More meadows and trees, less fertiliser and pesticides in UK green plan
The UK government's 25-year environment plan outlines how it intends to regulate farming and its impact on nature after Brexit.

The plan presented by Prime Minister Theresa May and DEFRA secretary Michael Gove this Thursday is a broad strategy, short on details regarding future British agri-environmental policy but including its guiding principles.

One measure highlighted by the government is a plan to “support farmers to turn over fields to meadows rich in herbs and wildflowers, plant more trees, restore habitats for endangered species, recover soil fertility and attract wildlife back”.

Leaving the CAP means we can do much more for our environment

This is part of a pledge that “leaving the CAP means we can do much more for our environment,” with the government intending to focus payments on “environmental enhancement”.

The policy indicates that pollution will attract a cost to farmers, while improvements to environmental conditions will attract payments. Details are expected in a Command Paper later this spring.

Stricter water conservation rules requiring every UK farmer to identify and manage risks to water on their land are already slated for implementation from April. The government now intends to review them after three years.

Limit fertiliser inputs

The plan includes “a robust framework to limit inputs of nitrogen-rich fertilisers such as manures, slurries and chemicals to economically efficient levels, and make sure they are stored and applied safely.”

Pesticides, too, will be restricted on a needs basis and integrated pest management will become central to government policy.

“By reducing the use of pesticides in the round and deploying them in a more targeted way, it is possible to reduce the impact on the environment while keeping open a sufficient diversity of options to avoid the build-up of resistance and the need for higher doses,” the plan reads.

An emphasis on soil health and peatlands conservation means that peat use in horticulture will be phased out by 2030.

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Irish Hereford breed society appoints new president
The Irish Hereford Breed Society has appointed its new president for the 1 July 2018 to 1 July 2019 period.

Elected to the position is Tipperary native Martin Murphy who runs the Toureenbrien herd in Lackamore, Newport. He takes over from outgoing president Pat McCarthy, who was in charge for the previous 12 months.

Murphy is the first member of the society to have been elected to the office of president for a second term. He previously held the role back in 2001 and this time brings with him an additional 15 years of Hereford Council experience, including three years as chair, during which time he hosted the very successful European Hereford conference in 2005.

Martin has served as chair of his local Munster branch of the society on two occasions, serving a total of six years. He represented Irish Herefords at the European Hereford conference in Germany in 2002, which had been postponed from 2001 due to the then major foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

Judging

As a member of the judging panel, he has judged at numerous society sales and summer shows around the country. Murphy is also a director of Irish Hereford Prime Ltd and was instrumental in setting up the very successful commercial Hereford cross autumn sale for weanlings and stores at Newport, Co Tipperary, which is now in its 11th year and growing year on year.

On his election, Martin said: “I am deeply honoured to have been elected as president of the Irish Hereford Breed Society for a second term. The start of the year was tougher than expected and can be largely attributed to the tough weather conditions and scarcity of fodder. However, things have improved greatly in recent weeks with a sharp increase in demand and prices for bulls to run with cows. I have no doubt that Herefords will be to the fore as one of the main breeds at the numerous upcoming summer shows around the country. I would encourage as many members as possible to participate in these events keeping the Hereford in view of the public at every opportunity. Like many breeders, I look forward to adding some of the new bloodlines arriving from Australia to my herd, which will undoubtedly improve our breeding lines. I‘d like to thank the team for their work in selecting the new sires for the breed improvement scheme. The chosen bulls are truly of outstanding quality.

Like many breeders, I look forward to adding some of the new bloodlines arriving from Australia to my herd, which will undoubtedly improve our breeding lines

“I’d also like to highlight the importance of good management and culling poor quality cattle in order to maintain the high standards associated with Hereford. These must be adhered to as the demand for Hereford beef is constantly growing. In order to meet these demands, we must produce good-quality cattle to remain competitive with other breeds and create an even more efficient product ensuring that cattle that will finish well with less feed in a reduced time period. I look forward to meeting as many members of the society as possible over the coming year and wish all of them every success in their endeavours.”

Weekly podcast: Leo Varadkar on CAP and unpaid farmers call for justice
In this week's podcast, an exclusive interview with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and farmers seek payment after sudden mart closure.

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An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar discussed CAP, Brexit and Mercosur in an exclusive interview with Irish Farmers Journal editor Justin McCarthy.

With the news that the secretary general of the Department of Agriculture Aidan O’Driscoll, is to leave his role to take up the same position with the Department of Justice, our correspondent Pat O’Toole looks at the impact that will have and who could replace him.

IFA Monaghan chairman Frank Brady updated Irish Farmers Journal news correspondent Thomas Hubert on the latest meeting of farmers left unpaid by the collapse of Castleblayney Mart.

Missed the previous episodes of the podcast? Catch up here: www.farmersjournal.ie/podcast

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