New Scottish farming Minister

The Scottish government has appointed Mairi Gougeon as the new Rural Economy and Islands Minster.

Gougeon had previously been a junior Minister in Rural Affairs in the last Scottish Parliament having first been elected to parliament in 2016.

Big variation in silage wrap quotes

The latest quotes for silage wrap indicate a sizeable range exists between the various brands on the market.

While some merchants are quoting as low as £56 per roll plus VAT for a full pallet, other merchants and a number of contractors put the cost at around £60 per roll for bulk purchases.

For farmers looking to purchase small quantities, price quotes are £3 to £4 per roll above the outlined prices, putting 1500m by 750mm wrap between £58 and £65.

At these prices, silage wrap is running between £6 and £10/roll above equivalent prices from last spring.

New agri-environment scheme for NI

DAERA officials are developing a new agri-environment scheme for NI farmers, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has confirmed.

In response to a written question from Independent MLA Claire Sugden, the minister said the scheme will deliver a range of environmental outcomes, including water and air quality, biodiversity and carbon emissions.

British farmers scrap levy payments

After British potato and horticulture farmers voted to scrap their levy payments to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the levy body has decided to wind down its potato and horticulture activity and shed 140 jobs.

Projects and export work have been put on ice while AHDB await a decision from government Ministers on the future of these statutory potato and horticulture levies.

If they are stopped permanently then AHDB would lose 20% of its £67.2m income.

There is fear amongst the remaining 360 staff that milk, livestock, pigs and cereals could also force a vote on the future of levy.

Application for bracken spray submitted

An application for the re-licencing of Asulam, the active ingredient in bracken control herbicide Asulox, has been submitted for the 2021 season.

Since 2013, Asulox has been available in the UK on an emergency licence which is reviewed annually by the Health and Safety Executive and Defra.

In 2020, the herbicide was initially only permitted for use in helicopter sprayers, but an updated application was submitted and led to Asulox being licenced for handheld and tractor-mounted sprayers on environmentally designated land.

The Bracken Control Group, which submits the emergency applications each year, has stated it is “likely” that approval will be granted for 2021.