Top 10 alternative uses for baler twine
Apart from its original use, there are infinite ways baler twine can be used on farms.

1. When plaited, it can make a livestock halter

2. Tying up gates around the farm

3. Holding up the farmer's trousers either as a belt or as braces

4. Tying up the farm dog

5. Boot laces

6. As essential part of nicky tams

7. As the pull cord on the toilet

8. As a bracelet for young farmers

9. Hanging up pictures and prize tickets

10. Securing tarpaulins on silage pits or straw stacks

This article is an excerpt from a new book for the pre-Christmas market, by John and Andrew Arbuckle, with all proceeds going to RSABI. The book was launched by Adam Henson at an RSABI supporter event on Friday 6 October. Click here to buy 'Farming Facts and Fake News'.

Ewing demands Brexit farm compensation
The Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy demands emergeny compensation in a no-deal Brexit scenario.

Scottish farmers need compensation in the event of a no-deal Brexit, believes Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

The Scottish Government stated that “a wealth of evidence now indicates that Scotland’s farmers would be worse off under every scenario when compared with the current trade arrangements, with some or all producers facing lower returns”.

It wants to see targeted support for sheep farmers in particular, as a no-deal could be worth £390m of annual sheep meat exports, as 90% of these are destined for the European market. The Scottish Government is demanding compensation be ready for farmers if they are hit with the proposed tariffs – as high as 45-50%.

“A no-deal Brexit is by far the biggest threat to farming and to our successful food and drink sector.

That is why I am calling on the UK Government to guarantee that farmers will be compensated in the event of a no-deal

"There is a range of independent research highlighting that under all possible scenarios, failure to replicate the current trade arrangements with the EU will have a detrimental impact on farmers, with our sheep sector under particular threat,” said Ewing.

“I am clear that we cannot countenance the prospect under no-deal of our exports facing high tariffs into the EU, while imports from the EU are waved through tariff-free. The UK government needs to set out its policy on tariffs now, so that businesses are clear what they will have to contend with.

"That is why I am calling on the UK Government to guarantee that farmers will be compensated in the event of a no-deal.

Scottish agriculture needs a deal to be brokered before it is too late

“Failure to do so would increase the risk of businesses going under, significantly reduce net profitability across beef, sheep and crops sectors, and lead to widespread land abandonment across Scotland.”

NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said: “The Union’s position on a no-deal Brexit remains that it is totally unacceptable and would be catastrophic for farmers and crofters. Unfortunately, we seem to be hurtling towards this as a likely outcome.

“Scottish agriculture needs a deal to be brokered before it is too late. It cannot afford to enter into a situation where there are no trade deals and no access to EU workers.

“In the event of a no-deal Brexit, Scotland’s livestock sector will be more reliant than ever on support payments, which are already critical for business viability. Scottish farmers and crofters will need to be able to rely on a system which delivers their payments effectively.

“One option would be to seek a funding package from the UK Treasury, ring-fenced and paid via the Scottish Government, to bolster the existing support payments mechanisms. This could allow all businesses to be cushioned through an inevitably turbulent period.”

Minister refuses arable v hill farming debate
Farmers Journal Scotland editor John Sleigh has his take on the week's big issue.

The Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy refused to give a clear answer on the issue of continued support for hill farmers coming at a cost to arable.

He was asked a straight question at the NFU Scotland conference and said it would be much easier if Scotland’s farm budget was bolstered by a convergence cash uplift.

He did not rule out taking cash from the lowlands to support the uplands, if necessary, and explained support should go where it is most needed – hill farms.

Cutting arable or region I support to provide a lifeline to the hills is not necessary in the short term.

The UK Government has promised farm support budgets until 2022, which means there should be money for LFASS, coupled support and basic area payment. However, after 2022 direct support is to be wound down in England to zero in 2028, according to the ag bill currently going through Westminster.

This could have an impact on the Scottish budget if we want to retain the status quo. But 2022 seems a lifetime away when we don’t know what will be happening to farming over the next few weeks, let alone years.

It seems that the Cabinet Secretary’s mission to get the convergence uplift, which the Scottish Government believes is worth £160m, has been focused mainly on farmers who receive low area payments for region II and III land.

By threatening to cut arable payments, if no uplift transpires, perhaps the minister hopes to unite upland and low ground farmers. It may end up causing unwelcome division.

Scottish view: lamb market remains flat as it dips below year-earlier levels
Farmers Journal Scotland editor John Sleigh has his take on the lamb and beef markets.

The liveweight lamb price rose 1p on average in a flat market, as lambs typically made £1.91/kg.

Prices around the marts ranged from over £2/kg in Lanark to £1.77/kg in Caithness.

Heavier lambs dropped 2p/kg to average £1.78/kg liveweight.

Numbers dropped around 1,000 lambs to 17,829 through the live ring in the last seven days.

The deadweight market reports the price of R3L lambs rose 2p/kg to £4.28/kg across the UK.

Cast ewe through the ring were up 800 head to 7,290, with the average price steady at £55/head.

Meanwhile, global lamb supply looks tight in 2019 as Australia is estimated to have its lowest slaughter numbers since 2012. The extremely dry conditions last year led to a 27% increase in sheep slaughter, as producers looked to reduce stocking rates and manage feed costs.

As a result, the Australian sheep flock is estimated to have contracted by over 6% to 67.7 million head by June 2018 and is expected to shrink further in 2019.

Beef

The beef market appears to be steady, as price continues to sit at £3.57/kg for R4L steers, with heifers around the same price. The ADHB-reported price for the same grade steers is £3.65/kg, the same price as northern England, but nearly 10p/kg more than the south.

Beef-sired cows are up 4p/kg in the live ring to £1.14/kg liveweight, with dairy cows slipping 1p/kg to 84p/kg. Deadweight prices for cows in Scotland are the same as last year at £2.32/kg for O-4L.