Don’t miss this month’s new look Arable Farming. Take a look at the digital edition today.
Most of you reading this will live and work in the countryside and sadly some of you will have been affected in some way by rural crime. So it saddened me to read recently that one-in-four farmers did not see the point in reporting rural crime incidents.
Which means countless cases of fly-tipping, littering, arson, crop damage and hare-coursing are going unreported. Not to mention theft, the scale of which is mind-boggling – machinery, diesel, farm trucks, animals, workshop equipment, quad bikes – even the gas cylinders off gas guns put out to scare off pigeons.
So if you have been resigned to shrugging your shoulders, heaving a sigh of despair and wondering where the police are when you need them, you might to some extent be reassured by a call from the National Rural Crime Survey for rural communities to have their say on the true picture of rural crime. Rural crime affects our livelihoods, our communities and our countryside. Don’t stand by in silence. The 2018 survey is open for submissions until June 10.
Later this year Europe’s most advanced environmental testing facility for agrochemicals will open at Fera Science’s UK headquarters near York. Yet another indicator of the leading role the UK plays in testing the safety of crop protection products. With the UK’s Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD) widely seen as being one of the most effective and respected regulatory authorities in the world, there is surely a case, as the NFU has concluded in its ‘Improving Pesticide Regulation’ report, for Brexit to provide an opportunity for better, more efficient regulation in this area. We must continue to press this case in the weeks and months ahead.
Reading the latest contributions from our Arable Farming columnists, it is clear this spring has been the most difficult many have seen in their working lifetime. While there has been some improvement in the weather, land remains wet in many cases and spring planting and crop management plans are in chaos.
So requests from farming Ministers to the EU Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan for a one-year, UK-wide derogation to the three crop rule are to be welcomed. Complying with the rule will be difficult this year, if not impossible, for many.
It seems incredible, given the weather, that I am already signing off our May issue. Let’s hope for some good conditions in the coming weeks to give crops a fighting chance of delivering a respectable yield come harvest.