30th October 2020


Rural Rap

BIDDENDEN VINEYARDS SAYS IT IS GOING FOR “QUALITY OVER QUANTITY” AFTER COMPLETING THIS YEAR’S HARVEST, reports the Kent Messenger.  The family run firm says the summer weather conditions provided yet another quality crop.  This year the vineyard focused on “quality over quantity, purposefully thinning the grapes earlier in the year.”  The wine and cider producer began bringing in its 11 varieties of grape three weeks earlier than usual this year.

THIS YEAR’S WHEAT HARVEST IS THE SMALLEST SINCE 1981, reports Farming UK and Farmers Weekly.  Results of an NFU survey show that wheat yields and winter barley yields were down 18% on last year, spring barley was down 6%, and OSR down 15%.  The figures have led the NFU to call for policies that could help farmers cope with volatile weather, build more resilient businesses and continue the supply of food.

UK RESIDENTS MADE UP JUST 11% OF THE HARVEST WORKFORCE THIS YEAR, DESPITE THE PICK FOR BRITAIN CAMPAIGN, reports Farming UK.  The government’s Pick For Britain campaign was launched in April amid much fanfare, and listed recruiters such as individual fruit and veg farms to national recruitment agencies that had job opportunities across the UK.  But despite the “fantastic response” from domestic workers, farmers still needed thousands of non-UK workers for the 2021 harvest.  For many, on-farm work was “simply not a viable option…it means people working away from their families, where they will only have guaranteed work for between 3 and 6 months.”

A NETWORK OF CONNECTED NATURE-FRIENDLY SITES COVERING A THIRD OF BRITAIN IS NEEDED, reports the Times.  Climate change is causing suitable habitats for some species to shift northwards and upwards by up to three miles a year, and this could have catastrophic impacts on wildlife.  “For many plants and animals, surviving such rapid change will partly depend on their ability to move their ranges to more hospitable areas,” said Rewilding Britain.  The report said that the red squirrel, Scottish wild cat, capercaillie and some species of butterfly and bee are “already declining or on the edge of extinction due to habitat degradation and the lack of connectivity between habitats.”


RABI, Addington Fund, FCN, Forage Aid and RSABI, supported by the Prince’s Countryside Fund, have launched the Farming Help initiative.  The initiative is also being launched with the NFYFC, the NFU and the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust. 
FARMING HELP recognises that this will be an anxious time for many farmers and farming families and periods of poor health or self-isolation may result in temporary practical difficulties on farm.  For help drafting a contingency plan, for practical local help with livestock, shopping etc, or to discuss your concerns and anxieties,

Contact 03000 111 999 or visit www.farminghelp.co.uk

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