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'I am fed up with all the negative press that UK farmers have had to endure'

From the scandalous misrepresentation of livestock husbandry portrayed by those who prefer to kill small things that are not easy to cuddle, to environmentalists who see livestock farming as the road to global armageddon, it is depressing stuff, writes Phil Latham.

Why focus on bovine burps and ignore the reality that at any time there is a population greater than that of Birmingham in the air in planes around the globe, kept aloft by burning fossil fuels?

 

It is simply staggering how farming has become a target for all that angst. Of course there are legitimate concerns but I feel we are made a scapegoat for others who would prefer to deflect criticism from their own industry’s contributions.

 

We do not help ourselves though. I just met up with my agronomist to create our bespoke plan for fertiliser and slurry applications for the year ahead.


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I know this is just a plan and it will need updating with what actually happens with applications of bagged fertilisers and the dates, rates and type of farmyard manure and slurry when it is applied.

 

My crystal ball is not good enough to know where the cows will be or what the weather will be like in any month, so I need a dynamic nutrient plan for what to put where, and data capture forms.

 

We will meet monthly to update the plan and create our ‘to do list’ for the month ahead.

 

It is a great pity that a web-based tool is not currently available to do just this. It is not just my opinion but it is one of the conclusions of the glossy Slurry-Max 2018 report. This 70- page report highlights the lack of a user-friendly decision support tool.

 

How useful would it be in today’s world to be able to have a tool to encourage savings in fertiliser by better use of slurry and in so doing, encourage a reduction in ammonia and greenhouse gas contribution, a tool to answer society’s questions about farm practice that we could cite in our defence?

 

It seems like a terrible dereliction of duty that our levy board with the competence for RB209 has not stepped up to provide levy payers with a solution.

 

There must surely be opportunities for co-funding from Government and water companies but there seems to be no vision and no solutions forthcoming.

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