Warwickshire Rural Hub
Here are our most recent industry news stories. To read all news posts please click on one of the categories above.
Code of Practice for the Welfare of Laying Hens is now in force
The new Code of Practice for the Welfare of Laying Hens and Pullets has now come into force. Defra consulted on the code earlier this year and then laid it before Parliament on 5 June. It applies to England only and replaces the Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Laying Hens, which was issued in 2002 which will be revoked on the same date.
You can view the new Code of Practice here.
Environment Agency adopts more flexible approach to water abstraction during dry weather
The Environment Agency is supporting farmers dealing with the pressures of the hot, dry weather by allowing a more flexible approach to water abstraction.
You can read the guidance note here.
RPA guidance on rural payment schemes in hot weather
The RPA has published guidance for farmers facing difficulties meeting requirements for rural grant and payment schemes due to the recent hot and dry weather.
You can access the guidance here.
Newcastle Disease risk is increased to medium
Defra has updated their outbreak assessment for Newcastle Disease (ND) to reflect the increase in outbreaks across Europe.
The risk level for an incursion of ND in poultry in the UK has increased to medium. There have been several outbreaks in Belgium in both commercial and ‘smallholder’ flocks.
Poultry keepers are reminded of the need to review biosecurity and heighten if necessary to reflect the increased risk of disease.
Use of AstroKerb on Rape
Due to the shortage of cereal straw this year some growers are baling rape straw instead of chopping it. Please be aware that if AstroKerb was used as a herbicide on the rape in the autumn/winter the straw cannot be used as animal bedding.
Important message from the Environment Agency regarding slurry application
The Environment Agency have urged farmers to be particularly vigilant and to inspect their fields thoroughly before applying slurry to their land. The prolonged hot weather has left many fields with extensive surface cracks.
If care isn’t taken significant pollution could be caused as these cracks can act as a rapid pathway for slurry to enter land drains. Slurry could pollute watercourses directly if application rates are too high or could remain in the land drains after spreading only to be flushed out during wet weather at a later date causing significant pollution.
The recently introduced Reduction and Prevention of Agricultural Diffuse Pollution (England) Regulations 2018, more commonly referred to as the “Farming Rules for Water” specify that:
“a land manager must ensure that, for each application of organic manure or manufactured fertiliser to agricultural land, the application is planned so that it does not give rise to a significant risk of agricultural diffuse pollution, and that it takes into account the weather conditions and forecasts for that land at the time of the application”.
Hot weather advice from Animal and Plant Health
Animal and Plant Health has issued an advice sheet on potential risk to livestock health and welfare in the current hot weather conditions. You can download the advice sheet below.
Job opportunity with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
Dunsmore Living Landscape Scheme Manager
Salary: £28,000 pa + mileage costs + contributory pension scheme 4.5%
Fixed- term contract to 31st January 2021
Full time: 35 hours per week. (The post will involve some evening and weekend working, for which time off in lieu will be given)
Based at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve, near Coventry, plus travel across landscape area
Are you looking for a new challenge? Want to make your mark at a landscape scale? An excellent opportunity has arisen in Warwickshire to lead on a significant landscape habitat restoration and people engagement scheme.
For further information please visit this website. Closing date for applications is 28 August.
Environment Agency statement on current dry weather conditions
Paul Hickey, head of water resources, Environment Agency has said:
“Over two very dry months, we have seen a rapid decline in reservoir levels in the North West and we support the announcement by United Utilities to manage water supplies by introducing household restrictions.
“Across the rest of England, most groundwater supplies are at healthy levels and water companies have enough water to maintain supplies if resources are managed properly.
“Many rivers around the country have dropped to lower levels than normal for this time of year, which can be damaging to wildlife. We have robust plans in place to respond to these pressures and have stepped up our incident response as well as regulation of those abstracting water to ensure the environment is protected.
“We are meeting with affected groups including farmers to provide practical advice about conserving water and planning for prolonged dry weather. We encourage everyone to use water wisely to conserve supplies and protect the environment.”
Environment Agency data shows that groundwater supplies are normal/above for the time of year, although the majority of river flows are below average. Soil moisture deficits have developed and soils are significantly drier than average for the time of year.
Beware of cold callers
The NFU has received reports of animal rights activists, claiming to be from the NFU, cold-calling farms to gain more information about the badger cull. If you are at all concerned about calls of this nature, please contact the regional NFU office or your county or TB adviser.
Rural Crime Reporting
As part of their ongoing work to tackle the serious issues surrounding criminal behaviour on farms and in the wider countryside, the NFU has partnered with the charity Crimestoppers to launch the Rural Crime Reporting Line, a service through which information about four rural crimes can be given anonymously.
Information can be given about crime relating to:
• large-scale, industrial fly-tipping
• hare coursing
• machinery theft; or
• livestock theft
These rural crimes often go under-reported and their true extent remains unknown. Anyone who has experienced, witnessed or has any information about these rural crimes is encouraged to come forward and call the line – your information could be extremely valuable.
Contact number: 0800 783 0137
Rural crime hits 5 year high
Figures from NFU Mutual show that rural theft claims increased in cost by 13% in 2017, a five year high since a spike in claims in 2010.
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