Truss ‘threw British ag under the bus’

Former Prime Minister Liz Truss has been heavily criticised by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) president for her record on supporting UK farmers.

On Twitter, Minette Batters said Truss “not only threw British agriculture under the bus, but repeatedly drove over it”. Truss was International Trade Secretary during talks with Australia and New Zealand which resulted in controversial trade deals being signed in December 2021 and February 2022.

The Conservative MP also headed up Defra, the Whitehall department responsible for farming, from 2014 to 2016.

Batters was much more complimentary of Truss’s successor as Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak. “He has committed more to food and farming in 100 days than Liz Truss did in a decade,” the NFU president said.

Liver fluke remains

The cold winter temperatures will not have removed the risk of grazing livestock picking up liver fluke, animal health experts have warned.

“Livestock farmers must continue to test if they are to ensure any treatment is necessary and given at the right time and with the most appropriate product,” said Philip Skuce from the Moredun Research Institute.

Heather Stevenson, a vet at Scotland’s Rural College, said the number of animals giving positive results from liver fluke blood tests has gradually increased throughout the winter.

“In January, 30% of samples tested for coproantigen (a faecal test) were positive, which underlines the need to keep checking sheep that have not yet been treated,” she said.

Zero N silage project

Over £300,000 is to be invested by AgriSearch in an on-farm research project which will examine the feasibility of producing silage without the use of manufactured nitrogen (N) fertiliser. The ZeroNsile project will focus mainly on red clover swards, with 12 NI farmers establishing new swards over the coming season. Silage yields and quality will be compared to conventional swards on each of the farms over the next four years, while four farms in Co Down will also investigate the feasibility of growing Lucerne.

AFBI will provide scientific and technical support.