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Martin Hesp: upland farmers can learn from Swiss Page 12

Paterson asks for reaction to EU policy BY JEFF WELLS Farmers are rarely short of a thing or two to say about most topics, but get them onto the European Union and they really wax lyrical. Instead of moaning into the wind – or at the local pub – the Government says it wants to hear from the farming community on how Britain’s fractious relationship with the EU is really working on the ground. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has launched a

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is concerned about EU FARMING ONLINE

Farmers in parts of Somerset will be able to dredge watercourses themselves under a relaxation of rules in the wake of the devastation suffered on the Levels – bid to hear evidence from farmers and fishermen on how the EU has affected the UK national interest. People with knowledge of the EU, farming and fishing industries have been invited to share their views on how the EU has affected the UK on a day-to-day basis. These calls for evidence are

part of the Government’s Balance of Competences Review, an analysis of what EU membership means for the UK. The review is examining the scope of EU powers and the effects they have on the UK. The agriculture report will examine EU powers for the Common Agricultural Policy, plant health and forestry. The fisheries report will examine EU powers for the Common Fisheries Policy, the management of fisheries and the farming of fish and shellfish. Mr Paterson said: “We want to hear from people with direct experience of what our membership of the EU means in practice. “Our farmers and fishermen are affected by it every day, so I’d like to know what they think. “Anyone involved in agriculture, forestry or the fishing industry will have a view, as will the thousands of businesses linked to them. This is a real opportunity to inform the national debate on Europe.” The calls for evidence will run for 12 weeks until January 13, 2014. The final reports will be published in summer 2014. The Balance of Competences Review is led by the Government in consultation with think-tanks, academia, businesses, Parliament, civil society and EU institutions. It aims to improve public understanding of the nature of our EU membership and contribute to the wider European debate about how to modernise, reform and improve the EU.

MP calls for rethink over Lyme disease A man infected by ticks has been carrying out “drug runs” to Europe because the medicines he requires are not available on the NHS, the MP for Chippenham has said. Liberal Democrat Duncan Hames asked yesterday for ministerial talks to ensure continuing treatments for Lyme disease are on offer, adding that figures suggest people living in the South West of England are three times as likely to contract the infection. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread to people by ticks, which can be found in woodland areas and feed on the blood of mammals including humans. Due to the nature of their work, farm workers can be particularly susceptible. The condition can affect the skin, joints, heart and nervous system, according to the NHS. Mr Hames told the

Duncan Hames, the Chippenham MP, wants ministers to act

Western Daily Press reader Tony Box, of Melksham, Wiltshire, captured this image of gulls stalking a tractor at work in Dorset. More farming pictures online at



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Commons during health questions: “I have a constituent doing what he calls ’drug runs’ to Europe in order access the medicines that tackle his symptoms. Will the minister meet with me to discuss how we can make sure that continuing treatments for Lyme disease are available on the NHS?” Health Minister Jane Ellison replied: “I am very happy to meet with you and have that discussion.” Parliamentary data released to Mr Hames stated that 734 cases of Lyme disease were reported in the South West between 2010 and 2012. In England and Wales there were 2,904 cases in the period.


Chris Rundle: end of the Bogof bonanza boosts farmers Page 7





Cash plea to pay for work with wildlife BY ANDY GREENWOOD West Country farmers will join conservationists in London today to lobby the Government to maintain cash support for wildlife-friendly schemes. The RSPB, Wildlife Trusts and National Trust are organising the event at Westminster to coincide with an expected consultation on the shape of the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The focus has now shifted from the multi-billion pound negotiations in Europe to how individual member states apply the reform measures. Conservation groups wanted the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to move 15 per cent of the CAP budget – the maximum allowed – into rural development measures which include agri-environment schemes. However, they fear that wildlife will lose out if the money is kept as a direct farm payment with minimal “green” strings attached.

‘Wildlife depends on farmers and funding to support their work’ MP Sarah Wollaston Tony Whitehead, from the RSPB in the South West, said: “Agri-environment schemes need to be well designed and targeted to wildlife most in need. “And because the market does not reward the work farmers do for wildlife, we need it to be subsidised through the CAP – which means fair deal for everyone, because a countryside rich in wildlife benefits all of us.” The lobbying effort is being sponsored by Totnes Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston who said it would “highlight the vital importance of the environmental work done by far mers”. She added: “Be that hill farmers protecting moorland ecosystems and landscape on Dartmoor or the farmers in my constituency who have saved our cirl bunting from extinction, our wildlife and landscape depends on farmers and the funding they need to support their work.” Some £3 billion a year will be spent in Britain under the new Common Agricultural Policy which was agreed earlier this year. However, there is concern among farmers about the transfer of a portion of direct farm payments, known as pillar one, to environmental and rural development

schemes with conditions, known as pillar two. The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has said it “wouldn't necessarily oppose transfers to the rural development measures if carried out equally and fairly across the whole of the EU”. Robin Milton, who farms at West Anstey, near South Molton, in North Devon, addressed the issues with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on hill farming. Mr Milton went to Westminster last week in his role as the chairman of the NFU’s upland farming group, which represents hill farmers on Exmoor, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor as well as other parts of England. He stressed the importance of hill farming’s success in maintaining the environment of the moors – and the knockon effect their wellbeing had on the vital tourist industry in the South West and elsewhere. Mr Milton emphasised the need for “pillar one” support in light of a massively reduced budget for “pillar two”. The Government, he said, should stop viewing farmers simply as a delivery mechanism for environmental programmes. “The truth is that without farming there would be none of the stunning upland landscapes we all value so much, and critically, no provision of the public goods associated with them,” he told MPs. “We believe ‘pillar one’ offers the best mechanism of support, as it is most easily targeted to the farmer, assuming it is distributed fairly.” The RSPB also released its annual Wild Bird Indicator statistics ahead of the Defra consultation which is expected to run for six weeks. Its Farmland Bird Index – which covers 19 species reliant on the farmed countryside – showed an 8 per cent decline in numbers over the last five years. Mr Whitehead added: “Here in the West Country many farmers are doing excellent work for farmland birds. Without this we would not have seen increases in species such as cirl bunting and chough. But these figures published today are hard to ignore. We really need to up our game now if we are going to seriously address this.” He added: “Intensive systems leave little space for nature. But we are convinced here in the West Country that there is a middle way, one where farmers can produce food and wildlife. But this currently relies on the Government making the right choices in terms of funding.”


Peter Coombes, from Emborough near Bath, gets his Charollais Shearling rams ready for the sales ring at the Wilton Sheep Fair in Wiltshire

National Trust testing the practicalities of vaccinating badgers

The National Trust says it has always been clear that it supports an evidence-based approach to the important countryside issue of bovine tuberculosis

The National Trust has explained why it has raised concerns over the badger culls taking place in Somerset and Gloucestershire. Recognising that dealing with bovine TB is a complex problem, with strongly held views on all sides, the trust says is uniquely placed in this issue with a strong interest in both farming and nature conservation. The organisation adds that it has always been clear that it supports an evidence-based approach to this important issue – which is why it has voiced its concerns over the Government’s pilot culls. Patrick Begg, who leads on bovine TB at the National Trust, said: “The trust’s position on tackling bovine TB is clear: we are in favour of what will work to solve the problem that is affecting so many of our tenants and farmers across the country. “We know from previous

studies that this means increasing and intensifying surveillance to pick up infection early, introducing tighter controls on risky cattle movements, and improving biosecurity in farms. “To complement these efforts and to deal with the reservoir of disease in wildlife, we also believe that vaccination – of both badgers and cattle – will play a significant role. “That is why we are testing the practicalities of vaccination, at our own cost, on our Killerton estate in East Devon. “However, we are also aware that a mass vaccination of badgers with current vaccines may prove challenging to realise in practice; it would be expensive and may not deliver the required effect. “Equally, we understand from both Professor John Krebs’ work and the subsequent analysis by Professor John Bourne, that a compre-

hensive badger cull could have a significant impact on the incidence of bovine TB – but only if a number of very stringent criteria were met, including intensity, longevity and geography. “We had hoped that the current pilot culls would produce credible evidence on the effectiveness of a humane cull. Indeed, we will be judging the outcomes of the pilots against the criteria for success set out by Professor Bourne in his review of the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT).”

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However, he said that the trust is worried by: ■ Uncertainties over, and changes in, the baseline badger population estimates. “This dimension is fundamental if we are to understand whether the appropriate proportion of animals can be culled as per the criteria set following the RBCT.” ■ The lengthening of the pilot culls, which is again at the



Welfare charity man apologises to the NFU Dominic Dyer, policy advisor for the animal welfare charity Care for the Wild, has apologised for remarks he made about the National Farmers Union and the gassing of badgers. Mr Dyer said: “In a series of press appearances and tweets on and around October 14, 2013, I raised my concerns about the unlawful gassing of badgers, following an investigation into this practice which was broadcast by Sky News. I remain concerned about unlawful gassing, but I accept that in raising my concerns, I made a number of unsubstantiated allegations about the knowledge and complicity of the National Farmers Union and its officeholder Peter Kendall in the gassing of badgers, for which I had no foundation. I withdraw those allegations, and I apologise unreservedly.”

Firefighters rescue 70 stranded sheep Rescuers have plucked 70 sheep from flooded farmland in Herefordshire. Firefighters reported that they rescued the livestock, trapped on land in Buckton, within half an hour of being alerted. Crews from Leintwardine and Bromyard rescued them from “rapidly rising flood water” from the River Teme. The Environment Agency has announced flood alerts on the River Arrow in Herefordshire, the Lugg south of Leominster and the Wye, Herefordshire.


heart of the RBCT criteria for success. “The RBCT quickly realised that culling should be constrained to as short a window as possible due to the experience of their own reactive culling, in which extended and sequential culling was quickly seen to significantly increase damaging perturbation effects and led to more, not fewer, bTB breakdowns in nearby herds.” ■ Changes to the badger culling methods being employed, where it is clear that free shooting by marksmen – the original preferred method and on which any financial argument was based – has been largely abandoned in favour of cage trapping and then dispatch. ■ The apparently now active discussion of other culling methods for any wider roll out, such as gassing and snaring. “Both have strong experimental evidence bases calling into question whether they can be humane. “We’ve recently written to Defra asking for their assurance that they are committed to meeting the criteria set out by Professor Bourne and upholding high standards of scientific rigour in the conduct and analysis of these pilot culls.”

Hill farming makes its case to ministers The future of farming on the hills of North Devon and Exmoor is the focus of a new initiative to show the Government what is needed to help the industry. It comes from an alliance of hill farm supporters which is asking farmers, landowners and managers to answer a survey about their enterprises to use as evidence in talks with ministers. The initiative is led by the South West Uplands Federation, backed by Exmoor National Park and the Exmoor Hill Farm Project.

Students will see how tenant farms operate

The National Trust has outlined its position on the controversial badger cull, which has seen heightened tensions on both sides of the debate

Children from North Devon’s schools will be among over a thousand young people travelling to a farm event at Westpoint, near Exeter, on Tuesday. They will visit a display by Devon County Council and meet some of the people who run its 75 holdings. Students already visit tenant farms in North Devon for farm education and experience in lambing, stock management and arable farming. Now the county council is showing the contribution to agriculture made by its starter and progression farms.

Sarah Dunning at the site of the Gloucester service station

Search on for food to sell at M5 services BY EVA JONES Motorway service station food is usually the result of intensive processing, but a new services on the M5 could boost West farmers. In June next year the £40 million Gloucester service station will open between junctions 11a and 12 of the M5 north and southbound, employing 300 people from the city. The service station is the sister project of the Tebay Services in Cumbria, which is owned by Westmorland, which are also behind Gloucester Services along with the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust. Fresh local and artisan produced food is at the heart of Tebay Services and Gloucester will share its approach. There will be no franchises, but instead farm shops and kitchens selling and making good food. The buyers from Gloucester Services are getting out and about in the community to find the best possible produce available. A series of events called “Meet the Buyer” have been arranged so anyone interested in selling their wares from the new service station can find out more about how to do so. Rob Keene, owner of Over Farm on the A40, said: “I think it is a great idea and it is something we would be keen to be involved in. If they can replicate what they do at Tebay here in Gloucester then it will be great for local traders. I don’t think it would detract from our business at all. “We have the capacity to grow more and it would give us another outlet to sell our produce from. “We made contact with Westmorland a couple of years ago

when planning started so we are hoping to link up with them. Sourcing locally is great.” Dan Collier, at Nick Brown Butchers, in Longlevens, said: “It could well be something we would be interested in. I think selling and supporting local produce is great though. If people didn’t help out then we wouldn’t be here. “I’m sure we will definitely consider going to one of the events to find out more.” The launch of the hunt for the best produce is on November 5 at The Mill in Stroud, where a light lunch and networking session will start at 11am. Sarah Dunning, Westmorland chief executive, will outline her vision for food at Gloucester Services supported by a short talk from Matthew Fort, a food writer and broadcaster, about the importance of local food. Stuart Clear, head of retail at Westmorland, said: “We don’t just believe in great quality local products, we want to form long-term relationships with people who really care about what they produce. “We want to meet as many farmers and growers as possible in the region who share our ethos and passion for proper food. “We also want Gloucester Services to act as a springboard for new businesses. Maybe you’re a brilliant home baker and want to start up a business, a farmer who would like to sell his stock direct rather than via a wholesaler. “We’re looking for delicious food and a commitment to locally sourced ingredients.”Traders are asked to register their interest in advance by emailing meetthebuyer@


The story began in 1972 when the Dunnings, a local farming family, opened Tebay Services (operated by the newly founded company Westmorland Limited), offering motorists on the new M6 motorway homemade food, often inspired by family recipes and made (wherever possible) using local ingredients. Last year they celebrated 40 years of Tebay Services. At their heart, they say they are, and always have been, a family business, home grown, down to earth, farmers, protective of their environment, keen to promote local talent, proud of their homemade food, passionate about quality, honest, approachable, individual, loyal to our customers, always striving to be the very best in everything they undertake. Forty years on and Westmorland is still very much a family affair – although they have grown a bit Now with Sarah Dunning (daughter of founders, John and Barbara Dunning) at the helm, the company owns and operates: Tebay Services north and south home to the Westmorland Farm Shops and: The Westmorland Hotel; J38 Services; The Westmorland Caravan Park; The Rheged Centre. Over the years the company has been honoured by both the public and their peers in the food, farming, travel and hospitality industries with a number of awards. In the last 12 months they are particularly proud to have been awarded the following: Outstanding Contribution to Cumbrian Food & Drink Award at the Cumbria Annual Food and Drink Awards; The Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE)’s Excellence in Practical Farming and Business Award in recognition of farm diversification and the Dunning family’s commitment to countryside stewardship. Tebay Services South became the first and only motorway service area to receive five stars in the VisitEngland inspection scheme.



Red Tractor advert given the all-clear BY JOSIE CLARKE An advert for the Red Tractor logo featuring farming personality Jimmy Doherty has been cleared following complaints questioning the standard of animal welfare on farms involved in the scheme. The television ad showed Doherty on his farm with pigs and piglets wandering around and eating straw, before he said: “Now more than ever it’s important to know where all your meat comes from, and I think the easy way to do that is to trust the tractor.” He continued: “All pork, sausages and bacon carrying the Red Tractor mark is traceable back to Red Tractor farms. It is inspected to ensure all the pork you buy has come from pigs that are well looked

86 Number of viewers who objected to TV advert picturing pigs after, raised to good standards by responsible farmers.” Red Tractor is a food assurance scheme which covers production standards developed by experts on safety, hygiene, animal welfare and the environment, among other measures. Compassion in World Farming and 86 viewers said the ad gave the “misleading” impression that all Red Tractor pigs were raised to free range welfare standards, which they understood was not the case. The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) said the purpose of the ad was to get consumers to think about the provenance of their pork, the choices they made in buying their meat,

and to ask them to look for the Red Tractor logo as evidence of compliance with the qualities underlying the Red Tractor scheme. The AHDB said neither they nor the Red Tractor scheme promoted one particular rearing technique over another and at no point in the ad was it suggested that the scheme provided or guaranteed freerange pork production. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the majority of complainants appeared to be responding to an online campaign questioning the general standard of animal welfare on Red Tractor farms, as well as whether the ad implied that all the pigs were free-range. The ASA said: “We acknowledged that some aspects of pig farming in the UK were contentious, but accepted that the Red Tractor scheme applied measures in an effort to control their use and the pigs were raised to good standards. “We also understood from the complainants that one particular farm in the scheme had been exposed as falling below Red Tractor standards. AHDB explained that the farm was removed from the scheme and following its own investigation it implemented measures to help avoid a similar problem in the future.” The ASA added: “We considered that the monitoring of such schemes could not be absolutely infallible and one incident did not undermine the legitimacy of the Red Tractor scheme.” It concluded: “Because the ad’s message was one of being able to trace meat back to its originating farm, and no claims were made that all the pigs were outdoor bred and images of indoor pig accommodation were shown, we concluded that the images were unlikely to mislead viewers that all the pigs were freerange.”

Rights breach claim in AWB abolition row The Government is being accused of a breach of human rights over its decision to scrap a body which set wages for agricultural workers. Unite has filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg over the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB), which set minimum wage rates and other terms and conditions for about 150,000 workers in England and Wales. The board was abolished in England last month while the position in Wales is under discussion. Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: “The abolition of the AWB by the Government is a stain on democracy and we believe that it is also a breach of basic human rights. “There wasn’t even a debate or a vote in Parliament on the

Diana Holland says the abolition of the AWB is a stain on democracy

Farming personality Jimmy Doherty featured in a television advert for the Red Tractor logo that showed pigs and piglets wandering around and eating straw, which caused some to complain that it gave the ‘misleading’ impression that all Red Tractor pigs were raised to free range welfare standards

Lochhead: Scotland the poor relation in EU rural budget talks UK ministers have been “working against Scotland” by negotiating the nation to the bottom of the pile in EU rural budget talks at a cost of £850 million to farmers, Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has said. Scotland previously received the third lowest level of farm support in Europe until the UK Government “negotiated Scotland down to the bottom”, according to Mr Lochhead. Scotland could “lose the ability to produce food” for its rising population unless it protects its producers, he said.

Mr Lochhead also attacked the “concentrated wealth and power” of land owners who “block rural development and empower ment”, pledging to look at the case for giving tenant farmers the right to buy the land they rent. Independence could herald a “rural renaissance” in Scotland and deliver “huge dividends for farmers”, he said. Addressing the SNP Conference in Perth, Mr Lochhead said: “I argued for a greater share of Europe’s farming and rural budgets for Scotland. Owen Paterson argued for less. At one point, he even

Sheep pictured at the Scottish Winter Fair. Richard Lochhead says Scottish hill farmers and crofters need more support

argued for no budget because he wanted the free market to reign supreme even if it meant a slow and painful death for Scottish agriculture. “Try telling the hill farmer on Mull or the crofter on Skye who couldn’t compete without public support. “I am publishing information that highlights why the UK Government has once again let rural Scotland down. These EU funding league tables show how the UK Government negotiated Scotland down to the bottom in negotiations. “Scotland went into the ne-

gotiations with a pitiful third lowest level of farm support in Europe. Europe then agreed a formula to close the gap between the countries with lowest payments with those of the highest. “Scotland has now been leapfrogged by Latvia and Lithuania. We didn’t benefit from the new funding formula because it only applies to member states, and the UK Government refused to seek a fairer share of the budget for Scotland. As a result, our farmers have lost out big time – indeed, to the tune of a massive £850 million.”

Gover nment’s proposal to abolish the AWB. “The board was a vital mechanism for maintaining adequate living standards for agricultural workers. “Our members in low-paid rural industries are facing a serious assault from a multimillion pound food industry backed by the Government. “Unite is determined to fight for the rights of individual working men and women to come together and bargain collectively in order to improve living standards.” NFU chief economist Phil Bicknell said: “The AWB was an outdated board and its abolition brings farming in line with the other major industries in the country.” The NFU has published a post-AWB information pack on its website so that its members can avoid being caught out by new employment legislation.

New strategy to improve skills Following widespread calls for the agricultural industries to come together and improve workplace skills, a new strategy is to be launched at a high-level summit next month. The ideas have been championed by the cross-industry AgriSkills Forum, which includes the NFU as a founder member of the management group. The aim is to promote lifelong learning on a crossindustry scale. The document will be launched to senior agricultural representatives at the event in London on November 6, where government Under Secretary of State Lord de Mauley will be the keynote speaker.



Ivy’s Vintage cheese spread far and wide BY EVA JONES A Somerset cheese-maker is now selling its premium vintage farmhouse cheddar in 150 countries. Wyke Farms has announced that its Ivy’s Vintage Reserve – named after Ivy Clothier, who started making the cheese in the early 1900s and never travelled overseas, unlike her cheese – is being sold in a further 13 countries. These include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Es-


Number of countries in which Ivy’s Vintage Reserve is now sold Gordon Ramsay has helped boost the brand’s popularity abroad MORE ONLINE

Exmoor should be doing more to look after its forests, according to a new report – tonia, Greece, India, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania and the Bahamas, as well as additional retailers in France. Ivy’s Vintage Reserve is available on Morrison deli counters in the UK. Wyke Farms’ overall export business has grown steadily over the last five years with a strong growth of 50 per cent in 2012. International praise for Wyke Farms’ cheddar from celebrity chefs, such as

Gordon Ramsay, has helped boost the brand’s popularity abroad. “We are enormously proud of this growth in export sales and to see Wyke Farms becoming an international brand,” said Rich Clothier, third generation family member and managing director at Wyke Farms. “Increasingly shoppers across the world are looking for quality British products such as our prize-winning cheddar made here on our farm in the heart of Somerset. “We expect our overseas sales to continue to grow with further new deals in the US and Hong Kong, as well as emerging markets such as China and even parts of Africa.” Ivy’s Vintage Reserve is a premium, special-occasion cheddar that was until only a few years ago reserved for family and friends only. Smooth and creamy in texture, it is described as having a rounded, balanced flavour that is full of character. To achieve this it is left to mature, undisturbed, for just under two years. Wyke Farms has been producing its award-winning cheddar for over a century and has grown to become the largest family-owned cheese maker in Britain, selling over 14,000 tonnes annually. The company has achieved substantial growth year on year by staying true to the traditional values behind the brand and has become the fastest growing cheddar brand at a rate of 10 per cent every year for the past five years. Wyke Farms has 150 years of family farming experience. Wyke Farms’ cheese and butter is made with the milk from their cows grazing the lush pastures of the Mendip Hills in the centre of the cheddar-making region in Somerset.

Scheme can help start anaerobic digestion boom PETER HALL Farming writer Great news for anyone who (like me) is a keen supporter of anaerobic digestion... farmers can now obtain funding to develop small AD plants. Following prolonged lobbying by the NFU and other farming organisations, our snails-pace Government has finally launched a £3 million initiative to allow farmers to apply for up to £400,000 from the AD loan fund to help them finance the technology on their farms. About time too. I fervently hope this is just the start of a technology boom that our European partners – notably Germany and Austria – have been developing for years. The fund, to be administered by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), will be available to farms that have access to slurry or manure, and who wish to build AD plants producing up to 250kW of power. So plenty of scope in the West Country. It will be rolled out in two phases. Business plan development grants of up to

‘The technology will save farmers money on energy costs and boost their income’

Ivy’s Vintage Reserve, above left, is named after Ivy Clothier, main picture, who started making the cheese in the early 1900s; the Prime Minister discusses Wyke Farms’ products with sales director Ash Wilson

Transfer of leases will allow showfield to be improved Mendip District Council has agreed to transfer its leases in the Frome Showfield site to Frome Town Council, so further enhancements can be made to the site for the benefit of the local community. At a meeting of Mendip’s Cabinet last week, councillors agreed to transfer the two leases over the 20-acre site, which are on a 99-year term at a peppercorn rate and include the clause “to keep the premises as public open space for recreational purposes for the benefit of the inhabitants of Frome”. The transfer of the two

leases from Mendip District Council to Frome Town Council will need the consent of Frome and District Agricultural Society, as landlord for the site. The town council will work with Mendip’s planning team to release more than £44,000 of Section 106 money to improve the showfield, such as installing more seats and bins, and will also take on the maintenance of the site and the equipment on it. Councillor John Parham, portfolio holder for governance, assets and public spaces, said: “I’m pleased that

Mel Usher, left, and John Parham are pleased with the outcome of negotiations about the Frome Showfield site

our negotiations with Frome Town Council over the transfer of these leases has reached such a positive conclusion. By transferring responsibility for the site to Frome Town Council, Mendip is also able to save money which would have otherwise been spent on maintenance, and direct this money to those frontline services that need it most.” Councillor Mel Usher, leader of Frome Town Council, said: “The showfield is a vital open space in the town and one that local people can now have a much bigger role in looking after.”

£10,000 are available now for farmers to investigate the economic and environmental potential. Stage two, to start in the new year, will see capital loans available of up to £400,000 or a maximum of half of the project cost. The technology will save farmers money on energy costs and also boost their income if they export electricity or heat energy. They will still be entitled to government incentives for producing renewable energy. Small-scale on-farm AD plants are also most likely to deliver positive environmental outcomes, such as improved manure and nutrient management, and reduction of greenhouse gas. With any luck this latest move is an indication that the worm has turned for AD in this country, and that much larger plants are on the way in the not-too-distant future, using all sorts of waste as fuel as the technology develops. I can foresee the day when every sewage farm will have one of these. What a vastly better way of producing renewable energy, and how much more efficient and productive, than the giant wind turbines that have blighted the West Country. Why we left it to the Germans and Austrians to develop AD technology beats me. In the long term it will surely play a major role in refuelling the planet.



Major winter sport of huge value to West BY PHILIP BOWERN Now we are well into October, pheasant shooting – the most significant game shooting sport undertaken here in the West Country – is under way. The outward signs and its economic benefits are well documented and well known. Country publicans who can serve up steak and kidney pie for 20 or more will be rubbing their hands, if there is a shoot nearby. Country hotels are welcoming shooting guests from all over the country, most of them big spenders. Even members of small syndicates have been buying cartridges, updating their shoot wardrobe and having guns serviced and repaired at local gun shops,

£30.17 Cost on average per bird plus VAT of commercial pheasant shooting ready for the first big day of the season. For gun shop owner John Rogers, of the Ivybridge Gun Room, 2013-14 is shaping up to be a very good season. “It is looking very promising,” he said. “I am quietly confident. The pheasants have had a good year, the cover crops have had a good year and it will hopefully be a cracking season.” For gamekeeper Neil Rogers, who looks after Michael Hockin’s Brownstone Manor Shoot, near Holbeton, in Devon’s South Hams, the weather plays a big part in his work. When the summer is wet, as it was in 2012, every job on the land is a challenge. He said: “Gamekeeping is a year-round business – it is not only about rearing the poults

and keeping vermin under control. There is maintaining the woodland, the access tracks, the ponds and the streams – it never really stops.” The value of game shooting to the West Country economy will be reassessed in the next year or so as the British Association of Shooting and Conservation, the Countryside Alliance and other rural organisations commission a new report to update the last such study in 2006. The last survey into the value of shooting sports to the West Country put it at £280 million a year. Two million hectares of South West land are managed for shooting and – across Britain – 70,000 jobs are supported by the sport. Nationally, shooting was reckoned, seven years ago, to pump £1.6 billion a year into the UK economy. In the intervening years that figure is expected to have risen significantly. At the very top end you need a good deal more than £50,000 a year to indulge your sporting passion. Commercial pheasant shooting costs on average £30.17 per bird plus VAT. On a big day, say 400 birds, which would be normal for many of the prestige Devon shoots, that equates to a day’s sport for £12,068. Divide it between eight friends and it is still £1,500 before VAT. At the other end of the scale, however, a small shooting syndicate member might pay shell out less than £500 for the year to help pay for pheasant poults, feed and rent to the farmer, with a few hundred more for his petrol and his cartridges. But whether it is a walk around the hedges on the farm with a dog and a couple of mates or standing on a peg in a deep valley waiting for fastest pheasants to zoom over, it is the major country sport through the West Country winter.

Fire-hit cattle market set to reopen quickly A livestock market in Devon will be back to “business as usual” by the end of the week despite a fire which destroyed part of the building. More than 30 firefighters tackled the blaze at Hatherleigh Cattle Market which broke out early on Monday mor ning. Police are investigating the cause of the fire, which tore through a single-office and holding pens and was finally put out at just after 5.40am. The owners, Vicks, confirmed that asbestos contained in the building would be stripped out in accordance with safety rules. But despite the fire, less than 10 per cent of a block of singlestorey offices was severely damaged as well as a sheep holding pen. Simon Whattler, of the National Farmers’ Union, who visited the site on Monday, said the blaze had been confined to

‘It should be business as usual by the end of the week’ Simon Whattler

Students have been able to the harvest the annual maize crop at Wiltshire College Lackham in a fraction of the time thanks to a unique relationship with an agricultural machinery dealer. Level 3 Farm Mechanisation students at Lackham harvested all 70 hectares, approximately 172 acres, in five days after being given the rare opportunity to use the Krone Big X 1100 forage harvester – a state-of the art piece of machinery which can plough 14 rows at a time. The college’s unique relationship with former student Simon Barnes, who now owns Barnes Agricultural Services in Dauntsey, Chippenham, provided the students with this chance for their main project of the year

Plump ewe gets stick in pew during special service of blessing A vicar was left with the rather unusual job of freeing a trapped sheep – from one of his church pews. The plump ewe got stuck during a special service at St James’s Church in Kilkhampton, Cornwall. Two ewes, Milly and Lizzy, were among the animals and 50 people who attended the Blessing Of All Your Pets’ service on Sunday. One of the ewes, rather woolly and overweight, became stuck in a narrow pew and a bit of divine strength was needed to dislodge her. “She wouldn’t go backwards

and she wouldn’t go forwards,” said the vicar, the Rev Richard Ward-Smith. “In the end we just yanked her out.” All were welcome, furry, feathered or finned. The church carpet was rolled up to avoid embarrassing droppings and a lady stood by with a giant poop scoop. The procession of village children, parents and animals – everything from dogs, rabbits and kittens, a pony called Sixpence and the two sheep – made their way into church for the ceremony. The service included three hymns played by organist

Adults and children arriving for the Blessing Of All Your Pets’ service with a variety of pets including cats, dogs, sheep and a pony

Audrey Bennett – All Things Bright And Beautiful, Who Put The Colours In The Rainbow? and Morning Has Broken – and the vicar read a story. Each pet was individually named and blessed by Mr Ward-Smith, who said that the bond between a person and an animal pet is like no other relationship. “Animals teach us how to be good pet parents. We learn the skills and the abilities to look after and care for our pets and to feed them properly and well, and so bring the wisdom of the animal kingdom into our homes,” he said.

offices and a holding area and should have little effect. “Looking at the damage I think they will be able to use the majority of the pens, and by Thursday they will be up and running,” he added. “It should be business as usual by the end of the week.” Three fire crews from Okehampton and Hatherleigh were sent to the scene after the fire service received several calls reporting cattle sheds in Lairage Field on fire shortly after 3.35am. West Devon Borough Council said: “The council’s environmental health team liaised with the fire service following the discovery of asbestos during the incident but did not need to visit the site. “The council has been informed that the owner of the market has arranged for the asbestos to be cleared up and disposed of in line with regulations,” the spokesman added.

Schoolboy top shepherd again A Devon schoolboy has been crowned as the best young shepherd in the country for a second consecutive year. Jack Aldridge, who lives on Exmoor, took part in the prestigious Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s competition, held at the Newbury Show, and walked off with both the junior and overall championship titles. Having qualified to compete at an earlier show, Jack had to impress the judge with his knowledge and handling of his Oxford Down ram Trevor in his age group of eight to 12 years, before going head-tohead with the winner of the 1316 years group.



Chris Rundle You can buy two, bin one At last! A gentle zephyr, if not yet a full-blown gale of common sense is wafting through the supermarket sector with news that Tesco is to end multi-buy promotions on large bags of salad. And why? Because research has shown that two-thirds of produce grown for them ends up being wasted, half of it by customers who have discovered, after being inveigled into a buy one get one free offer, that they didn’t actually need as much as they lugged home. It is, you see, one thing to snap up a BOGOF on floor cleaner, or tins of beans. But it has always seemed a nonsense to apply the marketing tool to fresh food, especially of the kind that cannot be frozen. Of course Tesco’s announcement is all wrapped up is some pious-sounding PR about helping families reduce the average £700 annual bill for food that has to be thrown away because it’s gone bad, while slashing its own annual 28,500-tonne mountain of unsold produce which has to be dumped for the same reason. Not a word, however, of remorse for having created the problem in the first place by relentlessly conditioning shoppers to buy enormous quantities of food they didn’t need.

Breton farmers on the brink It’s not just up north that things are looking grim: spare a thought for the producers in Brittany, now being comprehensively put through the mill. The region is home to 60 per cent of France’s pigs, 45 per cent of its poultry and 30 per cent of its dairy farms and while only a couple of decades ago that would have spelled considerable wealth, today the picture has turned to one of woe. With a lot of the under-thecounter state financial support it has traditionally enjoyed now draining away under the pressure of austerity measures the farming and food sector is finally going through the same upheaval that affected ours a few years ago. Meat processing plants are closing – one company has just announced the loss of 900 jobs – partly because of competition from cheap pork imports from Germany and Eastern Europe, which far mers’ vigorous demonstrations have done nothing to abate. Market prices for poultry have fallen and egg producers are suffering from the same deluge of imports as is hitting their British counterparts.

contemptuous and willful swipe against science”, while Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is personally singled out for “gerrymandering with badger populations in Somerset”. What, precisely, this is supposed to mean I am not clear. Perchance it refers to Owen’s famous reference to badgers ‘moving the goalposts’ by not observing the rules of the game and refusing to form an orderly queue to be shot. On the other hand gerrymandering is defined as “manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency so as to favour one party or class” so I cannot quite see how it applies to anything concerning badgers, generally regarded as a hierarchical though classless and apolitical society. Desperate to blame someone for something the pro-badger movement has now seized on the fact that official surveys have revealed badger numbers are actually lower than suspected in some of the culling areas as evidence that farmers have been illegally shooting them anyway. Though since the cull was originally postponed because another survey purportedly revealed twice as many badgers inhabited the zones as previously thought this merely reveals how difficult it is to count badgers accurately. The outpouring of bile and the blackening of the names of everyone associated with the cull will continue until the work is done. But I should be obliged if those operating the publicity machine would stop trying to use big words they don’t understand, such as “gerrymandering” and resort to plain English so we can all understand what they are saying. Not that most people care anyway.

And all this in a region where farming and food employs a third of the workforce. No wonder government ministers went galloping out to Brittany’s bedside for crisis talks last week and hastily cobbled together a 15 million euro package of emergency aid: president Francois Hollande was, after all, clearly the Breton voters’ preferred candidate in the general election, some six percentage points ahead of rival Nicholas Sarkozy and is desperate to achieve similar levels of support next time round. However farmers have been quick to point out that 15 million euro sop will soon be dwarfed by the extra costs of Hollande’s new eco-tax, due to come into effect from January 1. Ostensibly a green duty increase on diesel aimed at cutting pollution levels caused by particulates it is in fact nothing more than another money-raising scam by a government which is already being accused of bleeding French taxpayers white and sparking an even greater middle class exodus from the country. The effect of this none-toosubtly disguised measure, therefore, will be simply to put up the cost of transporting 60 per cent of France’s pork, 45 per cent of its chicken and 30 per cent of its dairy produce, from the remote north-west, making it even less competitive against imports. Stiff consumer resistance is likely to be encountered to any attempt to recoup those extra costs on the shelf leaving processors and farmers (already operating in many cases well below the break-even line) to absorb them with the inevitable acceleration in job losses and company closures. Back in July, I reported on a massive four-day festival centred on Morlaix to celebrate the year-round harvest from land and sea in this region and noted then a degree of quiet desperation and a lot of talking-up of the prospects through gritted teeth. With winter setting in the picture is considerably bleaker and the imposition of the eco-tax in January could well turn out to be the proverbial spark landing in a box of fireworks.

Children are losing the link

You should say what you mean More frothing-at-the-mouth bile from the Badgerites who claim everyone from the PM to Defra and indeed the NFU are now “wallowing in confusion” over the cull. “Every day,” shrieks a website, “brings more news of muddle in their misguided methods.” The extension of the cull period is “another

Chris Rundle is pleased to hear that the Buy One Get One Free culture is finally disappearing from the salad aisle at Tesco – he would like to see BOGOF promotions to be removed from all fresh food. The supermarket says it is helping families reduce the average £700 annual bill for food that has to be thrown away because it’s gone bad

A new study from the RSPB suggests that large numbers of children in Britain are missing out on the natural world. Hardly surprising really since the natural world can hardly offer levels of excitement to match those of video games. And it can be wet and cold. Anyway mobile phones, without which many kids cannot function at all as sentient human beings, often stop working in the countryside and most of them would find that as debilitating as having two broken legs. There are some anomalies in the findings, such as the fact that urban children, particularly in London, had a slightly higher level of connection with the countryside than those living in rural areas – where they take it for granted.



Farmers’ bulletin board Market reports FROME Wednesday, October 16 SUCKLERS (59) Cows & Calves to £1780 In-calf Heifers to £1050 In-calf Cows to £1060. Our first Autumn breeding Suckler Cow and Calf sale included two small herd dispersals which attracted great interest. A tremendous run of home bred Angus in-calf and bulling heifers from John Robins produced excellent prices. His in-calf heifers sold in excess of £1000 on six occasions. Bulling heifers were of the highest quality with superb home bred Angus topping at £840. Continental cows and calves from Malcolm Doble, Portesham, were outstanding and a full ringside of potential buyers wanted these best types. His in-calf cows due to a Pedigree Limousin saw blistering prices with many over £900 and five times over £1000 to a peak of £1060. Simmental and Charolais cows with Limousin calves (5-7mo) at foot saw the strongest prices ever seen at a Frome suckler sale. Many outfits sold over £1600 with the best Simmental cow with twin Limousin heifers calves at foot topping at £1780. Charolais cows with Limousin calves at foot were three times to £1800. Breeding bulls were all keenly sought with a Limousin (4yo) easily producing a price of £1740. Other pedigree Limousin and Angus bulls all went to local clients at £1410 and £1360. A further Autumn breeding sale will be held in due course. Potential vendors please contact the market office or Trevor Rowland. BEEF CATTLE (112) 69 Under Thirty Month Fat Cattle: 43 Over Thirty Month Fat Cattle. A larger entry but of very mixed quality met a variable trade. Smart well finished FABBL registered cattle in strong demand. The lesser grades and non assured more difficult to sell. UTM Steers (44). The few smart quality Continental x steers met a good trade to 209p/kg from RE & AM Hicks with others in demand from 200p/kg. Herefords still wanted and sold to 196.5p/kg from MJ & J Berry. Angus to 192.5p/kg from the same home with sire names needed for both breeds. Friesian steers to 163.5p/kg from AG & TW Randall. UTM Bulls (2). Smart young bulls to 236p/kg and £1328 for a blue from MD & KE Lanfear. UTM Heifers (23). A cracking Blue heifer from the MD & KE Lanfear topped the day at 229.5p/ kg. Limousins from RE & AM Hicks not far behind at 223.5p/kg. Many more top grade sorts would easily have sold to advantage. Good finished Continental x heifers met a strong trade to 199p/kg from JC Stainer with others from 190p/kg. Overfat and non FABBL heifers were discounted. Herefords to 193.5p/kg from J Smart. Again would vendors please give full sire details of all Angus and Hereford cattle if known. Overage Beef (43). Another good entry met a firm trade with all grades in demand and the few better types at a premium. Blue Steers to 187p/kg from Lane End Farms. Hereford steers to 185.5p/kg and 183.5p/kg from G & DM Adams. Angus steers to 182.5p/kg and Friesian steers to 175p/ kg both from ER Baber. Angus heifers to 177p/kg from RE & VA Pocock. Friesian heifers to 154.5p/kg from DO Webb. BARREN COWS & BULLS (155) More cows on offer met a similar trade to recent weeks. An acute shortage of quality meat sorts which were again in strong demand and wanted. The many plain and poor percentage cows were generally a little easier as supply exceeds demand. Dairy Cows (122) The few very best heavy Friesian meat cows sold well from 120p/kg topping at 143.5p/kg from Parsonage Farms Ltd and £1039 from DO Webb. Others to £1030 from AW Framptons Ltd and £1028 from J & SM Rowland. A further 6 cows selling over £900. Good manufacturing and steakers scarce and wanted from 110p/kg. The plainer cows from 80p/kg with the very plain from 55p/kg. Beef Cows (26) The best young meat cows sold very well and were dear. A Blue topped the day at 163.5p/kg from DJ Cheacker. Other good meat cows with no waste also met a good trade. Devons to 136p/kg from Highgrove Farm. Charolais x to 144.5p/kg from Trays Farm. Simmentals to 138.5p/kg from RF & A Cox. Limousins to 133.5p/kg from GJ Straker. Blonde x to 137.5p/kg from the same home. Angus to 125p/kg from MF

Green. Shorthorns to 125.5p/kg from RE Kingman. All other grades variable with the overfat and poor percentage cows less money. Bulls (7) A good entry met a firm trade. Blues to 142p/kg from MD & KE Lanfear. Longhorns to 142.5p/kg from N Read. Angus to 126p/ kg from MF Green. Herefords to 123p/ kg from M & J Crossman Ltd. SHEEP (959) Prime Lambs (625) SQQ 173.77p/kg Max 191p/kg £84.50/head A larger entry sold to a stronger trade from start to finish. The best lambs were in flying demand with shapely Rougé lambs to 191p/kg from Edward Tabor whose 27 handy weights averaged 179p/kg. A pen of 18 quality Charollais x lambs from SC Eavis averaged 177p/kg. 73 smart lambs from RW Margham, Isle of Wight averaged 174p/kg. Many other super consignments forward from Whitbourne Farms, AA RH EJ White, Sam Stables, J & E Nuttall and Marshall & Willis, Isle of Wight. Heavy lambs again wanted with several pens trading well in excess of £80 but generally at slightly lower levels. Cull Ewes & Rams (205) Average £46.85 Another good sized entry sold again to a competitive trade with more buyers present. The better bred fleshed ewes trading to £70.50 from RW Margham, Isle of Wight. Smaller half meat ewes to £64 from Cokers Frome Farm Ltd. Again a huge proportion of the entry consisted of generally plainer Mules and those with frame and grazing potential trading to £50. Store Lambs (129) Max £75/head Average £53.52 A fierce trade for all store lambs forward with smart Rougé x lambs to £75 from Edward Tabor. Other stronger Jacob x lambs to £69 from LJ & SE Kellaway. Medium Charollais x lambs to £68 from Tim Akers. Smaller lambs also a competitive trade and easily from £40. Next Wednesday Sale of Breeding Ewes & Rams. To include: 11 Poll Dorset 2t Ewes, 2 Poll Dorset 2t Rams from Prize winning flock. 11 Welsh Black ewes(24mo). 10 Berichon x 2t ewes. DAIRY (21) Calved Heifers to £1620 Calved Cows £1850 In-calf Heifers to £1280 Much harder work in the dairy department today with buyers extremely selective and few cattle over £1600. Well presented calved Holstein heifers from Messrs Fox, Simon Cheacker and AF Leighton from £1500 to £1620. Brown Swiss x calved heifer to £1380. Calved cows seeing the best of the prices today and more could have been sold. Nice types from AF Leighton produced competitive bidding with 2nd lactation Holstein cows at £1850 and £1820. In-calf British Friesian heifers produced a firm trade to £1280. CALVES (295) NON EXPORT CALVES A similar entry to last week although the overall quality was less with a higher number of moderate calves. Plenty of buyers produced another strong trade throughout. Continental Bulls Too few of the best to meet the particularly strong demand. A large entry of Blues with the best to £432 and £420 from DR & BA Boyte. Limousins to £386 from MS Shears and £362 from BWR Hasell & Son. Simmentals to £350 from H Bishop & Son and £345 from PC Coward. Continental Heifers The best again in strong demand with Blues to £345 from Parsonage Farms Ltd. Insufficient numbers generally with Simmentals to £252 from FJ & GT Hannam & Sons and £248 from H Bishop & Son. Limousins to £230 three times from GV Sparkes & Sons, AJ Harding and AR Attrill, Isle of Wight. British A large but mixed entry with trade remaining very fast particularly for named sired calves irrespective of quality. Angus bulls to £300 from WL Baxandall, Isle of Wight and £296 from SH Harris & Son. Angus heifers to £234 twice from R & R Collis closely followed at £220 from both P & M House Ltd and I Bullus. Hereford bulls to £328 from FJ & GT Hannam & Sons and £318 from AJ Harding. Friesians A large increase in numbers but predominantly 3rd and 4th quality. The rearing trade for the better types still remains strong. Best British to £186 from WJ Weeks & Son and £165 from PJ Davis & Sons. Best Holsteins to £180 from RG Curtis and £148 from CV Salmon. Trade for the many killing and poor types was generally easier. Friday, October 18 STORE CATTLE (1239) Steers to £1705 & Heifers to £1150. Suck-

ler Cows & Calves As expected following our Suckler Cow sale on Wednesday entries were restricted for this market. Those forward sold well but no real strong types were available. Best Sussex x Cow with Steer calf at foot to £1000. Feeding Bulls Only a limited number forward but all found a home with Herefords to £460 and Angus to £440. Young Continentals This market saw a number of our annual consignments of single suckled cattle coming through. The ringside was absolutely jammed full of bidders and buyers. First through the ring was 230 top grade Limousin steers and heifers (78mo) from Richard, Jeremy, and Simon Cottle. Trade was electric with the steers selling in excess of £800 on no less than 70 occasions. The best runs were regularly over £840 per head. Heifers were particularly sought and close to 50 head topped £700. Next through the ring was 70 Limousins from NB Needham and Son. Their steers (5-6mo) topped £800 on a regular basis with one show type steer (9mo) at £922. Their strongest heifer saw keen bidding to £682. John Everett’s outstanding run of Charolais (7-8mo) saw quite wonderful bidding from start to finish. These best types produced some of the highest prices seen in recent times with steers often over £900. Heifers easily sold over £650 and peaked at £678. A truly wonderful run of cattle in this section and all who supported the sale were well rewarded for their efforts. Show potential cattle from Nigel and Sheila Greenman were wanted and saw British Blue steers (8mo) to £840 and heifers £795. Forward Continental Steers: Stunning cattle selling to a stunning trade with another record broken. Blue steers were a highlight of the year with the best dairy bred from £1585 to £1705 from Claude and Janette Eavis. Their Simmentals also met a tremendous trade from £1400 to £1505. Quality suckler bred forward Limousins also met outstanding demand from £1400 to £1545 from Nancy Rae Smith. Several other good consignments sold well with steers from PE Loudoun to £1210. Charolais to £1268 from A Goddard. Heifers: Charolais were a highlight with forward types from £1105 from Derek and Graham Stevens, £1135 from SB & MJ Searle to £1150 from A Goddard. Simmental heifers wanted from £1035 to £1040 from E & S Bodman. Limousins from Paul Hurd to £1090. Many more forward types are wanted for the remainder of the year. Hereford (137) Quality wanted with a strong premium for Named Sired and Farm Assured. A larger entry of steers with yearlings breaking £500 to £635 from HME Gulliford. Medium feeders met keen interest from £705 to £780. Fleshed sucklers from £802 to £805. Framed steers wanted from £940 to £955. The best over £1000 to £1060 from Arthur Ridout, £1120 from AE Perry Partnership to top at £1190 from Poplar Farm Partners. Only a few heifers on offer with 3-5 month old types to £400 from A Bond. Yearlings generally from £465 to £522. Medium heifers with bulling potential from £550 to £660 from D & P Yeatman. Bullers wanted from £820 from Robert Gulliford to £840 from Michael Bendall. Forward fleshed heifers from £905 from Alexi Bees to top at £1075 from Michael Bendall. Angus (182) Generally fewer younger Angus this week and quite a variation in top types presented. Buyers were selective for the Dairy x steers & heifers according for quality. Younger Steers mainly £500 to £600. Grand single suckled steers from J Colclough topped the section at £810. Heifers (8-12mo) out of beef dams were generally £450 to £550 with the best to £565. Older Angus were more scarce than recent weeks and all were wanted. Most of the stronger steers saw prices in excess of £1000 with £1170 from Potticks Pigs and £1175 from MJ Blow Isle of Wight. Top spot to Steve Stamp with his wonderful types to £1250. Well fleshed heifers also scarce with better sorts over £850 and best meat heifers from SB & MJ Searle easily to £920. Friesians (118) Friesian steers still selling to a selective trade with buyers needing to see potential. Steers showing good condition met a premium whilst Holstein leaner feeders were at a discount. Yearling generally from £308 to £382. Medium framed feeders from £420 to £540. Fleshed medium types from £570 to £600 from Phil Samways. Framed Friesians wanted from £660 to £700 from Brian Ewins, £710 from MJ Bendall and £720 from D & P Yeatman. Forward types from £795 from CJ & BJ Harrison to £890 from AG & RV Rossiter. The best types to £1070 for real British from RH Groves & Sons.

New calves, pictured at about a day old, born to Henry Rawlins’ dairy herd at Ablington Farm, Wiltshire SEDGEMOOR Tuesday, October 15 130 BARREN COWS, BULLS, OTM & UFM PRIME A short entry for the time of year of 130 cull cattle met a dearer trade across the board and averaged 7ppk more than a leading Monday Northern market. On the average weight sold, that is £44.46 per cow, so most pleasing. Top was 155.5ppk for an Angus cow from Mr TJ Brice. Other Angus cows 155ppk, Messrs JC & TG Merchant and 146.5ppk, Mr THJ Denbee. Better fleshed cows 140ppk plus. Lean and shapely or fleshed but lacking shape 130ppk plus. Sucklers sold to £1106.08 for an Angus from Mr THJ Denbee. Continentals to £1072.76 for a Limousin from Mr MJ & Mrs JA Pidsley. Black and Whites sold to 146.5ppk for a smart BF from Messrs SR & L Hutchings. Better types at 137ppk (BF) Messrs A & R Hembrow; 133ppk and 130.5ppk (BF) Messrs DG & SA Cullen; 131.5ppk (BF) Ireosa Ltd; 131.5ppk (HF) Messrs MJ & DA Johnson. Several meat cows 120ppk plus. Steakers 115ppk. Plain 100ppk plus. Very plain at lower levels. Black and Whites sold to £1041.20 (BF) Messrs A & R Hembrow. Others over £1000 at £1018.18 (BF) Messrs SR & L Hutchings; £1008.90 (HF) Messrs PT Bale & Sons and £1002.30 (HF) Messrs RW, JA & AW Barton. All cows averaged £671.97, up £36 on the week. Bulls sold to £1213.08 for a Blue from Mr JA Naish. OTM/ USM heifers to 161.5ppk for a good BF heifer from Mr GG Dyer and £1046.64 for a HF from Messrs MJ Frampton & Sons. 341 PRIME LAMBS & HOGGS A smaller entry of 255 lambs but trade remained strong for all presented and at similar levels to Monday’s flyer. The best were again keenly contested and sold to 189ppk and 181ppk from Mr M Burke and 185ppk and 182ppk from Messrs VJ & MJ Headon. Heavier lambs sold to £87 from Messrs HM Thomas & Son; £83 from Mr B Davis; £92 from Messrs VJ & MJ Headon and £80.50 from Mr S Conio and Mr B

Lester. Overall Average £73.25. 86 CULL EWES & RAMS Fewer Cull Ewes and Rams forward at 86 head sold to a much stronger trade, particularly for the medium and plain types. The best sold to £96.50 and £88.50 from Messrs VJ & MJ Headon, £93.50 from Messrs HK Hebditch & Son and £89.50 from Mr AR Henson. Overall Average £61.02. Rams sold to £88.00 from Messrs J & H Phillips. Saturday, October 19 101 DAIRY CATTLE Another large weekly entry of over 100 Dairy Cows and Heifers saw probably the most difficult trade of the year. Only 2 cows forward at a time when purchasers are looking for strong heavy milking types. As a result smaller medium to small heifers were very difficult to place despite buyers from Cornwall, Derbyshire and Shropshire. Still some fire fortunately for the stronger types to £2000 for a pedigree Dutch heifer from Witcombe Farm Partners giving 34kgs daily. Others to £2000 for Geoff Morgan of Tewkesbury. Others to £1980, £1940 and £1900 for Messrs FG Summerhayes & Son; £1960 Mr R Webb; £1940 Andy Neill Services and £1910 Mr R Willcox. Brown Swiss cross heifer £1520 Derek Tottle. The calf trade also off the boil. £195 Mr R Webb also £180 (x2) David Searle. Dairy Shorthorn bull 5 year old £800 Messrs BS & SG Kingston. 699 STORE CATTLE & GRAZING COWS A good entry of 699 strong Stores, still light for the time of year as the dry weather continues for the moment, which met a tremendous trade for the best and good younger types. 1030 were penned with the Stirks and Sucklers and again additional faces returned to ringside for the Autumn. Top was £1505 for an outstanding 25m and FA, three quarter meat Blue steer from Messrs KD & MA Morgan, Wiveliscombe, who sold another similar (24m) at £1430 and feeding steers at £1410 (21m) £1255 (23m) £1230 (23m) and £1140 (23m). An-

other superb run of FA Blue steers, this time from Mr J Keedwell, Chew Stoke, which peaked at £1400 for well fleshed over 30 month types. Other feeding Blue steers from the same farm £1295 (overage) £1170 (28m) £1150 (x8) (26/ 27m) and £1135 (x8) (26/28m). Other best Blue steers at £1390 (24m) Mr BC Knapp, Pilning. Blue feeders £1170 (24/ 25m & FA) Messrs GJ & HR Browse, Butterleigh, who sold another overage at £1095. Limousin steers in great demand to £1330 for a 23m black from Mr BC Knapp again, who sold others (27m) at £1325 and 28m at £1175. Others £1140 (17/18m & FA) Messrs M & JM Drew, Pilning; £1125 (24/27m & FA) Messrs GJ & HR Browse again; £1110 (39m & FA) Messrs TW & MB Symes, Evershot and £1100 (U-1 red 28m & FA) Messrs EA & ER Jones, Carmarthen. Strong Charolais steers in short supply to £1315 for a lean 20m type from Mr JG Warfield, Limington. Others £1265 (U-1 29m) Mr J Wakely, Chard; £1255 (19m & FA) Messrs EW & CJ Gubb, Brayford; £1205 (overage & FA) Messrs GJ & HR Browse again, who sold others 25/26m at £1170. Simmental steers rose to £1185 (overage & FA) Messrs GJ & HR Browse again. Others £1175 (25m) Mr NC Witcombe, Merriott; £1150 (25/27m & FA) Mr J Keedwell again and £1125 (25/27m & FA) Messrs GJ & HR Browse again. NATIVE STEERS wanted, particularly with pedigree registered sire details. Angus topped at £1275, with others from the same farm at £1255 (all overage & FA, Lorabar Mighty Prince) from Messrs TW & MB Symes, Evershot. Others £1150 (23m) from Mr NC Witcombe, Merriott; £1100 (25/28m & FA) Mr J Keedwell, Chew Stoke. Hereford steers to £1130 (28m & FA) Messrs KH & BA Male. BLACK and WHITES selective to £850 for 22/27m and FA HF from Messrs DJ & J Keedwell, Winford. Others £825 for half meat warm HF (24m & FA) from Mr N Herrod, Hawkchurch. Some excellent heifers on offer to £1315 for a fit 21m Blue (FA) from Master Robert Morgan, Wiveliscombe. Messrs KD & MA Morgan also sold Blue heifers to continue their excellent run at £1235 (23m & fit) £1195 (25m) £1165 (24m) £1145 (18/19m) £1130 (21/22m) £1075 (20m) and £1055 (21/



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Rural life is well covered in the Western Daily Press, with forthright farming opinions from Ian Liddell-Grainger and Derek Mead, and a round-up of news from the dressage arenas and cross-country courses across the South West – every Saturday

£340 (2 weeks). Limousins to £298 from Mr DW Rowe. Others to £282 and £275 from Messrs AP & REA Retter. Charolais heifers from Steve Turner topped at £288. Others £280 (x2). Top heifers £250 plus, mediums around £200 and smaller types £150- £180. Native breeds topped with a 16 week old Aberdeen Angus from Dallyns Dairy Ltd at £420. Others from the same vendor £360 and £348. Younger Aberdeen Angus calves to £322 from Messrs H & M Lee & Sons. Herefords to £315 from Messrs AA Hook & Sons. Others to £310 and £300 from Mr BD Elworthy. Native heifers to £250 and £236 for Herefords from Messrs AH Hook & Sons. Angus to £230 from Dallyns Dairy Ltd. Others £210. (184) Friesians – not able to be exported from market. Similar trade when good quality calves sold to £255 from Messrs AJ Bennett & Sons for a 16 week Holstein Friesian. Others £180 (16 weeks). Younger calves £140 (3 weeks) from Messrs FG, C & E Tucker. Best £80-£120, mediums £40-£70 and plainer types more difficult. Montbeliardes to £170 from Foxcombe Farm. Fleckvieh to £250 (3 weeks) from Messrs BK & GE Hockey.

PICTURE: DAVID HARGRAVE, DURRINGTON 23m). Other Blue heifers £1100 (21/22m) Mr PJ Heal, Banwell and £1100 again (26m) Mr TR House, West Pennard. A good Limousin (29m) from Mr BC Knapp achieved £1205, who sold others overage at £1115 and £1130 and one 29m at £1000. Charolais heifers sold to £1120 for a very shapely (U+) and lean (1) 20m type from Mr JG Warfield, Limington. NATIVE HEIFERS topped at £1085 for fit 24m Herefords from Mr EM Burridge, West Buckland. Angus heifers £1035 (28m, FA & fit) Messrs KH & BA Male, Fivehead. £1025 (27m & FA) Messrs DJ & J Keedwell again and £1000 (25m & FA) Messrs JK & MJ Diment, Corscombe. Young stores with shape and or growth wanted. £1175 was bid for an 18m Limousin steer from Mr JC Bendle, Clayhidon, who sold others 14m at £1080 and 16m at £985 twice. Other Limousin steers 18m and FA £1078 and £1075, Messrs M & JM Drew again. 16m Charolais steers £1068, Messrs MD & NS Hibberd, Wincanton; £1055 17/18m Limousin steers (U-1) Mr R Wall, West Huntspill, who also sold the steer of the day, being an 11m red Limousin at £995. Mornacott Farm 18m Blue steers at £1050 and £1025. Young heifers rose to £985 for 16/18m Limousins from Mr JC Bendle again, who sold others similar at £875. One or two older cattle with no farm assurance, which would have benefitted from being so by around £50 per head. 2 SUCKLER COWS, CALVES & STOCK BULLS Small entry when a Charolais cow (04.06) (might be in calf) sold to £580 from Mr C George. 331 STIRKS & BUSK CALVES An excellent entry in terms of quantity and quality sold to a stronger trade. Wonderful to see so many quality types forward which met strong competition from the large company of buyers. Top price of £925 (8m) for Limousin steers from Messrs S & N Farming who also sold others at £870 (6m) £800 (8m) £790 (8/9m) £760 (8m) and £705 (8m). An excellent entry. Other Limousins at £800 (10m) from Mr R Takle; £750 (9 & 12m) from Messrs WA Wil-

liams & Son; £735 (10/11m) from Mr WJ Dicks; £700 (14m) from Mr DH Capel; £700 (12m) from Messrs Tratt and £680 (10/12m) from Messrs E & IW Studley. Charolais to £900 (13m) from Mr JD Meyrick, when others sold at £820 (13m) from Miss S Carter and from Mr A Roberts at £780 (12m) who also sold others at £675 (12m). Others at £705 (9m) from Bittadon Farms Ltd. Simmentals to £695 (7m) from Messrs JD & LL Bartlett. Herefords to £670 (13m) from Miss S Carter. A good entry of bulls rose to £720 (11m) for a Limousin from Mr B Gready, who also sold other Limousins at £655 (8m) and £610 (6m). The same Vendor also sold Blue bulls to £665 (11m) and £655 (10m). The heifer section was also topped by a superb Limousin heifer from Messrs S & N Farming which sold for £840 (9m). They also sold others at £655 (7/8m) £640 (6m) and £630 (7/9m). Congratulations on such a quality entry. Other Limousins at £645 (9m) from Messrs KJ & SM Brewer; £615 (7m) from Messrs WA Williams & Son; £605 (9/10m) from Mr R Takle. Charolais to £730 (14m) from Mr DM Ruell, who also sold others at £620 (10/14m). Others at £720 and £660 (12/13m) from Mr A Roberts and £625 from Messrs BC & PK Matthews. British Blues to £650 (10m) from Cole Farming Ltd and £635 (5m) from Mr JA Naish. Blondes to £630 (6/11m) from Mr RJ Marks. Simmentals to £580 from Messrs Tratt. 484 NON-EXPORT CALVES (300) Beef Breeds – not able to be exported from market. A good entry of 300 beef Calves met a good ring of purchasers. The trade topped at £465 (x2) firstly for an 8 week Limousin bull from Mr NF George and then a month old Blue bull from Mr R Angell. Others to £458 from Mr NF George and £442 from Mr E Davis. Simmental bulls sold to £450 from Mr RF Cox. Charolais topped at £412 from Messrs SM & DM Turner. Others £390 and £388. Top bulls £300 plus, mediums £240 - £280 and smaller bulls £180 plus. The top priced heifer was also from Mr R Angell, being a four week Blue at £395. Other Blues £348 from Messrs MB & CJN Ayre. Simmentals from Mr DG Ham sold to

3991 SHEEP Store Lambs (2745). An even larger entry sold to an even dearer trade for all presented. The strongest sold to £88.50 from Mr J Harding. Others £85 from Mr C Peach; £81 from Mr RM Taylor; £80 from Mr F Cox; £76 from Mr M Palmer; £75.50 from Mr RC Brasier; £74 from Mr CA Churchill and Miss ME Bryant and £73 from Mr R Chaddock. Mediums ranged £55-£70. Small nearly all £29 plus. Overall average £60.29. Grazing Ewes & Rams (1007). Another entry of over 1000 head sold to a very strong trade for the medium and plain ewes but generally easier for the strongest types. The best still to £99.50 from Messrs AV & SC Stanbury. Others £97 from Mr J Harding; £90 from Mr C Bownes and £89 from Mr R Snell and Messrs RT & HD Kingdon; £87.50 from Mr T Bussell and £87 from Mr GW King. Mediums ranged £50-£80. Plain £40-£50. Boners £17 plus. Overall average £51.39. Breeding Ewes (179). Less forward at 179 Breeding Ewes sold to a generally easier trade but quality was lacking compared to last week. Suffolk Mules to £108 and £106 (x2) from Messrs NF Clothier & Sons. Others to £98 and £97 from Mr N Tabrett. Texel cross to £96 from Messrs Clothier again. Stock Rams (60). Another good entry of 60 Stock Rams sold to steady trade. Top call was £320 and £300 for 2T Blue Faced Leicesters from Mr A England. Charollais to £290 (x2) for 2T’s Messrs RJ & LA Mitchell & Voke. Suffolks to £250 and £225 from Mr T Woollacott. 317 PIGS Store Pigs (130). More stores than of late but a shortage of quality with many more plainer stale pigs. Best 11 w/o stores to £52 from David Hutchings. Smaller Saddleback to £28. Fat Pigs (137). Regular number and again plenty of quality pens. Lights to £109, mediums to £146 and £142, when no heavies were forward. Best types again from Mr C Chilcott, Messrs LE Miller & Son, Messrs P & T Reakes, Mr T Stockwell, Mr R Turner, Mr H Attwell, Mr D Hutchings, Mr A Stanbury and Mr K Groves. Breeders (4+8). Varied entry and only limited interest. Nice Saddleback plus 11 to £170 from Pottick Pigs. Cull Sows (18). Average entry sold to £211 from Messrs P & T Rakes. More smaller plainer types forward. Boars (6). Sold to £195 from Mr D Hicks. Monday, October 21 183 PRIME CATTLE (156) UTM & (27) OTM Prime Cattle. A larger entry and despite further falls in deadweight quotes the trade was very similar for steers and firmer for heifers. A better show of heifers but liveweight markets hold the trade from slipping further as we approach bonfire night. Steers topped at 232ppk twice for two top drawer, shapely and lean red Limousin steers from Messrs TV & E Wotton, who also sold a good Charolais at 218ppk. Other best steers 228ppk, Gelbvieh and 219ppk, red Limousin, Messrs J & S Vinnicombe & Son; 227ppk, Blonde, Messrs Stuart Ford & Co and at 223.5ppk, a Blue steer from Mr MT Westaway. Better steers 205 to 214ppk. Good steers around 200ppk or a touch more. Commercial types mid 190’s. STEERS sold to £1,634.38 for a grand 782kg Charolais from Mr RG Speed. £1,605.44 was also bid for one of


the Limousin steers from Messrs TV & E Wotton. HEIFERS topped the day at 233ppk for a superb Blonde from Messrs MJ & C Plowright, who sold others at 225.5, 219 and 215.5ppk. Other best 230.5ppk, Limousin, Messrs MJ Tuckett & Partners; 229.5ppk, Limousin, Messrs P & J Ley; 221ppk, barley Blue, Mr SER Hunt; 220.5ppk, Limousin, Mr MT Westaway and 218ppk, Charolais, Mr EJ Westaway. Better heifers high 200’s to low teens. Good heifers also around 200ppk. Commercial heifers around 190ppk. Some too light heifers, 400 kilos at lower levels. HEIFERS sold to £1,486.54 for a Blonde from Messrs MJ & C Plowright. Another £1,485.26, Charolais, Messrs SJ & EH Coles. OVERAGE to 224.5ppk for a superb Gelbvieh heifer from Messrs J & S Vinnicombe & Son. 678 FINISHED LAMBS & HOGGS A reasonable entry of 678 Lambs sold to an unexpected dearer trade when lower prices were reported at other centres later on last week. The best were 190ppk plus and sold to 196ppk from Mr JK Willcox. Others 195ppk from Mr A Foxford; 193ppk from Miss P Marke; 192 and 190ppk from Messrs DW & VR Blackmore; 191ppk from Mrs LJ Vowles and Mr C Willcox and 190ppk from Messrs DM & DM Ginger, Messrs MJ & RSM Barrow, Messrs CHJ French & Sons and Shaplands Farm. Heavier lambs sold to £91 and £85 from Mr J Killin. Others £89 from Mr R Withers; £85.50 and £85 (x2) from Messrs VJ & MJ Headon and £85 from Mr S Chard and Mr J Harding. Overall average £77.03 (over £5/head dearer than the corresponding Monday last year).

HOLSWORTHY Kivells report another tremendous entry of 2,382 head of stock sold on Wednesday. Overall highlight was in the dairy pens where an explosive trade with a top call of £2,300 for Mark and Lyn Bray, South Molton heading the tremendous entry of 125 with the £2000 barrier broken no less than 15 times. A spirited entry of 76 Prime/ OTM cattle saw the best reach £1,514 with premium at 212ppk for K J Davey, Trenouth. In the store pens C W Jennings took top honours at £1,215 with Betty Heale topping the heifer department at £1,070 for four pure Charolais heifers. The 207 calves met a fantastic trade with the best of 127 bulls at £485 and the pick of the heifers at £502 both from Messrs Weaving, St Tudy. The sheep pens were full with a top call of £122 for the pick of the 325 breeding ewes with Shaun Ellis, Trillacott topping in the ram pens at £400. The 241 store lambs saw plenty of trade with J D Canham topping at £66 with the best of the 493 prime lambs to £83. The 256 cull ewes saw erkins & Son top at £85. The 125 dairy cattle met a fantastic trade from start to finish with an overall top call of £2,300 achieved twice, firstly, Whitsbury Melody Contrary 2 and then for Penheale Vanity 32 both from the Brays. Also having an exceptional day was the Jenkins family from Helston, where the pick of their line-up reached £2,250. Like the heifers, the older cows saw plenty of interest with top award going to Steven Thorne, Umberleigh reaching £2,120 twice, both for second-calvers.

NEWTON ABBOT The Autumn Sale of South Devon Breeding Cattle on Wednesday saw a solid trade and a 91% clearance with a top price of £2,500 for the Tully Partnership’s Waddeton Illistram 17, a twoyear-old bull which sold to P Vooght, Chudleigh. Messrs Cleave’s Trewint Magnetto 5, a three-and-a-half year old achieved £2,200 and was purchased by Messrs Quantick, Teigngrace. A total clearance of the bulls as well as the cows and calves which reached £1,290 for the Tully Partnership’s Waddeton Fiona 18 a second-calver with male calf at foot, purchased by A J Gammin & Co, Ogwell. S Butcher’s Moorland Annie 6, a first-calver and her heifer calf totalled £1,200 and D H Hartnell & Sons’ Cornworthy Court Darling, a thirdcalver sold at £1,190 to Messrs Lockwood, Tiverton. In-calf heifers peaked at £1,000 for P Marjason’s Crowbeare Bracken 4, a two-year-old purchased by W Turner, Exeter and maiden heifers to £895 for D H Hartnell & Sons’ Cor nworthy Court Daffodil 85, purchased by A J Gammin & Co. Finished catt;e sales saw heavyweight steers to 186ppk and £1,246.20 for M J Cottle. Heavyweight bulls to 141ppk and £853.05. Cows to

120ppk and £816. Store cattle met a very strong trade throughout with a top price of £1,040 for a bunch of four South Devon steers born March 2012 from P Vooght. Limousin steers to £950 for Miss C Crabb, with younger types to £920 for S Jervis. Simmental steers £895 for Cullen Partnership. South Devon heifers £980 for R E Wilton. Hereford steers £890 for Mrs M Trueman. Younger Limousin cows with calves to £825. Standard prime lambs to £55 for D A Duncan; mediums £68.50 for Marshall Farm, heavies £75 for Messrs White.

SOUTH MOLTON Stags report a similar lamb entry as last week with a slightly easier trade with the best at 180ppk for medium Texels from Messrs Roberts, Dulverton medium Charollais from Messrs Warne, Umberleigh. Top money at £82.90 both for heavier Suffolk-crossCharollais, from R W Tapp & Son, South Molton and Messrs Woollacott, Yarnscombe. Another significant entry of cull sheep again met a slightly easier trade with the best to Suffolks at £81.50 for B J Burgess & Co, Atherington. Several rams through the ring with a Texel from M C Yeo, Yarnscombe at £90. A small entry of store lambs was topped by a pen of lightweight Texes from Messrs Llewellyn, Oakford at £42.

HATHERLEIGH Vicks report prime lambs a little easier to average 157.72ppk. Standards sold to £61.50 and 16.09ppk for Mrs S Cartwright, Sampford Courtenay; mediums to £72.50 and 164.7ppk for T A Folland, North Tawton; and heavies to £80.50 and 164ppk for W J Wooldridge, Bulkworthy. Draft ewes were a good trade to average £51.11, with bests to £80.50for W J Wooldridge, Bulkworthy and half-meats to £61.50 for Mrs Anthony, Petrockstowe. Plains to £34. Store lambs were a flying trade to £59 for D Allin, Dolton. On Thursday and entry of 144 suckled calves and store cattle sold to an excellent trade. J W Reddaway & Son, Sampford Courtenay sold a run of quality Charolais with their 10-month steers reaching £765 and 10-month heifers peaking at £555. Messrs Crocker, Lewdown sold sixmonth Charolais steers at £698 and heifers to £528. Mrs S Francis sold a consignment of Limousin and Angus steer calves with Limousin reaching £670 and Angus £645. Mr I Littlejohns, Okehampton, presented some superb Blonde calves with his 11-month steers selling to £862 and heifers to £685.

BLACKMOOR GATE A brisk trading day with breeding ewes selling for M Leworthy, Kibsworthy at £97 and an overall average at £55. Grazing ewes topped at £58 for Messrs Rawle, Holworthy. Store lambs totalled 1,465 and sold to an average of £58.80 with the best reaching £71.50 for R & M F Rottenbury & Son, Oxenleaze for a superb pen of Chartex. Breeding rams sold to £260 for the Rottenburys and an average of £150.

CUTCOMBE Exmoor Farmers received a strong entry of good-quality cattle for the October Store Cattle Sale, which included the complete dispersal of two herds, for A Hobbs, Beechtree Farm and Messrs Pile, Higher Week. The sale started with grazing cows with the best selling to £865 for Mrs J Wady, Higher Brown, with the overall average achieved at £670. Cows with calves peaked at £1,440 for A R Hobbs, Beechtree. The entry from Mr Pile sold to £1,475 for a Hereford cow in calf to a Limousin bull with her Limousin calf at foot. Bulling heifers concluded the dispersal sale for Messrs Pile with these selling to £732 and £570 for Hereford and Simmental Heifers respectively. An overall average of breeding heifers was £788 with the top from Mr Hobbs selling his at £990. Store cattle sold to a brisk trade again with 172 steers forward selling to an average of 197ppk with the best of these making 255.4ppk, this equated to £736 and a top price for A Tapp, Higher North Heasley selling his best pen to £1,072 and heifers, of which 82 went under the hammer, sold to an average of 187ppk with the best to 206ppk, this being £695 average and a top price of £1,005 for Messrs Willes, Steart.

27 Cornwall Pedigree Beef Calf Show, Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge, 10am. Details: 07976 504 131 29 Potato Council and Catchment Sensitive Farming’s Soil Management Workshop for Potato Growers, Colwith Farm, Lanlivery, near Bodmin. Details: 07792 209919 30 Yeovil Dairy Meeting, Lambrook Farm, Queen Camel, near Yeovil, 11am. Details: 0800 756 2787 30-31 CropTec Show 2013 , East of England Showground, Alwalton, Peterborough. Details: 01772 799424 31 Liskeard & District Primestock Show, Liskeard Livestock Market. Schedules: 01579 347562 31 Family Farmers’ Association Annual Open Meeting, Houses of Parliament, London, 2pm.

Quota Milk Average wholesale price (4.00% butterfat, for 2013/2014 quota): clean 0.20ppl, used 0.20ppl. Entitlements 2014 season price: Non-SDA £210-£215 per hectare. 2013 season average price: Non-SDA £213 per hectare; SDA £190 per hectare, moorland £39.60 per hectare Naked Acres 2013 hosting and letting season-average price: Non-SDA £49 per acre; SDA £35 per acre; Moorland £7 per acre Townsend Chartered Surveyors, Exeter, (01392 823935) and www.townsendchartered

Useful numbers Defra general inquiries 08459 335577 Met Office 01392 885680 NFU South West 01392 440700 EBLEX South West 0870 608 6610 0871 504 3581 Rural Payments Agency 0845 6037777 Farm Crisis Network 0845 3679990 7am–11pm RABI helpline, financial help 01865 727888 ARC Addington Fund 01926 620135 office hours The Samaritans 08457 909090 24 hours a day Sole Occupancy Authorisation for multiple movements between groups of premises under the same occupation and management issued by local Divisional Veterinary Manager Devon 01392352825; Cornwall 01872 265500; Somerset 01823 337922

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Can Alpculture catch on in Dartmoor?

West Country hill farmers are used to high places, but take three Dartmoor agrarians half way up a Swiss mountain and you might well see them silenced in awe – not only because of the stunning scenery, but because of their astonishment when observing the achievements of their alpine counterparts. A few days ago the Western Daily Press witnessed such an event 6,000 feet above sea level on the snow covered slopes of the beautiful Simmental Valley. The three Dartmoor farmers – Colin Abel, Mathew Cole and Ed Williams – weren’t silent for long, but they were impressed by the remarkable things farmer Ueli Tritten and his wife Hedi had achieved amid the alpine crags. At the middle station we sat down with Ueli who had re-

ski the high slopes – if local farmers didn’t graze the landscape with their cattle. The Swiss understand this equation. As they trundle up from the cities into the mountains to enjoy their skiing, hiking, mountain biking or whatever – they comprehend the importance of supporting the people who live there all the time. So keen are Swiss visitors to purchase the products of the mountains, there are streetside vending machines selling local cheese and meat which cater for those who need items when the shops are shut. When Dartmoor farmers like Andy Bradford – along with various hoteliers, tourism bosses and other influential movers and shakers from the moor – discovered the Swiss were making this allimportant connection work, they travelled to the Simmental eight years ago to find out more. Out of that trip an organisation called Dartmoor Farmers Ltd was born – and now they, along with members of the umbrella group called the Dartmoor Partnership – have been back for what could be



Number of cows with which the Trittens make a good living

Farming on Dartmoor dates back 4,000 years

cently refurbished the farmstead, turning it into a single shelter for both cows and family. The big timber building looked impressive enough on the outside, but when we entered its gleaming portals we discovered the Trittens had also built an impressive subterranean cheese-making plant down in the basement. From this shrine of isolationist agricultural activity, the family produce gold-medal cheeses that are regarded as being among the best in all of Switzerland. We talked over a beer in the amazing new family kitchen surrounded by windows revealing some of the best scenery in the Alps and heard how, collectively, the Dartmoor men were responsible for farming thousands of cattle and sheep. Yet, despite being successful farmers, everyone knows that upland cattle and sheep rearing in the UK is tough, to say the least. The Trittens keep a meagre 40 milking cows, yet somehow they make a good living. It was the quest to solve this seemingly unanswerable riddle that took a group of Dartmoor farmers and other movers and shakers to Switzerland last weekend. It’s the latest part of a tenyear history which has now resulted in an accord being signed that should see an official twinning of the Dartmoor and Simmental areas in

described as a refresher tour... It was an exhausting fourday visit in which we did everything from meet cheesemakers to dried herb processors (another innovative way Swiss farmers can make a few bob on the side) and Andy, who runs Brimpts Farm in central Dartmoor, told me: “This tour has re-energised our thoughts and stimulated the idea that we must take things forward again. “The heritage we have on Dartmoor is beyond belief – world class stuff – we have farming going back 4,000 years,” he went on. “I don’t think we quite understand how much we have to offer – and maybe we find it difficult to market it because we are farmers. But now it’s time we reestablished our link with the general public and sold our meat – the last thing we want is to be propped up by subsidies.” Among the party of 15 who visited the Simmental last weekend was Tom Stratton, the Duchy of Cornwall’s land agent for Dartmoor, who told me: “While the two areas are different in nature there are several similarities. Specifically, the Swiss need to promote tourism and its relationship with the landscape and so do we. “It has been interesting to look at the ways they’re doing that and thinking about how we can do the same on Dartmoor.”

A group of Dartmoor farmers and business leaders visiting Switzerland could become trailblazers in an interchange of ideas between two unique upland areas. Martin Hesp, who was in the Alps with the group, reports

Ueli Tritten has built a cheesemaking plant in the basement of the family middle station

the near future. What originally interested various Dartmoor locals was the fact that the Simmental area began focussing on a marriage between tourism and food production long before it was a twinkle in any British marketing guru’s eye. In the high remote alpine valleys tourism and agriculture has been treated as a single element within the region’s economy for over 40 years. They’ve even invented a word for it... Alpculture is a brand that has been devised to promote and sell local produce as well as educate visitors about alpine life. At the very heart of the phrase lies the single truth that says: this place would not look anywhere near as beautiful – and you wouldn’t even be able to

Mat Cole, Colin Abel, Ueli Tritten and Ed Williams at Ueli’s middle station. The three Dartmoor farmers were impressed by the remarkable things that Ueli and his wife Hedi had achieved amid the alpine crags

Farming 23 October 2013  

Farming Western Daily Press, Rundle: end of the Bogof bonanza boosts farmers. Martin Hesp: upland farmers can learn from Swiss