 cm. The horizontal distance is often 17.5 cm. Other designs include distances of 10 cm and 15 cm. Many people are concerned that they cannot get direct access to the enclosure without having to turn off the electricity or laying the electric netting down on the ground. has the solution to this problem: gate for electric netting (Art: 27402 or Art: 27407) you can very easily and quickly build an electrified access point into your fence. This will give you easy access to the pasture without having to compromise safety. In the next issue we will discuss other animal fences and their requirements.

0145 234 62 04 (Mon - Fri 8am - 4pm)


The Benefits of Raised Beds & Planters Andy Taylor


alk around any allotment and you'll realise just how popular raised beds have become. And it's no wonder, since they have several advantages over other methods of growing vegetables. Practically any vegetable variety can be grown in a raised bed or planter and the latter may be more appropriate in situations where the grower's mobility may have to be taken into consideration. So what are the advantages of raised bed or planter growing? Soil management is one of the most important, most vegetables prefer a pH of around 6.5, however many berries, most notably blueberries and vegetables such as radishes and sweet potatoes, like more acidic conditions. In an area where alkaline soil is prevalent, ericaceous compost can be used to fill a planter in addition to an organic mulch, and this will lower the pH. Where the soil is too acidic, lime can be applied at regular intervals. Drainage is improved as you are growing above the natural level of the surrounding ground. Sharp sand and grit and similar material can also be easily added to the compost in

a planter, or when you are preparing a raised bed, to encourage drainage. During hot weather you have to make sure that a planter doesn't dry out, and one of the best ways of avoiding this pitfall is an automatic watering system. However, remember that, if you are maintaining an acid soil, use rain water that you have collected in a butt not tap water. Better drainage will naturally lead to higher soil temperatures and a growing season that starts earlier. The temperature can also be more effectively managed as it is easy to cover

a raised bed or planter with fleece or a similar material. A good depth of high quality well fertilized top soil or compost is the perfect medium for healthy root growth, and this is exactly what you will be providing. This environment will also benefit root vegetables that can be grown in deep planters. Mobility was mentioned earlier, and it is certainly true that gardeners with this kind of issue will find raised beds with their smaller area surrounded by paths, far more simple to manage. Weeding is also reduced as vegetables can be grown closer together and, if you are using a planter, access can't be any easier as there is no need to kneel on the ground or bend over to any great extent. Planters and raised beds can provide solutions to many gardening problems, and they can be constructed quite cheaply with very little DIY expertise, readily purchased online or from garden centres. That's why it's a good bet that the popularity of raised beds and planters will show no sign of diminishing for the foreseeable future and the benefits which these simple timber structures can provide.


What to look for in a new smallholding? Jack Smellie and David Chidgey run a ten-acre smallholding in North Devon. The duo run Smallholding Courses and Family Learning Sessions at their site near Chulmleigh and will be bringing monthly smallholding advice, tips and a diary of life at Relaxed. We recently moved from one acre to ten. The plan was to take all we had learnt on our soggy, misty, tiny Bodmin Moor smallholding and re-create all the best bits on a bigger, dryer, more productive plot somewhere else. A seriously exciting prospect. So, what should you look for in a new smallholding? Well, whether upsizing, downsizing or starting from nothing, the first place to start is with yourselves. Running a smallholding must be both enjoyable and do-able, so a very healthy dose of realism is needed as the search begins: to start with, you need to ask yourself WHY do you want to manage a smallholding or (as in our case) upsize when others your age are heading towards retirement? Just exactly what will you be able to give, both physically and mentally? One of our dreams was a couple of Dexter cows, a seismic change from the sheep, goats and alpacas that we were used to. Would we be able to cope with their size, all that winter mucking out and what of TB testing? Could we deal with the worry? Of course it is really hard to know what you can cope with until you are actually doing the task in hand but it is important to continually assess both your physical and mental well-being. Running a smallholding will demand skills you never knew you had and provide you with fabulous rewards: the tastiest home grown

Jack and David run Smallholding Courses and Family Learning Sessions. Visit

produce, the chance to breed your own ‘perfect’ stock, the opportunity to ‘work the land’ as you want to! But you will also deal with death, machinery that breaks down, mud, vet bills, crop failures – to name but a few. So, assuming you feel both ridiculously energetic and psychologically sound, what next? We had an absurdly optimistic list for our new smallholding but on the basis that you won’t even know about half the potential issues until you move, aiming high is good. The following list outlines in brief SOME of what we wanted, what we ended up with and how, so far, it is all working out >>> @JackAtRelaxed @Relaxedsmallholding

Smallholding Checklist ONE Amount of land: we wanted at least five to six acres because moving for less seemed daft and we wanted to add those cows - we bought ten because an extra four was available. Those four then became our winter paddock which meant that not all the animals needed housing which meant less work for us and a better winter for them. TWO Type of land: we wanted flat (don’t we all?) but well drained, south facing, lush pasture, good fencing. We ended up with flat-ish, wet-ish (we do live in the South West) and great grass. A bit of a slope is always good for drainage - and lambs do love a good run on a hill! We have spent money on fencing but only because we wanted to plant hedging and split a field in two. As a smallholder, you will ALWAYS need money for fencing. THREE Outbuildings: we had a great barn at our last place where we could house ALL our stock over the winter. Ideally, we would have liked that in our new smallholding too. We do have a lovely barn here but only half of it is suitable for livestock due to poor ventilation. Our solution was to build several field shelters. Two are near the barn so even in the winter, they can be used without things getting too muddy. Any outbuilding is almost better than none - even if you have the money and skills to build some, planning issues can make it a very protracted affair and depending on the time of year you move, you do need to be set up for winter stock keeping. FOUR Access: we slightly failed on this one. In the ‘dry’ vehicles can access our land in two places and so get to anywhere in our smallholding in order to deliver stuff, collect/drop off animals, work on the land (spraying, fencing etc). In the ‘wet’ this does not work quite so well: for example, we have to have our hay and straw delivered to our drive and then wheelbarrow it down through our garden. It’s that or wreck the entire length of one of our fields by driving a muddy track down it to our barn. Sorting this one is a work-in-progress. @farmlanduk | FARMLAND MAGAZINE



Woes of Wellies


STITHIANS SHOW Monday 17th July

A Taste of Rural Tradition Animals - Displays & Demonstrations Live Music - Fairground Food & Crafts - Trade Stands ...and more!

For Information: 01209 861073

Tweeting is our daily routine


ocial media is ever growing in popularity and it seems like nowadays everyone’s Mum, Gran and dog is on Twitter. There is a large community of farmers tweeting daily about what they are up to on the farm, in the tractor and more recently in the lambing shed… I have said in the past that I think social media is a brilliant way to get the public interested and involved in what is going on in the farming community, but it is also a vital tool for farmers all over the country to get in touch and support each other. There are so many different accounts promoting agriculture such as Farmers of the UK and more recently Young Farmers of the UK, which I have been pleased to host. It is a really easy and effective way to spread a positive message about what the farmers of the UK are doing and how people can support them. Creating a more personal link between the producers and the consumers is a great way to encourage the public to buy British. People are more likely to pick up a packet of British lamb rather than New Zealand lamb if they can make a link with where it is coming from and feel like they are supporting a farmer and their family. For farmers, social media is a fantastic support network and a great place to share ideas and opinions. Weekly events such as #AgriChatUK, which takes place every Thursday from 8-9:30 pm, provides a place for farmers all over the country to discuss current issues, future ideas or just to put any questions they have to a wider audience. In general, the whole agricultural community on Twitter is nothing but helpful and supportive. Following on from that, the second week of May is officially Mental Health Awareness Week and with the recent focus on mental health within the agricultural industry, it is especially important to emphasise that there is always someone to talk to whether it is that you need help with something, or you just want someone to chat to… There is also a brilliant support network through ‘Farming Help’ which encompasses the Addington Fund, the FCN and the R.A.B.I who all aim to support farmers going through difficult circumstances. Wide range of novice & open classes - ALL WELCOME Schedules now available! School & group bookings welcome

Company reg. in England 7585178

Charity No: 1141715

Biodynamic Agricultural College

Woes of Wellies

Twitter connecting young farmers

A twitter account dedicated to sharing the voices of young farmers across the UK & Ireland has been launched. Curator Georgie Moore said "My hope is that the account will give young farmers, those from farming families and new entrants, a place to interact and tell their stories. Young Farmers of the UK has been well received and the number of followers is rising steadily with a varied list of young farmers already booked to take over the account on a weekly basis" Tweet us @YoungfarmersUK to get involved.




GET SNAPPY >>>She has had her work displayed in London galleries. Now, Gloucestershire based award winning rural photographer Hollie Crawshaw shares her top tips to get that perfect shot>>>

See these photos and more at | tweet @HollieC_Photo


arms are such great seasonal locations, there is always so much to capture at different times of the year. The working farmer’s diary is filled with events like shearing, lambing, planting and harvesting. These times can be documented really well through the use of photography. Here are my 3 top tips for the amateur farm photographer. Planning is key and I would suggest checking out Twitter or Instagram for inspiration. I use social media a lot and follow many individuals who share their farming life through pictures. You don’t need a high spec DSLR - modern phone cameras are really handy for taking out on the farm as they are small, portable and capable of taking great shots that can be uploaded directly to social media. If you do have a digital SLR camera, use the manual settings and trial different focal lengths and exposures. Using a high F-stop number will keep everything in the frame sharp. A lower F-stop number will make those elements furthest away from the lens out of focus. The weather, as with farming, this can determine a lot and there are a few things to consider. If it’s a dull day, the clouds will naturally diffuse the strong sunlight and not many shadows will be noticeable. Bright sunny days can cast strong shadows and areas of an image may be darker or lighter in sections. Depending on what it is you want to photograph, both conditions can work well. If your shooting inside, you may be in a barn which can be quite dark. Limiting light, silhouettes and strong light beams can make interesting photographs though and experimenting with what available light you do have can add to the atmosphere of an image. Livestock Taking photos of livestock is one of my favourite subject matters. Animals are naturally inquisitive and I find they often engage with the camera. Livestock with a strong stature, ears forward and head up make impressive portraits. Different breeds have photogenic qualities and you may see one animal in the group that has a certain marking or characteristic that stands out. Composition is important and where you place an animal in the picture can change the success of an image. Creative compositions such as shooting through a fence or tractor window, from viewpoint other than eye level can be really successful and produce a perfect finish.


got a great pic? tweet us


"Best foot forward" Jonathan Sloan, Kinross

"I think Bernadette likes my article in Farmland" Kate Morris Cumbria Lamb

Pete Farington

What do you mean, I've got something round my mouth? #milkychops @Farmbeam @farmlanduk | FARMLAND MAGAZINE



Opinions Your

'Back in them days' - Will Evans

Recently there was a piece on Countryfile featuring my friend James Robinson and his family on their organic dairy farm in Cumbria. They’re a fantastic family and came across as an absolute credit to the agricultural industry. During the piece, James’s Father showed his own Father’s diary from 1940. Alongside entries about Cows calving, and other minutiae of farming life, there were comments about events taking place in the war in Europe. James’s Grandfather was, like my own, in the Home Guard at the time, as farming was a reserved occupation, and it got me thinking about it. That Summer, my 20 year old Grandfather was harvesting by day, and guarding strategic points of interest by night with his unit armed only with a shotgun. It’s hard to imagine now, but they were expecting invasion at any time

Your opinion is always welcome here. If you would like to feature get in touch with or tweet us @FarmlandUK

and were fully motivated and prepared to fight the enemy. The only news they would have heard was from a crackling radio set, or the newspaper, and it’s not unfeasible that the first they would have known was to see highly trained paratroopers from one of the most efficient armies ever assembled (who’d already ruthlessly conquered vast swathes of Europe) falling from the sky. My Grandfather was proud of his service, and hated the comedy series ‘Dad’s Army’ all his life, as he felt it belittled the Home Guard. A few years ago my Father found a small locked box in the attic. Inside it there were several rejection letters addressed to my Grandfather from the RAF from 1939-1945. It was the first any of us knew about it. Grandad didn’t fight overseas, though he would have done if he could, but he played his part, as did James Robinson’s Grandfather. I’m bloody proud of them both. ill


Taking farming into the classroom Writing isn't my strong point, it never has been. Talking on the other hand, i'm a dab hand at that. So, i've embarked on a new quest to educate some local school children about my farming experience so far, I firmly believe it should be discussed more in mainstream education so that's what i'll do. It's got me thinking of all sorts of ideas on presentations and things to make it really interesting for the kids. I've already had some interest from three schools in my area so i will look forward to updating you all on my progress and sharing details of my first visit. If i can encourage even one new future farmer to consider agriculture as a career, i'll be pretty happy with that. Ethan Kinney

Follow my journey 'from townie to shepherd' on twitter @Futurefarmer365

Can we educate the public on livestock worrying? Member of #Clubhectare, shepherd and part time engineer Adrian Clark farms on the edge of the Salisbury plain in Wiltshire. Adrian contributed to the Farmers of the UK account in week 7

Tweet | @adrianjcl123




lthough I've never been a victim of livestock worrying myself, the endless reports of horrific cases and huge losses, both emotional and financial, keep popping up all over our social media feeds and farming publications, but that is just it. How many of us have a virtual following that extends beyond the farming community? Few I'm sure of that. I spend a great deal of time on social media sharing the devastating effects that these, often preventable attacks, have on our farmers but how can we get the

Tune in to the #Rockandrollfarming podcast every Wednesday. tweet @willpenrievans

Top tweets @EmilyBaah - Dear vegans, it's never going to happen. Get over it. #MustStopGettingAnnoyed @R_o_s_i_e_H - Had a dream I had a pet calf, kept saying to it what a quiet nice calf you are and patting it on the head. Woke up realised it was the dog @MichelinAgriUK - The current (just!) round £1 coin is a good indicator to check there is sufficient tread remaining on Ag tyres which work on the land / soil @katiesummerfie2 - When the driving sleet goes down your neck and your fingers go numb.. I'll think of days like today, its been joyful

general public educated on these issues? There Want to follow us? have been suggestions of Find us on twitter @FarmlandUK - We're inviting local dog owners on Facebook, just search Farmland Magaonto your farm to acclimzine or Pin us on Pinterest @FarmlandUK itise them to livestock, could this be a possibility? You could speak to 90% of pet The mainstream news and social owners and they will say to you media accounts who have a more 'Mine isn't capable of something widespread following could do like that'. Wrong - when a dog more to highlight this growing attacks, it is only doing what a dog problem and courts handing does. Then when the unfortunate down a few more tougher happens, where a farmer is forced sentences to offenders would be to shoot an attacking dog - he is warmly welcomed. hung out to dry. Many of these I'm always interested in discussincidences are due to ignorance. ing rural issues on twitter too.


Wilodge Inchbyinch KAY HUTCHINSON @bailhill_kay


e took on the 15 year FBT in Upper Teesdale, County Durham in 2005, 98 acres of in-bye meadow and pasture land plus stints on Harwood Common. The farm house is 1350 feet above sea level. We use the prefix Kingshaugh, for our pedigree flock of Swaledale’s, and herd of Herefords and Limousin’s. We also have a small number of cross-bred cows and Hetty has developed a passion for Herdwick’s, so we have 20 ewes lambing pure this year. Lambing is drawing to a close this year, the weather has been dry but with a cold wind. We were crying out for a couple of dry days in March so that we could get the muck midden’s spread on the meadow ground, sadly this did not happen, so it will have to go on after we have cropped, weather permitting. All ewes are housed prior to lambing, which allows the ground a rest and a chance to freshen. We decided to build a polytunnel to house ewes after the horrendous spring of 2013, when we had snow over wall tops and lambs freezing to the ground. Once lambed, ewes are individually penned for a day, next day turned out, when lambs are tagged, ear notched, marked, recorded and scratched for orf and ewes feet are checked. We are very happy with the lamb crop and quality this year, we used four tup lambs, 2 bought and 2 home-bred, which have left some very smart lambs, we will watch them closely to see how they mature and progress. Calving is over half way, our stock bull Wilodge Inchbyinch is producing some lovely calves. Easy calved and within three weeks they mushroom. We also use AI on the Herefords and pick out a few of the Limousin cows for AI, so we have fresh breeding coming into the herd. We are passionate breeders and enjoy very much showing our Swaledale’s not only at our two local shows High Force and Langdon Beck but also further field at The Great Yorkshire Show. It's our holidays! High Force show is a fortnight away, as yet nothing has been chosen to show, a job for the coming week. This week has seen us get ewes and with singles back to the fell, to join the gimmer hoggs that have been out for a month now. They are bouncing, always a good sign, the fell does not seem as fresh as previous years but sheep love ‘the room’ it allows. A fortnight ago Tom and I had the privilege of travelling down to the Houses of Parliament for the Screening of ‘Addicted to Sheep’ followed by a Q&A with MP’s, NFU and TFA present. We hope the meeting portrayed the importance of Upland Hill farming not only for our food production but also the benefits we deliver for the landscape and environment, and agriculture’s vital role in maintaining local communities.

Bail Hill is a small upland hill farm, home to the Hutchinson family, Tom, Kay, Jack 15, Esme 14 and Hetty, 13.

Hi, my name's Scott Bevan and I'm a metal detectorist in search of Britain’s history, hidden in the farmland of the Midlands (and beyond!)

I’m currently looking for farmers and landowners who would be happy for me to pursue my passion for history on their land! I will pay £15 a day for permission to detect and will share anything found of value with the landowner. A farmer’s land is very valuable to them and I detect with respect for the landowner and the land. I'm also fully insured by the National Council for Metal Detecting. I've been lucky enough to have visited many farmers in the past and they will happily provide you with references if required. If this sounds like something that you'd be interested in, if you would like any more information or if you would like to ask me some questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Telephone: 07538806152 Twitter: @scottylar Email:

HAS YOUR LOVE OF THE LAND STOPPED YOU FROM FINDING THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE? Boundless, the producers of Escape to the Country and Grand Designs are creating a new TV DATING SERIES specifically for busy rural singletons of all ages If you would like to know more, get in touch with our casting team via email: or ph: 020 7691 5600 @farmlanduk | FARMLAND MAGAZINE




farm set up by an incredible first generation farmer with education as its primary focus is teaching school children about where their food really comes from. Muddy Boots Farm in Burham, Essex was set up by 25 year old Katie Anderson. The young farmer is going all out to share the farm to fork message amongst local children. “Muddy Boots Farm opened on the 13th of April when we held a big Easter egg hunt with the farm next door to us. It was great fun, we had over 250 children attend that day! It was interesting to hear from parents with children under the age of 5, who although were too young to attend our drop off sessions, were still interested in attending Muddy Boots so off the back of this event we decided to have open days once a month at the farm for all ages.” “The farm focuses on hands on learning, so we don’t just stand behind a fence and throw feed to our animals. We get in their pens, groom them, feed them, clean out their beds, top up their water and generally do what a farmer does! This is what I believe most petting farms are missing across the UK, the ‘real’ experience. When children are active in their learning it becomes more fun and rather than us sitting in a classroom looking at a picture of a chicken and matching it with an egg, I want children to be able to touch and feed that chicken and find its egg!“ Katie realised her passion for farming whilst studying for her dissertation at South Essex College in Southend, part of the University of Essex. She discovered that children were becoming very disconnected with where their food comes from. “I was technically a 'mature student' when I started the course in 2013 at the age of 22. My degree was in Early Years Education and I graduated in 2016



School kids learning the 'farm to fork' message with a first - I was so relieved! Although I didn’t end up becoming a primary school teacher, which was my reasoning behind starting the course, it opened so many doors for me and revealed what my true passion is – the great outdoors! I spent a lot of time studying and working in outdoor education and decided to focus my dissertation on the benefits of learning outdoors!” Children of all ages are welcome to the farm and can participate in pre-booked sessions that allow small groups of children to learn at any one time, as well as introducing them to different aspects of the farm. “I usually stick to small groups of 7 to 8 children for the prebooked sessions depending on their ages because I feel this allows me to give attention to each child and no one gets left out!. Essex born Katie did not grow

up in a rural environment and none of her family are working in agriculture, so she suprised even herself when farming rapidly became a passion. “I have always loved animals and grew to love being outdoors the more time I spent outside! I had always thought a career in

on and really see what running one was all about. I then looked at courses and for my birthday, my partner took me on a smallholding course in Wales. This course was fantastic and allowed me to see farming as a business, it made me realise it was a viable option. The course was run by a fellow first generation, female farmer, Liz Shankland and I was inspired by her stories of setting up her successful smallholding without any prior knowledge or experience. I also attended a lambing course in Devon, again run by a fellow first generation, female farmer, Lesley Perrett and I just thought well if they can do it then why can’t I? I do love a challenge!”

"Simply put, we've got 9 pigs, 18 sheep, 9 chickens, 3 goats and 2 ducks." farming was unattainable for me however, as I didn’t come from a farming background. I started by holidaying on farms and found myself spending more time on ‘farm stays’ across the UK. Although I loved being on the farms I wanted to get more hands

WOMEN IN AG LORNA'S CORNER @irishfarmerette


Farmers Wife & Mummy


ou must have heard the clichés like ‘don’t mix business with pleasure?’ Well, I’ve got a new one for you. Never have a baby during lambing. I jest but it has been hard work.

Katie ditched city living to teach children about the food they eat “Being a first generation farmer means unfortunately I have not been lucky enough to inherit any land or even have any contacts in the industry, also living in the South East and only around 40 miles from London means that land is incredibly expensive and rarely becomes available. I am also not from an affluent family and having moved out aged 17 I have had to work hard to build up a little pot to start up my own business. I have always been a saver but I was never sure what I had been saving for, now I realise it was to spend it all on sheep and pigs! I still work 3 days+ a week for the neighbouring farm to me as their business manager and although this drastically eats into the time I can invest into Muddy Boots, it supplies me with a wage that I can rely on to pay my bills and the occasional treat. Then any money I earn from sessions on the farm can be invested straight back into the business as it grows.

.....We will see. Emma x

Make the BEST Dads?Lorna Sixsmith


arming dads don’t always get to read bedtime stories or make it to all the school events. However, despite the long hours, why do farmers make the best dads?

ONE Farm kids get a ride-on tractor the same colour as their dad’s tractor – perfect for imitating Dad. TWO Farm dads order a tonne of sand for “building work” and put it in a huge sandpit. THREE Farm dads provide an assortment of pets: Pet lambs, barn kittens, puppies, chickens, calves – a guinea pig is no competition against these. FOUR Every day can be a “take your child to work day” as they herd the livestock together. FIVE Farm kids pick the perfect disused tyre for a swing. SIX When he’s too far away to come to the house for dinner, the field makes a great venue for a picnic. SEVEN There’s no problem persuading Dad to give you a driving lesson: he’s eager to get you driving the farm machinery. EIGHT When it snows, farm kids are the coolest kids in school when Dad comes to get them in the tractor. NINE Dads are sometimes lenient and let children stay up late during harvest time. TEN Farming dads prove that you can be anything you want to be. He is also a veterinarian, mechanic, builder, carpenter, plumber, welder and handyman, often interchanging on a daily basis. Wondering how to pamper him on Father's Day? Chocolate usually goes down well, so create a written message with the names of some chocolate bars filling in some words. For example “we think you are out of this world, beyond Mars and out of this Galaxy”. If buying him something for the farm, make sure to keep the receipt so he can put it down as a farm expense! You can also ensure that the gift doubles as a gift for you. You could have fun flying a drone together. Buying him a new collie pup might save you some running. Look on Etsy for some great t-shirts with farming slogans. If you’re broke yet old enough to milk on your own, then vouchers promising to do the milking could go down well.



Muddy Boots farm @muddybootsfarm

My other two children have January birthdays. We never seem to be able to plan pregnancies here but I suppose who can? When we were told the due date though, we both looked at each other and, even when we had the option to put the rams on the ewes a little later, we both forgot until it was too late. So we had three weeks after the baby was born when the first ewe lambed. It could have been worse. We have emerged on the other side, both tired and with Hubster seeing light at the end of the tunnel and me still amid sleeplessness which comes with night feeds. I did foil a fox attack when I was flitting around at 5am. I looked very attractive hobbling around a field in men's size 12 wellies and a torch. I saved seven hens though. This time of year is lovely with new life everywhere you look. Our well-used crib is no different and, despite all the hard work, we are very pleased to announce the birth of our third child and second boy. Free farm labour is looking promising for years to come. Hubster says no more now though.

Why do Farmers




These mugs and coasters from Vanessa Bee Designs are perfect for farmers and sheepdog handlers.

This set includes our Bestselling Beard Oil Sampler Set together presented in a handsome high quality wooden gift box.

The mug has “Come Bye” on one side and “Away” on the other, and the command on the coaster is “Lie Down” The mugs are £5.99 and the coasters are £2.99

This set includes our entire 24 scents of The Bearded Man Company Beard Oil. 100% natural ingredients, high performance and made to work.

These items are printed in the UK and are available at

The Bearded Man Company | Cost £39.99

This luxurious gift is the result of DrBeekeeper who travels around the world in search of the finest honeys. Perfect for any connoisseur, DrBeekeeper World Honey Gift Box, contains six jars of honey including English Wildflower, Greek, Italian Chestnut, Mexican, New Zealand Clover, and Spanish Orange Blossom. This special collection would make the perfect gift for any honey loving dad! £15 (RRP £18) See more at


Farming Dads Remember, Father’s Day is on 18th June. Make sure Dad is treated to something special this year. Struggling for a great gift idea? We’ve hand picked a selection of nifty things that we think that he will love. What did you get for Father’s Day? Tweet us @FarmlandUK

British Flocks Make Super Socks 100% Bluefaced Leicester Unisex Socks. This range of unique socks are inspired by the birds of Great Britain and knitted using only the finest British Bluefaced Leicester Wool. Soft and Warm - A Real Treat for your Feet. Naturally repel dirt and odours. Available in 8 shades & 3 sizes Cottontail Crafts | £14.90 Available from



If Dad is a Bacon lover or loves a spot of culinary DIY, then the Homemade Bacon  Curing Kit from Ross & Ross Food is the ideal foodie gift. The kit contains everything you need to cure your own Original, Sweet and Smoky Bacon at home, just add the pork belly. Available in a Spicy version too, give Dad a foodie gift experience this Father’s Day. Cost £21 | Ross and Ross Food Visit

Mastergrip™ H2O

Tioram Quickdry Systems

The Mastergrip™ offers flexible, lightweight support for a broad range of industrial environments, where comfortable, multi-surface traction and durability are key to performance on the job. Including ATS® Pro technology for superior comfort

Designed and made in Scotland. Tioram quickdries are shoe and boot dryers. They are filled with silica gel which works by adsorbing water. It is non-toxic and they can be regenerated easily. This quick drying also inhibits growth of bacteria that make your boots and trainers smell bad. Footwear dries quicker, smells fresher and lasts longer.

Sizes: 6, 7 - 11, 12, 13 | Cost £125 | £12 XS / £25 Large


FastFind Ranger PLB In remote areas, where other forms of communication fail, activating your FastFind Ranger Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) will summon emergency assistance. FastFind Ranger transmits your unique ID and precise GPS location to the global network of search and rescue satellites. Within minutes, emergency services are alerted to your situation and will put plans in place to rescue you. RRP £39.99 | More at

'An Ideal Farm Husband'. Brilliantly written by serial author Lorna Sixsmith whose other titles include 'Would You Marry a Farmer?', An ideal farm husband offers a hilarious perspective on romance, dating, farm life and your future farm wife. A great gift for dads and country lovers everywhere. #Idealfarmhusband RRP €12.95 (€2 shipping within Ireland, €5 shipping for Rest of World) More at

The man behind the canvas is extensively travelled artist, James Hollis. Cow art prints, from cow paintings by British wildlife artist James Hollis open edition signed prints for sale on quality watercolour paper, wall art perfect as a gift or artwork for the home. Signed prints are also available to purchase From £17 |

Pure Lambswool Cable Zipper Cardigan Whether you’re in the fields or down the pub, when it comes to cosy layers, this soft & superb, Pure Lambswool Cable Zipper Cardigan is a great shout! Crafted from quality yarn & made to last, you’ll get loads of great wear from this classic, textured coverup. Perfect for Father’s Day, this is excellent gift, dad will love AND use!

Looking for something Dad will really love this Father’s Day? Our healthy biltong snacks are packed with nutrition supplying him with the energy required for the physical lifestyle of an active Dad. Resting or on the go, give him something that he’ll really appreciate – a Biltong Subscription with Free P&P for the life of membership.

£49 | Available in 4 colours Buy now at

Use code FATHERSDAY17 at

Natural Lanolin Wool Fat Bath Soap Perfect for Farmers hands. Lanolin is the naturally occurring fat in wool. It has many beneficial attributes; it is gentle, rich and soothing and helps keep skin hydrated. Used regularly, our own brand of wool fat soap, shampoo and moisturising hand and body lotion will help keep skin soft and smooth. Using only the highest quality of ingredients

Personalise this genuine leather wallet for Father’s Day. Get this and 1000’s more unique gifts from Express Gift Service - Known for their quality and service.

Operating from Petworth, West Sussex, Nigel Williams has been established for fifteen years, specialising in items of antique silver.


We have a range of good quality, antique sterling silver and leather hip flasks from the 19th and 20th Centuries

Only £4.00| Available from

Express Gift Service Cost £19.99 |

Nigel Williams Silver £175 - £375 | Available from

A gift hamper that consists of handpicked luxury products, from the classic Edwin Jagger Shaving Brush and Edwin Jagger Shaving Bowl to the timeless Taylor of Old Bond Street Traditional Luxury Shaving Soap and 6oz Matte Black Hip Flask with ‘Best Dad’ engraving. This father’s day hamper contains all that you need to bring a smile on your dad’s face, and more Receive 10% off quoting “FARMLAND” AB Hampaers | Price: £75



PLANNING This confirmed that a rural or “unsustainable” location was not a suitable ground to object to such applications. Proposals were set out in 2016 to allow industrial units to change to dwellings using PD rights (these come in later this year). Late 2016 saw a defining High Court case set out how the structural integrity of buildings should be considered when utilising agricultural to residential PD rights. The latter sought to tighten the rules considerably. It is important to be able to distinguish which PD rights are relevant to you. It is important to properly identify the current and historic use (whether “lawful” or not) – as many have limited themselves in not being able to use PD rights to their full potential by not presenting their case in the appropriate manner.

Artists impression of an approved scheme

Permitted Development rights Changing the use of buildings to houses TOM OGDEN BSc (Hons) MRICS MBIAC AssocRTPI @Bloomfieldsplan |


o permitted development rights allowing buildings to be converted to residential units really offer a streamlined planning system? Director of Bloomfields Chartered Town Planners, Thomas Ogden asks.














Following the release of the National Planning Policy Framework in 2012 the government set out its intention to streamline the planning system amongst other things. In 2013, the first proposals relating to utilising permitted development (PD) rights to change certain buildings to dwellings came forward. This covered the potential change of buildings in office use to dwelling houses. Soon after in 2014, proposals were brought in to allow for

agricultural buildings, shops, and financial institutions to potentially change to dwellings without having to go through the full planning process. Subject of course to certain criteria and due process. Around the same time, central government released some guidance on how the national planning policy should be interpreted. In 2015, PD rights were tweaked and consolidated to relate to those released in 2013/14, presenting more opportunities, Amongst these, the opportunities to change buildings with storage uses to dwellings which are required to have been carried out before April 2018. The opportunity was also taken to clarify some of the guidance first produced in 2014 that related to changing agricultural buildings to dwellings.



"Many have limited themselves in not being able to use PD rights to their full potential by not presenting their case in an appropriate manner" The criteria relating to the various uses differs considerably as to whether you can use PD rights. In some cases for example, you cannot utilise the rights if your building is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Another major distinction is whether you can seek to clarify the extent of building works proposed as part of a PD application or if a separate full planning application would be required. If you can keep track of the PD rules, what was released and when, the criteria applicable to you, and understand the specific process for making an application under the PD rights, then yes, the process is relatively streamlined and offers great potential for property owners, especially when compared with the full planning application process. As always, the devil is in the detail and the presentation of information at the right time, in the right manner is key. Follow our latest news @Bloomfieldsplan



Abbie Kingdon Head of private client services at Samuels Solicitors Born and bred in North Devon Abbie has been a solicitor for ten years, specialising in wills, probate and estate planning. She is a member of the prestigious Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners.

I Preparing for Brexit: Seek Finance Now Amidst Land Value Uncertainty


onths before a vote was cast in the UK’s referendum on EU membership, Brexit was being blamed for falling agricultural land prices.

And so it is, after more than a decade of record growth, land values are declining again. This is entirely predictable, given that the end of the CAP will mean that UK farmers lose £4bn in subsidies. But just as important is the uncertainty this creates, as markets never respond well to uncertainty. We don’t yet know what post-Brexit agricultural policy will look like or what support (if any) the government will offer farmers. In this cautious atmosphere, the agricultural land market has become sluggish, with Savills reporting a 38 per cent decrease in sales in Q1 2017 compared to long term trends. Values are down, but have hardly fallen off a cliff. We know falling land values are not good for vendors or for anyone leasing agricultural land. But it also has a knock on effect on asset finance. The conditions for borrowing have been good in recent years, with plenty of cheap lending options available.

Brexit, however, may have a double-edged impact on this. General economic uncertainty is likely to reduce the availability of cheap finance, while more specifically any fall in agricultural land values associated with the end of CAP will weaken the position of borrowers in the rural economy. We all know the farming sector is often asset rich but cash poor, so it pays to make the most of the assets you have. If you have any capital spending plans - equipment upgrades, construction work to carry out, and investment related to diversification - you would be advised to look at asset finance now as you may not be in such a good position to borrow in two or three years’ time. Read the full version at Peregrine Finance is the UK’s largest provider of asset finance to rural businesses. With more than 25 years’ expertise in the field, Peregrine specialises in providing bespoke financial services to land based industries. To read more about our award winning services, please visit | @Peregrine_AF

Get your free copy posted to your door visit or call 0333 733 1339 Read it on the go - download free on your app store





Cover by Louise Thompson


nheritance tax ("IHT") is a tax that is levied on death. Where a deceased person's estate includes agricultural land or property, Agricultural property relief ("APR") will be available provided that certain conditions are met. APR operates to reduce the value of a deceased person's estate on which IHT is charged. The relief exists as a matter of public policy and is designed to prevent private farming businesses and enterprises being put at risk on the death of one of the owners. APR is only available in respect of agricultural assets such as farmland or farm buildings which are used for the purposes of agriculture. Where land is concerned, the deceased himself must have farmed the land in question for a continuous period of two years immediately prior to his death. If the deceased let the land in question, he must have owned it and it must have been occupied for the purposes of agriculture for a continuous period of seven years immediately prior to his death. Careful planning is required to ensure that APR will be available on your death, particularly as regards farmhouses and other agricultural buildings in respect of which there are fairly stringent rules and APR is not always available. Taking appropriate advice now could potentially save your family hundreds of thousands of pounds in IHT.











16 inspirational gifts for farming fathers

Solar conductors Part 3 in the series, 4 pages of handy tips from Voss.

Conservation special Birds, Bees, Hedgehogs and hedgerows. Brand new conservation section


M A I L @ FA R M L A N D P R E S S . CO M | T W E E T @ FA R M L A N D U K | 0 3 3 3 7 3 3 13 3 9





The average calue of bare farmland is £7,435/acre

Farmland across the UK Knight Frank’s Spring 2017 Rural Report looks at how the farming industry is faring in England, Scotland and Wales ENGLAND Since the beginning of the year, many of the farms or estates that had been on the market for some time have been sold, so the current trend really is a shortage of stock. Buyers seem to have got their heads around Brexit, but vendors are more cautious about selling unless they really have to. This is reflected in values by type with our Farmland Index stabilising in the first three months of 2017, following a drop of 8.5% last year. The average value of bare farmland is now £7,435/ acre, according to the index. A 760-acre block of arable land in Oxfordshire is currently attracting offers of around £9,500/acre. However, looking forward it is hard to predict the longer-term impact of Brexit. The real issue that will affect values is supply. SCOTLAND Last year the Scottish farmland market remained fairly resilient despite the Brexit vote – average values fell by just over 3% to £4,223/acre, according to our Scottish Farmland Index. In 2016, 71 units priced at

Philip Cosgrave, Grassland Agronomist

£1m or more were launched in Scotland, totalling just over 30,000 acres. Nearly 80% of this stock is now sold or under offer. Looking ahead it doesn’t seem that 2017 will bring a flood of farms for sale. The market faces challenges, but we have been saying that for a while. The prospect of only two more years of the current Basic Payment Scheme for farmers in Scotland is now becoming a reality. There remains a big question mark as to how both the Scottish and UK government are going to support farmers going forward. WALES Farms in Wales are the most dependent on subsidy payments and agri-environment schemes of any region in the UK. There is therefore a certain amount of trepidation about the shape of the new home-grown agricultural policy that will take the place of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. So far we haven’t seen a huge impact on prices; mainly because Welsh land values never hit the peaks seen in England and Scotland.

Topography is such a limiting factor here that regardless of commercial acumen it is very difficult for farming businesses to be highly profitable. Looking forward some people are pessimistic about where values will head if the financial support for farming is cut back, but I believe the Welsh Assembly will be fighting strongly to make sure this doesn’t happen.

"The Scottish farmland

market remained fairly resilient despite the Brexit vote" It firmly believes that support for agriculture is support for the wider social fabric of rural communities and their economies. Payments for agricultural activities may well be cut, but they could be replaced by schemes promoting rural enterprise, the environment, biodiversity, water quality and carbon sequestration to mitigate the impact of global warming. To read more on the Knight Frank rural report visit

On Farm with Yara

BOOSTING SELENIUM LEVELS IN GRASS SILAGE We should not overlook the potential of fortifying grass silage with selenium (Se) for 1st and 2nd cut grass silage. Increasing the Se levels in grass silage can significantly reduce health problems in your housed herd by elevating the Se content of your grass silage to 0.3 mg/kg DM. A cow requires 0.3 mg of Se for every 1 kg of DM consumed. Se data from Yara analytical services shows more than 90% of grass silage samples tested have below 0.2 mg/kg. We might believe that using fertilizer fortified with Se is only useful for grazed systems but this is not the case. If grass silage is fertilized using our YaraMila SILAGE BOOSTER (20-4.5-14.5 + 7.5 SO3 + Se), this silage will have enough Se to meet the needs of a milking or dry cow. A cow will utilise the Se in grass silage more efficiently than Se via other routes of supplementation. The conservation process and acidic environment do not alter the availability of Se in grass silage. It is very important to maintain Se intakes during the dry period to prevent local muscular myopathies and white muscle disease in calves. Calves born to Se

Yara UK 38


deficient mothers are less vigorous when born. Inadequate dietary Se increases the risk of cow’s retaining foetal membranes, we know it is integral to the function of the cow’s immune system. High cell counts and mastitis problems are associated with Se deficiency and supplying grass silage fortified with Se is a cost effective way to maintain good milk quality and minimise the incidence of mastitis. Visit us at Grassland and Muck 2017. This tri-annual event is fast approaching and Yara are welcome to be main sponsors of this year’s grassland showpiece at Stoneleigh on the 24-25 May. Yara will take this opportunity to demonstrate through its participation in the grassland forum and on our stand where it is possible to unlock the potential that exists on grassland systems to improve output through improved crop nutrition and management practices. See more information on our selenium range of fertilizers at



Extend the life of your McCormick or Doncaster built tractor

Choose genuine Argo Parts. The healthier choice for longer life.

Call us on 01642 712965

For used & new sales of machinery please call Dave Trewhitt on 07870 400505 For servicing & technical enquiries please contact Rob Stevenson on 07870 400507 Unit 9, Rosedale Court, Ellerbeck Way, Stokesley Business Park, TS9 5GB

Sound Advice Excellent Customer Service Specialising in making cover cropping work for you

• Fodder Crops • Cover Crops

Suppliers of

• Enviro Mixtures • Wildflowers ... gives you more

• Grass Seed • Game Cover

Servicing & parts supplied for most makes of tractors & machinery

We are now an official stockist of

Call us on 01642 712965 For used & new sales of machinery please call Dave Trewhitt on 07870 400505 For servicing & technical enquiries please contact Rob Stevenson on 07870 400507

Unit 9, Rosedale Court, Ellerbeck Way, Stokesley Business Park, TS9 5GB

For advertising rates and availability call 0333 733 1339 or

Other services include - Soil health audits, In depth soil analysis, Plant tissue analysis, Waste nutrient analysis, advice and action plans

Call us on 01673 308492


@Shepherdseeds @farmlanduk | FARMLAND MAGAZINE



Power struggle: on-farm AD and the general election Charlotte Morton Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association


he snap general election called for 8 June is currently the talk of the town, and things are no different for the on-farm anaerobic digestion (AD) industry, which, like other areas of agriculture, is invariably affected by changes in government policy. So what does the calling of the general election mean for on-farm AD? Short-term impacts The immediate impact of the snap election has been to bring the business of government to a halt. This has left the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy unable to pass emergency legislation to update the degression triggers in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), a key financial support mechanism for on-farm AD. This essentially means that the current biomethane tariff could fall by 5% on 1 July, and by a further 5% if the proposed new legislation is not in place by 1 October. The delays to the RHI legislation are leading to delays in AD plants being built,



costing farmers and landowners money. Canvassing for on-farm AD Despite these delays, the calling of a general election does present a great opportunity to feed into political parties’ manifestos, which are now hastily being drawn up.

ADBA Chief Executive Charlotte Morton

ADBA has called on all parties to recognise the value of AD in their manifestos and has outlined three key asks for the AD industry, which include calling for the reintroduction of RHI legislation as soon as possible

and supporting UK farmers, firstly by restoring viable tariffs to the Feed-in Tariff scheme and secondly by removing the AD capacity cap. The next few weeks are also a great chance for farmers to tell parliamentary candidates in their local area about the benefits of on-farm AD. These candidates will spend the next month tramping across their constituencies, meeting voters, debating each other, and, importantly, visiting local businesses and talking to the press. ADBA therefore this week encouraged our members to write to the candidates in their constituency to invite them to visit their local AD plant, whilst underlining the benefits of AD in supporting the rural economy, restoring our degraded soils, and providing low-carbon heat, power, and transport fuel for direct use on farms. A visit from a potential MP can help to raise the profile of an AD plant and of onfarm AD more broadly, especially if the local press come along too – politicians will never pass up a photo op in a hard hat! And of course, if the candidate who visits the plant is subsequently elected, a great base

for future engagement between the plant owner and the MP is already in place. Assessing the fallout The implications of Brexit and a new government for on-farm AD will be a key theme of ADBA’s UK AD & Biogas tradeshow, which will take place at the NEC in Birmingham less than a month after the election results are announced. This year UK AD & Biogas is joining with the World Biogas Expo to create the #1 global tradeshow for biogas, inviting farmers and agricultural experts from around the world to share knowledge and best practice. You can register for free to attend the show at No matter who wins on 8 June, ADBA will continue to press the new Government on recognising the role of on-farm AD as part of a modern Industrial Strategy and ensuring a sustainable funding and incentive system. We want to make sure that sustainable farming is the real winner this summer. Web - Tweet @adbioresources


Are energy suppliers milking it when it comes to farms? Energy billing validation and overcharges Kevin Aylward

In an audit we carried out this year, the billing system had rejected meter reading after meter reading for almost a year, producing estimated invoices even though the information was supplied by a smart meter. The subsequent £10,000 refund the business received is an indication of the impact poor validation can have.

"Failures within billing validation is the main cause of energy overcharges and it's costing farm businesses millions of pounds a year"


hy are farms and businesses in general susceptible to being overcharged on their energy bills? The main cause is the energy suppliers billing validation processes, which is how received data is analysed and processed by the billing system. Energy supplier billing systems operate autonomously, there is little or no manual input. Invoices, letters, reminders, notifications, even requesting access to read the meter are all automated. The involvement of a supplier’s representative is largely as a result of the telephone enquiries

generated due to the above correspondence being sent out. With this reliance on billing systems one would imagine they are complex affairs. However, many billing systems are rudimentary and are designed for one thing, generating invoices. This includes producing estimated invoices where the data falls outside set billing parameters. This may seem like a reasonable solution, after all receiving incorrect information is not uncommon, but what happens if it’s not an isolated incident? How often can readings be rejected before they are investigated?

RECOVERING ENERGY OVERCHARGES Do you think you’ve been overcharged? - Have you ever had an audit of your energy invoices? - Do you trust your energy supplier to bill you correctly? - Have you ever queried your energy charges? - Do you know what you should be charged?


Also, the validation in place is limited, as it only reviews the total energy consumption and takes little account of when energy is used. For farms who are being charged on two or three rate tariffs where evening/weekend and night registers also record supply, little or no validation appears to be in operation so billing errors can continue for years and transfer from one supplier to the next. In another recent example of failures with billing validation, we identified £6,000 of overcharges on a meter that was removed over two years ago, even though there was clear evidence showing a billing error by simply looking at the invoices. Subsequently, when auditing two dairy farms, the exact same metering error had gone unchecked by the billing system because of its limited validation. The metering error is not uncommon and the energy supplier

continuing to invoice was not surprising, but the combined £40,000 of overcharges recovered was astonishing. It was a clear indication that validation didn’t take into account multiple rate meters and provided an invoice was generated, it passed energy supplier scrutiny, in one case for 4 years. Had the meters been replaced, which under the rules of statutory meter changes (SMC’s) they could have been, only a retrospective audit of the farms would have uncovered the fault. Without an audit, overcharges such as these, would never come to light. Failures within billing validation is the main cause of energy overcharges and its costing businesses millions of pounds a year, but rather than preventing incorrect invoices being sent out, billing systems have been given complete autonomy. Therefore, overcharges will continue. HOW DOES IT WORK? Our audit consists of a detailed review of the history of your energy accounts in order to identify any billing errors by current and previous energy suppliers and recover any overcharges as a result. Follow our updates and hear more sucessful case studies at or via twitter @egaudit

Practical energy management and consultancy services for farm businesses • We have been recovering overcharges and over payments from energy supply companies since 2002’ • This year we’ve already identified and recovered £258,000+ of overcharges • To many of our customers we operate as an additional department within their organisation • Contact us to today to find out how much you could be owed

01244 399399

EG | 3 Chapel Court Wervin Road, Chester CH2 4BT @farmlanduk | FARMLAND MAGAZINE


Wharfedale Farmers Auction Mart Ltd LEEDS ROAD, OTLEY, LS21 3BD - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - We are pleased to be associated with Farmland Magazine - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- SEE YOUR STOCK SOLD AND COLLECT YOUR PAY ON THE SAME DAY AT OUR “FRIENDLY” YORKSHIRE LIVESTOCK MART - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- MONDAYS (Weekly from 9.30am) Prime Pigs and Sheep, Cull and Prime Cattle THURSDAYS (Aug - Nov at 11.30am) Special Sales of Breeding & Store Sheep FRIDAYS (Fortnightly from 10.45am) Store Sheep & Pigs, Dairy Cattle, Calves & Stirks, Feeding Bulls, Breeding & Store Cattle SATURDAYS (Monthly - Next Sale Sat 10 June 2017) Farm Equip, Machinery, Timber, Tools, Sundries, etc at 10am and Fur/Feather 12noon Also inc. Bi-monthly Sales of HORSE TACK on Sat 10 Jun, 5 Aug, 30 Sept & 25 Nov 2017 and Inc. Special Section for Vintage Equip & Machinery on Sat 28 October 2017 ON-FARM SALES, LAND & PROPERTY SALES - VALUATIONS AND CLAIMS CONDUCTED

_________________________ Telephone: (01943) 462172 Fax: (01943) 461135 Ian Smith FdSc FLAA (Market Manager) 07738 043771


Clitheroe Auction Mart Lincoln Way, Clitheroe, Lancs BB7 1QD

2017 Plant, Diggers, Tractors, Farm Machinery & Equipment Sales

Gargrave Road, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1UD

Tel: 01756 792375

Auctioneers: Jeremy Eaton - General Manager 07747 780481 Ted Ogden - Farmstock Sales 07855 958211 & Sam Bradley – Auctioneer 07538 539077

Saturday 28th January* Saturday 25th February Saturday 29th April Saturday 25th March* Saturday 24th June Saturday 27th May* Saturday 26th August Saturday 29th July* Saturday 23rd September* Saturday 21st October Saturday 25th November* No Sale in December Sale commences 9am in the Bottom Shed with tools etc, followed by Machinery & Plant outside at approx 10.45am. *also this day Rural & Domestic Bygones, 10am

A fast, friendly & efficient service PLUS.... Low commission rates • Un-loading ramp Loadall facility • New look website Catalogue listings • Large compound/storage facility Extensive pre sale text alerts to over 5000 customers Collection service by arrangement



Weekly Monday Sales of:Primestock, Cast Cattle & Sheep, Rearing Calves & Crop

Vintage Tractors & Associated Parts Saturdays 13th May & 16th September Sale commences at 9.30am in the shed with Parts, followed by Associated Machinery & Tractors Find us on

Facebook T: 01200 423325 • Joe: 07970 221354 • Jeremy: 07815 727993

Fortnightly Sales of:Beef Breeding Cattle, Young Feeding Bulls & Store Cattle Pedigree & Commercial Newly Calven & In-Calf Dairy Cattle & Dairy Young Stock Major Seasonal Sales of:Breeding Sheep and Store Lambs Inc: NEMSA Mule Gimmer Lambs & MSBA Masham Gimmer Lambs Swaledale Gimmer Lambs & Dales Mule Gimmer Lambs Mule & Continental Gimmer Shearlings & Ewes Swaledale Draft Ewes & Shearlings Pedigree Sheep & Cattle Specialist Sales inc:Poultry & Waterfowl, Working Sheep Dogs, Agri Trader inc 4x4, Tractors, Vintage, Reclamation etc. Farm & Flock Books, Border Fine Arts On-Farm Stock Sales, Dispersals & Valuations Undertaken





Tel: 01900 822016


APRIL FRIDAY 21st Store, breeding and feeding cattle, stirks and calves, and ewes with lambs at foot Also Collective dairy sale including the 1st part dispersal of fresh calved heifers and cows from JA Nanson & Son, Sorrowstones, Gosforth, Cumbria MAY

HERSTMONCEUX COLLECTIVE - SATURDAY 13th MAY For more information visit our website Tel: (01323) 844874 or Email us -

FRIDAY 5th Store, breeding and feeding cattle, stirks and calves, also ewes with lambs at foot

Dumfries Mart, Huntingdon Road, Dumfries, DG1 1NF

Monday 15th May 300 Store Cattle, 40 Calves & Stirks Principal Sale Of Beef Breeding Cattle 164 Heifers/Cows with calves at foot, 230 Bulling Heifers & Bulls Wednesday 17th May Weekly Sale of Primestock Also at 12.30pm To include 8 Mule gimmers, 10 Mule ewes with Suff x Tex lambs and Ewes with Lambs at foot – further entries sought

FRIDAY 12th Special sale of breeding cattle cows/heifers with calves, incalf cows/heifers, bulling heifers and breeding bulls. Special show and sale of ewes with lambs at foot classes for mule and continental hoggs and shearlings, competing for the David Westgarth Memorial Trophy Special sale of Herdwick and Swaledale ewes with lambs at foot WEDNESDAY 17th Show and sale of Single Prime Lambs FRIDAY 19th Special show and sale of 800 store cattle competing for the Johnny Skelton Memorial Trophy Also feeding cattle, stirks and calves FRIDAY 26th Sale of ewes with lambs at foot WEEKLY

Please contact our office or website for information and entry forms Tel. 01387 279495 Fax. 01387-251456 Email – Website - Find us on Facebook ‘Dumfries Auction Mart’

WEDNESDAY PRIMESTOCK SALES Cast Cows, Prime Bulls, Clean Cattle at 11.00am. Cast Ewes at 12.30pm Prime & Light weight Lambs at 1.30pm

For further details on any of our sales or to request a catalogue contact the office on 01900 822016 or the auctioneer John Wharton 07912 946549

Profile for FarmLand Magazine

Farmland Magazine May 2017  

Farmland Magazine. Packed with Farming News, Interviews, Opinions, Conservation & Loads More. PLUS - Gift's for Farming Fathers on page 36....

Farmland Magazine May 2017  

Farmland Magazine. Packed with Farming News, Interviews, Opinions, Conservation & Loads More. PLUS - Gift's for Farming Fathers on page 36....