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My Blog : Farmers Guardian

Russell McKenzie: 'UK farming has an important role to play'

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Russell is farm manager for John Sheard Farms and a partner in the family farm of D.J. Tebbit, responsible for a total of 995 hectares (2,457 acres), with land crossing into Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Cropping is split between winter wheat grown for seed, milling and feed, winter barley, winter oilseed rape, spring barley, spring beans and spring oats. Russell is an AHDB monitor farmer and a 2014 Nuffield Scholar.

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Last month, the European Commission submitted new proposals to a Standing Committee of Plants, Animals, Food and Feed in Brussels to ban all outdoor uses of neonicotinoid seed treatments in non-bee attractive crops, such as wheat, barley, sugar beet and vegetables.

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Russell is farm manager for John Sheard Farms and a partner in the family farm of D.J. Tebbit, responsible for a total of 995 hectares (2,457 acres), with land crossing into Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Cropping is split between winter wheat grown for seed, milling and feed, winter barley, winter oilseed rape, spring barley, spring beans and spring oats. Russell is an AHDB monitor farmer and a 2014 Nuffield Scholar.

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It is impossible to go onto Twitter at the moment without having your screen melt down with one of the most extreme examples of preaching to the converted I have ever seen: the campaign to save glyphosate from being banned by the EU and the hashtag #glyphosateisvital.

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Russell is farm manager for John Sheard Farms and a partner in the family farm of D.J. Tebbit, responsible for a total of 995 hectares (2,457 acres), with land crossing into Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Cropping is split between winter wheat grown for seed, milling and feed, winter barley, winter oilseed rape, spring barley, spring beans and spring oats. Russell is an AHDB monitor farmer and a 2014 Nuffield Scholar.

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Agriculture is a thirsty business. Between keeping livestock healthy, crops watered and washing down equipment, running a farm requires substantial amounts of water. It is little wonder the sector is estimated to represent around 70 per cent of total global water use.

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A week of decent drying weather towards the end of February lured me into a false sense of security that spring was around the corner.

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From the editor: Nightmare death toll in agriculture has got to end

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If any other business or industrial sector had the same death toll as agriculture there would be uproar. Imagine if a sector such as aerospace or car manufacturing had seen nine people killed in February alone by a mixture of falling implements and runaway vehicles, the authorities and media would be all over them.

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The next few years are likely to see a seismic shift in farming policy due to Brexit, invariably resulting in a new contract emerging between farmers and society.

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Charles Bruce farms near Banff, Aberdeenshire, and has 98 hectares (242 acres) of owned land, 76ha (188 acres) of malting barley which is contract farmed, and rented seasonal grazings extending to 40ha (99 acres). Running an 80-cow fold of pedigree Highland cattle, these are used to supply an on=farm butchery business and his Bogside Farm Shop. There is a commercial ewe flock of about 230-head and a trout fishery is also run as part of the business.

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