16th April 2021


Rural Rap

SOUTHERN WATER HAS BEEN TAKING ACTION TO REDUCE RELEASES FROM STORM OVERFLOWS AND TO IMPROVE WATER QUALITY, writes Southern Water.  Measures taken across the South East, including in Kent, include: investing £1.7bn between 2020 and 2025 to improve capacity and capability of the wastewater network; installing EDM technology to build a more detailed picture, helping to target future investment; investing £13m to address storm overflow risks at 36 sites (in addition to £13m already invested at a different 29 sites); working with partners to develop solutions to prevent surface water entering sewers.
To discuss the issue or for further enquiries: stakeholderteam@southernwater.co.uk

TRIBUTES HAVE POURED IN FROM ACROSS THE FARMING AND RURAL SECTORS FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH.  Prince Philip was a staunch supporter of British farming, attending numerous prominent agricultural and rural events over the decades, including the Kent Show.  He was involved in over 750 organisations, many of them countryside based, serving as patron, president or member.  The CLA described him as a “passionate supporter of rural Britain.”  The NFU added that he was a “great champion of British farming and rural communities.”  The Countryside Alliance said he was a “knowledgeable and passionate countryman,” while BASC said he “exemplified the ideals of sporting shooting and conservation.”  The GWCT noted that “his wildlife conservation credentials have rightly been lauded at a global scale.”

TWO THIRDS OF ANALYSED BARN OWLS WERE FOUND WITH LIVER RESIDUES OF RODENTICIDE, reports Farming UK.  Farming users of rodenticides are being urged to follow product label instructions diligently after the chemicals’ residues were found in the owls’ livers.  Two thirds were found to have two or more SGARs, while a further 21% were positive for one SGAR.

M&S WILL INTRODUCE OVER 30 MILLIONS BEES TO ITS SUPPLIER FARMS, reports Farming UK.  The move, which is part of its “farming with nature” programme, should boost pollinator numbers and improve product quality.  As part of the programme, producers will gain support to help them become more sustainable by adopting nature-friendly farming practices.  Bees contribute to a third of food consumed, but the habitats they depend on like wildflower meadows are dwindling.

FARM BUSINESS INCOME IS EXPECTED TO FALL IN 2020-21 DUE TO CHALLENGING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND THE PANDEMIC, reports Farming UK.  Forecasts of farm business income in England by farm type were released this week.  It shows that the extremely wet autumn and winter of 2019 along with the spring drought of 2020 was a key drive in influencing income.  The effects of the pandemic on the farming industry are also expected to be a key factor, according to Defra.  The average income on cereal farms is expected to fall around 43% to £36,000; general cropping farms are expected to fall by over a third, while dairy income will fall 10%.  Lowland grazing livestock farms will see a 78% increase in income, while forecasts for specialist pig farms is expected to fall to around £5,000 from £37,700.  The NFU has described the forecasts as a “huge blow” to the farming sector.

TRACTOR REGISTRATIONS LAST MONTH REMAINED WELL ABOVE THEIR LEVEL OF LAST YEAR, reports Farming UK.  While this may not have been on tough comparatives (agri-machinery plants closed temporarily in March and April last year due to the pandemic), it does mean that total tractor registrations in March 2021 was the highest monthly total for any month since March 2012.  It brings the total for the YTD to 3,259 tractor registrations, 13% more than in the same period in 2020.


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

To receive the Rural Rap direct to your inbox please contact info@ruralplc.com