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Farming Today


New Young Farmers' event, county council farms, pigeon pests

Plans are afoot for a different kind of Young Farmers' event, following the cancellation of the annual convention because of anti social behaviour. How a county council is bucking the trend and planning to buy rather than sell off agricultural land. As part of the week's look at farm pests, we hear how farmers deal with pigeons destroying newly planted crops. And a dairy farmer describes his joy at the arrival of rain. Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.


Soil biology, Pest control, Bees flourishing

There are more living things in one teaspoon of soil than there are people on the planet. One gram of soil can contain several billion bacteria from thousands of different species. Farming Today hears how a new project will use soil samples from across the country to help unpick soil biology. British farmers face a constant battle against pests - here there are 70,000 different species that attack agricultural crops. To kick off a week devoted to pests and their control Sybil Ruscoe speaks to the plant health advisor at the National Farmers' Union. The heatwave may have caused problems for many farmers, but in the hives the bees have been busy making honey. In Somerset, flourishing bramble flowers have made it a bumper year for bees. Presented by Sybil Ruscoe Produced by Alun Beach.


Farming Today This Week: Harvest 2018

Sybil Ruscoe visits Weir End farm in Herefordshire to meet star of #combinekaraoke Ally Hunter Blair and find out how the weather is affecting this year's harvest of Spring Barley, Wheat and Oilseed Rape. Ally explains that although yields are down prices have gone up so in many ways they'll probably finish up in the same position as last year, but it's the quality of the crops being produced that's of most concern. They sit down with Ally's Father Graham, now retired from the farm but who still confesses to annoying his Son on a daily basis. With just four days of harvesting left to go Ally is itching to get started again but there's just time for he and Sybil to hop into the cab for a spot of #combinekaraoke. Producer: Toby Field.


Wheat Genome, Fishing Quotas, Willow Bats

Wheat is one of the most complex structures on the planet and now the complete sequence of the wheat genome has been published. And that's a big deal for farming because understanding the vast data discovered will lead to new innovations in breeding and disease resistance. Philippa Borrill, a Research Fellow at the John Innes Centre in Norwich is one of the 200 scientists, from 73 research institutions world-wide, who've unlocked the secrets of the wheat genome. A Plymouth based fisherman has been fined for cheating on his quota of fish. Graeme Searle was chargedĀ£22,000 in fines and costs for landing 4 tonnes of pollock from one of boats, but claiming it was caught by a different boat, which hadn't actually left the harbour. The false record would have allowed him to exceed his quota for the month. Searle is part of the Plymouth-based Sole of Discretion small boat collective which brands itself as 'ethical&sustainable' business providing fish to restaurants, delis and box schemes. It was set up by Caroline Bennett who founded the Mushi Mushi sushi restaurant in London in the mid-1990s. Caroline accepts that Graham Searle broke the rules but she argues the case highlights a hopeless situation for Britain's small boats, which have a tiny proportion of the total UK quota. And we meet a Shropshire farmer who's planted willow trees to make cricket bats. Presented by Sybil Ruscoe and produced by Sally Challoner.


AHDB Dairy Campaign, Harvest Fires, Lamb Prices

More money has been announced to support a pro-dairy campaign. Sybil Ruscoe asks Rebecca Miah from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board what they hope to achieve and whether they've been quick enough to react to the growing prominence of plant-based diets which are often promoted on social media. The hot weather has proven troublesome for many farmers, and Jackie O'Brien has been to Europe's largest one-day sheep sale in Lairg to find out how this year has been a buyers' market. And whilst this hot weather has meant an early harvest for many it's also caused a huge fire risk as Robert and Joey Hodgkins of Cherry Tree Farm in Hertfordshire found out. Howard Shannon went to meet them. Producer: Toby Field.


Call to ban using CO2 to slaughter pigs, Farmers in the nude, Barcodes on meat

There has been a call to to ban using CO2 to stun pigs before slaughter. Georgina Crayford from the National Pig Association gives Sybil Ruscoe her response. An Australian firm have designed a silicone tag to add to steaks which works like a barcode designed to give consumers the opportunity to find out where and how the meat has been produced. Sybil has been along to a photo session with four farmers all taking their kit off for a calendar to raise money for an Oncology unit. Will she bare all for the cameras? Mariclare Carey Jones has been to meet a farmer to find out how the rapeseed harvest has been affected by the hot dry summer. Producer: Toby Field.