Don’t miss this month’s new look Arable Farming. Take a look at the digital edition today.
In his Talking Policy column this month (p68), NFU combinable crops board chairman Matt Culley highlights some of the impacts of Covid-19 on the arable sector, including the rising cost of bulk haulage linked to the shutdown of construction and lack of backload demand. His comments prompted me to revisit a recent article on food security in The Economist, which revealed the impact the shutdown in air travel has had on New Zealand’s agricultural exports to China – planes that did not bring tourists in one direction would not take agricultural produce back in the other. Admittedly a more international issue than the one we face with grain movements, but it underlines the vital importance of connectivity in supply chains, particularly relevant as the UK embarks on post-Brexit trade talks with the EU and trading partners around the world. Don’t miss Abi Kay’s analysis of the recent Agriculture Bill amendment vote and its implications for UK trade policy in her Politics Watch column (p10). Even as the lockdown starts to ease, staying connected is a big part of our daily lives at present, be it with family and friends, customers or the organisations and individuals we rely on to help us do our work. At this time of year we would all normally be looking forward to completion of spring fieldwork and having the time to head out to some of the technical open days, plot tours and shows taking place – traditionally a time in the arable calendar for renewing existing connections and making new ones. Cereals will not be happening this summer but there will be an online event and those businesses and organisations that would have been exhibiting still have new product launches, news and information to share. In our Cereals Special in this issue we bring you as much news of planned activities as we could gather and will be updating information online at www.arablefarming.com. Elsewhere we take an in-depth look at developments in precision weed control, where advances in technology look set to deliver ‘green-on-green’, site specific spraying in cereals. And with the spraying season in full swing, we hear why investing in the latest application technology is a priority for one farm business. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has recently updated its position on the mycotoxin Ochratoxin A, concluding that there is a health concern for most consumer groups and so our report on an ongoing UK grain analysis project is particularly timely. Please do stay connected. And stay safe.