Agricultural News Round Up – 14/11/16

Brexit Britain’s Move From Subsidies and Killer Hornets On The Rise

A turbulent start to the week brings news of post-Brexit Britain abandoning the use of subsidies, Northern Ireland gets serious about changing it’s land and Giant Asian Hornets are beaten down in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

george-eustice‘Muddled subsidies system’ to go in Post-Brexit Britain

Farm Minister, George Eustice, outlined a variety of supporting measures that could serve to replace the current system of subsidies that he has blasted as being ‘muddled’. Speaking at a DUP breakfast in Belfast on Wednesday, Mr Eustice suggested that an exhaustive re-shaping of the food industry would have to take place, in order for British producers to stay in business.

Throwing out a range of ideas including insurance policies to support farm incomes, as well as the notion that processors and retailers may have to share profits of sales with farmers. All this, however, should be taken with a pinch of salt as the government has agreed to continue pay subsidies to farmers up until 2020.

Mr. Eustice even went as far as to say that a ‘Canadian style insurance system’ could be put in place to give farmers a chance to ‘keep their heads above water’.

Agricultural Report, two years in the making, launches in NI

After two years in gestation, a report has been launched from the government outlining a range of plans and schemes that could see closer attention paid to the environmental impact of farming. A publicly-funded analysis of the soil in Northern Ireland’s farming lands is on top of the agenda – so that farmers can make positive changes to their environment and improve productivity.

Amongst a raft of suggestions made from the reports – the working group, tasked with finding solutions of boosting agri-food whilst also helping the environment, suggested adding lime to acidic soil, whilst only adding the nutrients that are essential to the health of the land.

It was found that an excess of nutrients, especially phosphates, can damage watercourses. Over half of the rivers and lakes in Northern Ireland were found to be well below the European Standards for water quality.

The writers of the report are hoping that concise information and education should help the farmers of Northern Ireland manage their farms better and improve the quality of the land they own.

giant-hornet-2Giant Asian Hornet Invasion stamped out by Bee Unit

After the National Bee Unit confirmed isolated sightings of the yak-killer hornet in areas of both Somerset and Gloucestershire, the NBU has confirmed that their plan to eradicate the Asian and mainland European species has been successful. Nicola Spence, Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health, had this to say:

‘I am pleased our well-established protocol to eradicate Asian hornets has worked so effectively. We remain vigilant, however, and will continue to monitor the situation and encourage people to look out for any Asian hornet nests.’

An aggressive predator of the honey bee, the Asian Hornet is a highly mobile species – capable of spreading 60km a year. There have been fears for a while that this insect, which preys specifically on micro-beasts that are beneficial to the environment, might find it’s ways to the shores of England by either hitching a ride on imported goods or flying across the channel.

Thankfully, now the Winter months have set in, these harmful insects will die off naturally.

If you’re a bee keeper looking to protect their bee hives ahead of next summer, DEFRA have put together instructions on how to create a simple monitoring trap that should combat any future invasions.