As the Government announces 11 new badger cull licences across England, the latest issue of Farm Business reports on the latest findings from the first two years of culling in Somerset and Gloucestershire.
It is, as the authors of the report stress, early days as previous culling studies suggest it takes four years for ‘measureable significant effects on cattle incidence’ to be observed. However, the findings in terms of cattle TB incidence in and around the two cull areas, particularly in Gloucestershire, appear to back up anecdotal evidence of a positive impact so far of culling on herd health.
There is a quiet optimism and a ‘determination to see the job through’ in Gloucestershire, the article.
In the latest edition, editor Alistair Driver also analyses the leaked Government immigration document and its implications for agriculture. He notes that there is a ‘clear desire’ to curb the influx of so-called ‘low skilled’ workers from the EU by, for example, introducing a cap on their numbers.
It is another wake-up call for the industry, which could face serious labour shortages if this document’s contents are translated into policy and measures to mitigate its impact are not put in place. All talk of future trading opportunities would, after all, be redundant if there simply wont be enough people to produce the food.
Elsewhere in the issue, Richard Wright looks at the increasingly grim situation in the Republic of Ireland where the falling pound is causing the Irish meat and dairy industry lose millions in exports.
Stephen Evans, consumer insight manager at AHDB is calling on producers to show their customers the health benefits of their produce. He points to AHDB research which shows that consumers like to be in in control of their own agenda.
This research also shows there are major opportunities for the industry if producers are willing to shout about how they are meeting the needs of today’s modern consumer, he writes.
There is post-harvest advice from commodity & currency broker Tom Barclay on how to get the best out of the market and a feature on an innovative new venture that takes a different approach to marketing fresh food.