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I read recently that banking, the car industry and agriculture were the three main sectors of the UK economy most likely to be affected by Brexit. Amid reports of leading banks making plans to quit the UK in early 2017, the British Bankers’ Association is reported to be in ‘intense negotiations’ with the Government.
Nissan’s wobble over any future investment in its Sunderland car plant saw the Prime Minister pledge a package of support to counter any damage resulting from the UK’s exit from the EU, suggesting the car manufacturing industry can expect a helping hand if the going gets tough.
And farming? Well it would be difficult to up sticks and take our business elsewhere. We have, of course, had the guarantee of funding until 2020 and that was good news, for the shortterm at least. Or was it? Since then Ministers’ assurances on subsidies appear to have been contradicted, with signs farming could be pitched against the NHS and other spending priorities in a battle for cash. The City and the automotive industry are looking to the long-term – certainly beyond the next three years – and the farming industry must have the opportunity to do the same.
Out in the field autumn is slipping away gently, which has its pluses and minuses. In large parts of the South and East some very dry conditions have kept cultivators and drills in the yard, prompting last-minute rethinks of cropping plans and herbicide programmes. Sadly, with blackgrass emergence dragging its heels this autumn, the full benefits of delayed drilling are unlikely to be realised.
But while it might not have been the best of autumns for stale seedbeds, at least an application of glyphosate has still been an option. MEP Merja Kyllonen’s revelation the herbicide could be banned by the end of 2017 provided an unwelcome reminder of the weight of political influence on the availability of crop protection actives.
For the Arable Farming team this is a time of year for looking forward as we prepare for CropTec 2016 at the end of November – don’t miss our event preview in this issue – and Lamma in January, and back as we review the events which have shaped the year. It has without doubt been a year of challenge and upheaval on many fronts, from a difficult growing season, through Brexit, to the ‘megamergers’ taking place in the agchem sector. And it isn’t over yet.
See you at CropTec.