A lovely dash of spring yellow

I love oilseed rape. I love the way it heralds the spring with its bright flowers. I’m a simple creature of gaudy tastes and I think it’s been a great addition to the UK landscape. It’s also been a great addition to UK farming.

I can remember The Archers at its most blatant with its mission to inform about farming, with someone in the Bull saying something along the lines of “well Mr Forrest,” (or Zebedee or Dan, or Phil, or one of them – you wouldn’t believe my life has been dedicated to avoiding it), “what price this oilseed rape then?” and getting a 10-minute lecture on the crop’s agronomy and potential markets.

Oilseed rape, despite concerns over how to combat disease, is a crop with a great future. The oilseeds market is the only part of the world’s grains and oilseeds markets that’s looking at all bright. I’m not in the least suggesting you should grow it because Lyddon thinks it looks nice (if people acted on that, the nation would be covered in linseed), but I do think it’s a business option no arable farmer should ignore.

Apart from that, in the latest issue we’re talking antibiotics. I fully accept that it isn’t the UK industry that’s doing the wrong thing here, but the vital importance of making sure that the human race isn’t hit by an epidemic of cholera, or some other terrible disease we thought we’d put behind us means that more controls are likely, and that it’s an issue we need to make sure we, as an industry are right on top of. The National Pig Association is very much to be congratulated on its constructive approach to this issue, something reported in these pages.

I sometimes feel like reminding you that ‘opinions expressed in this journal are not necessarily those of the editor,’ and campaigner Tracy Worcester’s thoughts on pig farming are perhaps one of those occasions. The piece arose when campaign group Farms Not Factories got on to me to tell me how many celebs supported their cause and I responded by saying we weren’t so interested in them, but welcomed opinion, which they then supplied. It’s something to think about.

Also thought provoking, and possibly more practical, is the piece Mark Tucker from Yara very kindly wrote for us on nitrogen use efficiency. Have a good read.

Chris Lyddon
Editor, Farm Business

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