News From The Farming Market – January 2018

Figures from Defra show that 19,274 badgers were shot, in 19 areas, from September to November 2017, in the latest cull to control the spread of TB in cattle. This is more than were culled in the whole of the previous four years. Defra has indicated that the culls will continue and will be expanded into more areas. TB testing in High Risk Areas is set to increase to once every six months.

In a major initiative the Environment Agency plans to map the whole of England’s landscape, by 2020, using aircraft equipped with laser scanners. The information will be used in areas such as flood risk assessment and conservation projects and will be made available to the public.

The new Telecoms Code took effect on 28th December 2017 and gives operators increased power to gain access to land to install, erect, service and maintain communications equipment. The operators are keen to negotiate a standard contract agreement and to replace current annual rentals with one, smaller, initial payment. However, negotiations are at a standstill following the withdrawal of the farmer representatives who have warned their members to take great care in any dealings with operators.

The sheep population in Wales has been increasing in recent years and figures show it has exceeded 10 million for the first time since 2002 with prices remaining relatively buoyant. Wales accounts for almost one third of the British sheep flock and with significant export sales into the EU, it is exposed to any possible Brexit tariffs.

Milk producers face further price uncertainty in 2018 with Muller promising to hold its price until March, after the January reduction but with Dairy Crest and Arla announcing reductions for their producers. Global dairy prices were down 3.9% at the end of 2017.

Reproduced with kind permission from NIG FarmWeb