31st July 2020


Rural Rap

LOWER YIELDS ARE ALREADY BEING FELT ACROSS THE KENT HARVEST, reports Farmers Weekly.  Although it is still early days, the delay in harvest and lower yields are being felt, with between 10% and 25% less grain coming in than during an average year.  Winter barley yields are down about 10-15%, according to Frontier Agriculture, OSR is down by 20% and wheat by 10-25%.  The variation in yield echoes the variation in weather across the county over the past 10 months.  Milling wheat is showing variable protein levels, though specific weights are good on both wheat and barley.  Most importantly though, the grain is still of marketable quality.  fwi.co.uk/arable/harvest/harvest-2020-yields-are-down-for-barley-osr-and-wheat

FARM SALES ARE BOUNCING BACK, reports the Farmers Guardian and Farming UK.  After one of the quietest ever periods of farm sales, the market is bouncing back, partly driven by city buyers looking for rural isolation in the wake of lockdown.  Strutt & Parker said only 9,300ha of English farmland was publicly marketed in H1 this year, down 50% on the previous year.  The lack of supply meant average prices went up 3%, with arable land averaging £23,230/ha.  However, while sellers were not active, buyers were.  Savills reported a doubling in buyer registrations during H1, with a 50% increase in views of farms on its website.  Interest peaked at 70% in June.  However, the desire to escape to the country is not the only driver in the market – the looming changes to farm subsidies may well be driving some farmers to sell up, and others to expand.

YELLOW WELLIES HAS COMPILED A LIST OF THE TOP 5 FARM SAFETY APPS YOU SHOULDN’T BE WITHOUT.  Yellow Wellies is the farm safety foundation behind last week’s Farm Safety Week.  Following an online debate, the group has named the Top 5 Farm Safety Apps.  All are available in Google Play and Apple’s App Store.  They are:

  1. What3Words – an easy way to identify you location to within 3m2 and perfect for those covering a large area of ground.
  2. SmartFarmer – a cloud-based system which ensures your whole team carry out regular maintenance and safety checks on farm machinery.
  3. SiloMOT – allows users to register their silo, carry out a short survey to assess the structure, receive MOT findings and carry out remedial work.
  4. HeadToTow – gives users all the information required to keep trailers in a safe roadworthy condition.
  5. AgriKids – allows children to play, interact and learn about safety in various areas of the farm and countryside.


A QUARTER OF BRITAIN’S NATIVE MAMMALS ARE AT “IMMINENT RISK OF EXTINCTION,” reports the Guardian.  Scientists have compiled the nation’s first official Red List of endangered species.  The 11 mammals at danger include creatures of the mountains, woodlands and rivers, such as the wildcat, red squirrel, water vole, hazel dormouse and hedgehog.  The list has been approved by the IUCN using the same internationally agreed rules behind the global Red List which includes elephants and tigers.  The destruction of natural habitat, alien invasive species and historic persecution are the main causes of the wildlife declines.  A further five mammals, including the mountain hare, are classified as “near threatened.”   theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/30/quarter-of-native-uk-mammals-at-imminent-risk-of-extinction

A NEW WILDLIFE ART GALLERY HAS BEEN LAUNCHED TO SUPPORT ARTISTS AND THE GWCT THROUGH DIFFICULT TIMES, reports the GWCT.  The GWCT has teamed up with a trio of leading wildlife artists to create an online charity art gallery.  The GWCT Wildlife Art Gallery includes work from Ashley Boon, Rodger McPhail and Ian Greensitt.  The premise is simple – original art to suit all budgets, with 25% of all sales supporting the vital conservation work undertaken by the GWCT.  If the scheme is a success, each season the GWCT will select three guest artists for promotion to its members and supporters.   gwct.org.uk/news/news/2020/july/new-wildlife-art-gallery-supporting-artists-and-charity-through-difficult-times/


KCC is seeking your views on spending priorities and the approach we should take to help us amend the 2020-21 budget.  The council is amending the budget due to additional spending and loss of income as a result of the pandemic. 
Responses will be considered by councillors at the full County Council meeting in September 2020. 
To contribute, please visit www.kent.gov.uk/budget 


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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