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Farming Today


The latest news about food, farming and the countryside

The latest news about food, farming and the countryside


London, United Kingdom




The latest news about food, farming and the countryside




28/11/20 - Farming Today This Week: Bovine TB, urea fertiliser and "fostered" apple orchards.

Caz Graham takes an in-depth look at Bovine TB. The disease costs taxpayers around £100 million a year, and in the 12 months to August, 38,000 cattle were slaughtered because of it in England, Wales and Scotland. Meanwhile, licences for this year's badger cull in England allowed for more than 64 thousand badgers to be killed across 17 counties. We hear about the financial and emotional toll of the disease on farmers and what they can do to tackle it. We discuss the ongoing controversy...


27/11/20 Licensing for Scottish grouse shoots, bovine TB vaccine, trees planted on peat, price of land for forestry

The Scottish government is to develop a licensing system for grouse shoots. It comes on the back of last year’s Werritty Report into the environmental and economic impacts of ‘moor management’, which was commissioned after tagged golden eagles disappeared 'suspiciously'. As part of our week looking at bovine TB, Professor Glyn Hewinson from Aberystwyth University explains why cattle can't yet be vaccinated against the disease and gives us the very latest on where vaccine developments are....


26/11/20 - Leaked videos from the Hunting Office, Welsh hydro power and Bovine TB testing.

Police are investigating leaked training videos from the governing body that oversees hunting with hounds. In response, Forestry England has suspended licences for trail hunting on its land. Welsh farmers who have used the rivers and streams on their land to diversify into producing hydro electric power say the rug's being pulled from under their feet. A green energy grant which many of them rely on could be scrapped, but they're hoping talks with the Welsh Government on Friday can save it....


25/11/20 - Badger vaccination, badger culling and the Fisheries Act

As part of our week-long focus on bovine TB in this programme we explore control of the disease in badgers. From the controversial badger cull to vaccination. What's the evidence? And as the Fisheries Act gets turned into law, we hear concerns that it doesn’t protect vulnerable fish stocks. Oceana, which represents marine conservation groups worldwide, says the act is a missed opportunity 'to enshrine a legal duty to fish within science-based sustainable limits'. Defra says 'The government...


24/11/20 - Council farms, bovine TB and nitrogen fixing technology

The Campaign to Protect Rural England is warning that if council-owned farmland in England is sold off at its current rate, it could all be gone within 40 years. Their analysis suggests almost 3/4 of councils in England have sold off farmland in the past decade, and it's continuing to happen. So what next for new entrants trying to get into the industry? As part of our week-long focus on Bovine TB, we look at the financial impact of the disease on farmers. Herds that are infected have to be...


23/11/20 - Bovine TB, Government consultation on urea.

Across this week on Farming Today, we aim to cover all aspects of Bovine TB - from the farmers struggling with it, to the testing, the research and the badger cull. Bovine Tuberculosis affects herds in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Scotland has been officially TB free since 2009, and though there have been a small number of cases it has kept this status. The disease costs taxpayers around 100 million pounds a year - and in the 12 months to August, 38 thousand cattle were slaughtered...


21/11/20 Farming Today This Week: Live animal exports

The controversial issue of live animal exports - we hear all the arguments. Animal welfare campaigners call the trade cruel and unacceptable, while those involved insist animals are well cared for and that live export is an small but important market for farmers. The Prime Minister has talked about introducing a ban and the Conservative election manifesto talked of "ending excessively long journeys" once we leave the EU. A government consultation is expected to be launched before the end of...


20/11/20 - Live exports, Lorry queues in Kent, Chlorinated chicken

Live animal export is a controversial issue - animal rights activists have long wanted the trade to stop. The Government is promising a consultation on a ban on "excessively long journeys for slaughter and fattening". All the main ferry companies currently refuse to ship UK reared live animals, but the ‘Joline’ - a ship run by a Dutch company - transports live animals across the Channel from Ramsgate in Kent. We hear from protesters at the port. There are worries about traffic jams in the...


19/11/20 - Tree planting targets, Cancelled mistletoe auction, Farm antibiotic use and New Forest pigs

The government has set a target of 30,000 hectares of new woodland planted across the UK every year by 2025. But currently less than 14,000 are being planted annually, mostly in Scotland. This has prompted Confor - which represents those working in the industry - to call for an urgent review of the system for tree planting applications and approvals. We visit Doddington North - the largest new productive forest planted in England in the last 30 years. The biggest traditional auction of...


18/11/20 - Brexit fishing negotiations, agricultural labour, live export for breeding and NI agricultural policy

Fishing has been at the centre of the EU Brexit negotiations for months now. As the deadline to reach an agreement grows ever closer, talks are continuing behind closed doors and it’s understood negotiators are discussing a phased change to any new fishing rules. Anna Hill finds out more about the biggest sticking points. A committee of MPs has been looking into seasonal agricultural labour after Brexit. Could putting farming on the school curriculum solve the problem?! The government's due...


17/11/2020 - Dairy in a No Deal, sheep farmers "diversifying to beef", live exports and new money for nature

The DEFRA Secretary has told the BBC that 35% export tarrifs on dairy products in the case of a No Deal Brexit would NOT impact dairy farmers. He said products like Lurpack butter, which are currently imported, could be made in the UK instead. Anna Hill asks Arla if that would be possible. Meanwhile, George Eustice said beef and sheep farmers should concentrate their efforts on beef - but how practical is that? We hear from a farm in North Wales. We hear more in our detailed look at live...


16/11/20 Live animal exports, beavers in Cornwall

A government consultation on the export of live animals is expected to be launched before the end of the year. This is a controversial issue with animal welfare campaigners calling the trade cruel and unacceptable, while those involved insist animals are well cared for and that live export is a small but important market for farmers. The Prime Minister has talked about introducing a ban once we leave the EU. This week we are going to look at the issues and hear all the arguments. Beavers...


14/11/20 - Farming Today This Week: The Agriculture Act, farming wet peat, wool prices and young rural voices

The Agriculture Bill was given Royal Assent this week to become the Agriculture Act. It follows a series of fierce debates in the Houses of Parliament and beyond about whether UK farmers will be protected from lower standard imports. The Act replaces the EU's Common Agricultural Policy - we hear from the Farming Minister, Victoria Prentis. The peat lands of the Fens are usually used by farmers to grow high value vegetable crops such as lettuce and celery. Ploughing up peat soils releases...


13/11/20 Bird flu, wet peat planting, compromises in farming systems

England, Wales and Scotland have been declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone. It follows outbreaks of bird flu on farms in Herefordshire, Kent and Cheshire. Wild birds in Gloucestershire, Devon and Dorset have also tested positive for the highly contagious H5N8 strain. The risk to humans is very low, but the risk to birds is high. The disease is spread by migrating birds coming into contact with free range flocks or their droppings making their way into hen houses via someone’s boot....


12/11/20 - Sugar beet yields, dairy jobs and Bird Girl

Harvest 2020 has been a fairly forgettable experience for many farmers - and now sugar beet growers can join the unhappy throng. Yields are down, party because of the weather and partly because of virus yellows - a disease spread by aphids that can cut yields by as much as 50%. This is only the second season farmers haven’t been able to use neonicotinoid pesticides, which were banned by the EU in 2018 because they can affect bees. So what next for the crop? The Royal Association of British...


11/11/20 - Royal Assent for the Agriculture Bill, Scottish deer stalking and local food chains

Greener, cleaner, high welfare local food and a countryside which protects the environment, wildlife and special landscapes - that’s the vision of the Agriculture Bill which is due to receive Royal Assent. But will that vision become a reality? Anna Hill speaks to the Farming Minister, Victoria Prentis, about whether the UK's food standards will be protected in future trade deals, and where food security fits into Environmental Land Management Schemes. More than 100,000 deer are culled each...


10/11/20 - New general licences, soil patrol, farming for the climate, young voices

DEFRA has completed its review of ‘general licenses’ for shooting wild birds, after the campaign group Wild Justice made a legal challenge against them. Details of new licenses have been released which will allow people to kill wild birds for conservation, to protect public health and safety and to prevent damage to crops and livestock. Satellite technology is being used to identify farms which are allowing soil to wash off fields and into waterways. We join the Environment Agency out on...


09/11/20 - Wasted wool, peatland restoration and a Rural Re-Think

The impact of COVID 19 on the world wool market has led to some farmers burning or composting fleeces because it’s not worth packing them for sale. Most British wool is used in things like carpets for hospitality, for example hotels, cruise ships and airports, and a fall in demand has hit wool prices. Charlotte Smith speaks to one Welsh farmer whose been giving his fleeces away for free. In Northern Ireland, we hear why a helicopter is dropping big rolls of coconut husks on Cuilcagh...


07/11/20 Farming Today This Week: Rural crime, trade, Agriculture Bill

When we talk about rural crime you might imagine the odd bit of poaching, but it's actually an increasing problem costing around £59 million a year. We highlight just a few of the major problems for rural communities, from theft to intimidation. MPs have again backed the Agricuture Bill in the House of Commons, rejecting amendments from the House of Lords which would have given legal protection to food standards in future trade deals. This follows ministers’ decision to put the Trade and...


06/11/20 - Working dog theft, cheese makers in lockdown, future trade and Cornish saffron

There has been a rise in dog thefts over the past few months and its thought some working dogs are being targeted by thieves who then use them to help steal livestock. A BBC freedom of information request showed that 5 police forces have seen around double the number of dogs taken this year in comparison with last. The rise in demand for dogs during lockdown seems to be driving an increase in the price for puppies - and criminals are cashing in. Dog theft is a problem everywhere, but working...