Farming Update – April 2019

The most widely used chemical to control leaf spot in barley, Chlorothalonil, has been declared a category 1 carcinogen by the EU. This will lead to it being banned and will be a major setback for growers, especially in Scotland, due to the growing conditions there. The fungicide has been in use for over 50 years both in Europe and elsewhere, without a problem.

Officials from Algeria have visited the UK with a view to expanding their import of cereals. Algeria is currently the largest non-EU recipient of UK wheat with imports of over 216,000 tonnes. The visit focused on the potential for UK biscuit wheat which is not available in Algeria.

The Welsh Government is proposing significant changes to the Countryside Rights of Way Act to give greater access to land. The changes will effectively allow non-motorised multi-use by removing many of the present restrictions. Farmers are concerned that “thrill-seekers” will increase the problems they currently have with public access.

First Milk and Dairy Crest have announced that the milk price for May will remain unaltered. The processors have warned members of uncertainty and downward pressure on prices in the domestic market.

New requirements have come into force for VAT-registered businesses, with a taxable turnover of over £85,000 to file their returns online. The returns for income tax and corporation tax will follow this format within the next two years. The patchy digital infrastructure across many rural areas has left farmers struggling to access a stable and secure internet. Politicians have criticised HMRC for failing to support farmers and other small businesses during this change.

A survey by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board shows that there are around 8.850 dairy producers in Britain. This is likely to be more accurate than the Defra statistics which show 16,600 dairy holdings of which 40% have fewer than 10 cows making them more likely to be suckler herds than dairy producers. Despite falling herd numbers production is forecast to be around 12.6bn litres this year, the highest for over 25 years.

Reproduced with kind permission from NIG FarmWeb