Scotland’s chief veterinary officer slams BBC

A BBC documentary ‘Disclosure: The Dark Side of Dairy’ aired on 10 September. It focused on how 5,000 male dairy calves were shipped to Europe last year from Scotland, with the majority ending up in Spain for slaughter.

Animal rights campaigners on the programme claimed the long journey is harmful, but the industry said the alternative was shooting them at birth. The BBC has had to cut segments from the online edition following criticism from the farming industry and Scotland’s chief veterinary officer.

The BBC Documentary used footage of Hungarian cattle been shipped onto Romanian Boats which is pointed to as evidence of misrepresenting facts. As well as scenes from what was said to be Egypt where it was pointed out that Egypt has not accepted calves of Scottish or British origin for a number of years.

Gary Mitchell, NFU Scotland’s vice-president and a dairy farmer who shipped calves to Spain before this week’s ban, accused the BBC of “fraud”.

Intensive farming may be less damaging than organic, study finds

Intensive, high-yielding farming may be the best way to meet rising demand for food while conserving the environment, a new study has found. Organic farming has been considered more environmentally friendly than, conventional farming. But a study led by the University of Cambridge suggests this may not be the case.

They analysed information from hundreds of investigations into large food sectors. The researchers measured the environmental costs of what they called major “externalities” such as greenhouse gas emission, fertiliser and water use generated by farming.  Although the scientists found the data is limited, they concluded that many high-yield systems are less damaging to the environment and use less land. Examples of strategies studied include enhanced pasture systems and livestock breeds in beef production, use of chemical fertiliser on crops and keeping dairy cows indoors for longer.

The study only looked at organic farming in the European dairy sector, but found that for the same amount of milk, organic systems caused at least one-third more soil loss and take up twice as much land as conventional dairy farming. But the Soil Association (SA) has disputed the findings of the study and pointed to previous studies that suggest organic farming is better for the environment.

TractAir is going to LAMMA 2019

TractAir is exhibiting at LAMMA 2019 this event is taking place 8th and 9th January 2019. LAMMA is being held at (NEC) National Exhibition Centre, North Avenue, Marston Green, Birmingham, B40 1NT. The popularity and the success of the LAMMA show is best expressed by the fact 80% of the stands where booked up in back May. Visitors are being asked to register in advance. This simple four-step process is now open at www.lammashow.com.

Attendance to the event is free with free car parking. Refreshments are available for purchase on site. More information on LAMMA 2019 here.

DEFRA minister George Eustice to put soil ‘at heart’ of post-Brexit support scheme

Protecting and enhancing soil health is expected to be ‘at heart’ of a flagship environment scheme by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). This new type of scheme could be at the centre of the governments agricultural policy’s for post-Brexit Britain. These comments where made at the Tenant Farmers Association conference at Stoneleigh.

Scotland considering living wage for all agricultural workers

NFU Scotland has raised concerns over the plan which would raise the minimum wage for all agricultural workers regardless of age and duty. This would mean far higher expenditure for farmers who employ workers. NFUS has warned that as a result farmers may have to turn to contractors in the future in order to keep down costs during a time of falling incomes, as well as greatly increasing the cost of Scottish food in comparison to the rest of the United Kingdom.

Cambridgeshire famer Tim Breitmeyer becomes new CLA president.

Mr Breitmeyer succeeds Ross Murray as the 53rd president in the CLA’s 110-year history. Mr Breitmeyer comes to the head of the organisation during a time of great change for the agricultural sector and has said “It is an opportunity to do better for farming, for our environment and wider land use and for investment in rural communities. I look forward to leading the association as we play our role in shaping policy at this crucial time.” The CLA is the membership organisation for owners of land, property and business in rural England and Wales. Mr Breitmeyer himself farms 1,600 acres as well as contract-farming a further 3,200 acres.