Corries in-calf heifers sell to £7,200

In-calf Limousin heifers sold to a top price of £7,200 at the annual sale of suckler replacements from Will and Gareth Corrie, Newtownards, at Ballymena Mart on Tuesday. A red hot trade across the 84 lots on offer led to a sale average of £3,211, almost £800 higher than the 2022 average.

All heifers forwarded were scanned in-calf to Limousin bulls with predicted calving dates from the first week of January to the start of March. Other standout lots saw £7,000 paid for a January calving heifer in-calf to Ampertaine Lance. For more details on the sale, see p61.

Asulox manufacturer pulls out of UK

The company that manufactures the bracken control herbicide Asulox will not press for the product to be re-licensed in the UK next year. Since 2013, the active ingredient in Asulox, known as asulam, has only been available in the UK on an emergency licence, which is reviewed annually.

In 2023, approval was only granted in England, with authorities in NI, Wales and Scotland all rejecting the application for re-licensing.

The manufacturers of Asulox, UPL Europe Ltd, announced last week that it will “cease further work on a permanent solution for the use of asulam in the control of bracken”.

The confirmation was set out in a letter to the Bracken Control Group.

Protein crop scheme in NI to be extended

The protein crop scheme in NI is to be extended for a further three-year period, according to Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott.

The scheme allows an annual payment of £330/ha for growing combinable beans, peas, and sweet lupins. The current phase of the scheme was set to run out at the end of 2023. Elliott said it is “extremely encouraging” that a new extension is being planned.

Data rules could hit cross-border trade

Different rules on data protection between the UK and EU could impact the movement of livestock across the Irish border in the coming years.

At present, a “data adequacy agreement” is in place between the UK and EU, although it is set to expire in June 2025. There are concerns that new legislation on data protection, which is currently going through the UK parliament, could make a follow-on data adequacy agreement more difficult.

A new report by academics from the London School of Economics and Maynooth University states that a loss of data adequacy could make traceability requirements “more cumbersome and costly, if not impossible”. The British Meat Processors’ Association (BMPA) said the potential implications for the cross-border livestock trade “are already on the radar”.

“The ability to transfer data doesn’t just affect individuals, but is integral to the traceability and compliance system for animal movements between NI and the Republic,” the BMPA said.

Labour to end badger culling in England

The Labour Party will end badger culling in England if it wins the next general election, UK shadow farming minister Daniel Zeichner has said.

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, Zeichner said Labour’s approach would focus on “vaccines and biosecurity measures” that would lead to England being TB free by 2038.

New tractor registrations

There were 412 new tractors registered in NI during the first nine months of 2023, according to data from the Agricultural Engineers’ Association. The figure is 6% lower than the 438 new tractors registered during the same period last year.

Across the UK, overall, the figures indicate that tractor sales were up by 4% in the first nine months of the year, with 9,702 new registrations over the period.