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News from AgriWales - A blog about everything and anything that's happening

A new highly sensitive and specific blood test for bovine TB, Actiphage, has been accepted for exceptional private use in England.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) said the test could be used in cases where a farm has had an ongoing chronic bovine TB problem.

For the full article see: https://www.fginsight.com/news/top-stories/new-highly-sensitive-bovine-tb-test-approved-by-apha-61476 

EXPLORE YOUR LOCAL FARM

Hundreds of farms across the country are throwing open their farm gates soon for this year's Open Farm Sunday event, on 10 June. It's a great opportunity to explore your local farm and see first-hand what goes into producing the nation’s food.

Lots of different activities will be on offer, from tractor rides and farm walks, to farm demonstrations and a chance to meet the animals, so pop the date in your diary now for a fun day out with the family.

FIND A FARM NEAR YOU

The only window for the Welsh Government's Young People into Agriculture Scheme  is open now! 150 farmers are being offered start-up aid of up to £40,000 but expressions of interest must be made before 12th June 2018.

For more information, including the guidance notes and  selection criteria see:

https://beta.gov.wales/young-people-agriculture-2018-guidance-applicants

Buying British produce from British farmers will be just as important after Brexit as it is now according to an MP.
Farming leaders have called for farmers and growers to remain the number one supplier of choice to UK consumers when Britain finally leaves the EU. Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies, who is also a farmer himself, has again insisted it is an uncertain time for farmers in Wales and across the UK.

But has urged people in Montgomeryshire and the UK to keep buying local after Brexit.

He said: "I think it is always the case that you need people to buy local, and that is what I want to happen after Brexit.

"In Montgomeryshire and Powys farming is a big part of the economy, and we want that to continue.

"I think it will be the same message, for people to continue to buy local regardless of Brexit."

The National Farmers' Union wants to see the planned new farming policy after the UK leaves the European Union allow consumers to enjoy more sustainable, quality and affordable British food, whatever their income.

Did you know that if you have Japanese Knotweed on a property or even nearby, it is now necessary for a mortgage provider to have a Japanese Knotweed Survey and Management Plan before they agree to lend...

Farming budgets for the devolved nations are unlikely to be cut after Brexit because of the unpopular Barnett Formula used by the UK to distribute cash, Defra Ministers have hinted.

For the full article see: https://www.fginsight.com/news/news/barnett-formula-unlikely-to-cut-devolved-farming-budgets-after-brexit--60083 

Many farm businesses diversify from traditional farming to other related activities such as livery or hay making for horses. This may be a result of lifestyle changes or perhaps other potential incentives aligned with the Government’s so called Green Brexit.

In such circumstances, they need to be aware of the impact that such a change could have on their entitlement to tax reliefs particularly inheritance tax.

Agricultural Property Relief (APR) can enable a farmer to pass qualifying property, either during their lifetime or as a part of their estate, free of capital gains tax and inheritance tax.

While property that is used to grow crops or to rear animals is quite clearly agricultural property, hay making for horses can mean that the land does not qualify as agricultural. This could prove a target for HMRC looking to deny APR claims. This follows a recent case in which HMRC sought to deny Business Property Relief to a livery business.

Time is running out, but the National Sheep Association (NSA) is encouraging all sheep farmers, regardless of their farm size or type, to respond to Defra’s Agriculture Bill command paper – a consultation exercise that will share the future of farming for many years to come.
 
Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, explains: “Most sheep farmers will never have heard of a ‘command paper’ before, and now one exists that will directly influence their future. The Agriculture Bill command paper marks the start of a consultation process to pass legislation in advance of our departure from the EU, and it is vital that those on the ground make their voices heard at this early stage.”
 
The deadline for responses is Tuesday 8th May, and NSA says that while the process is not a short one, individuals unable to go through the whole paper in detail can go online and just answer the select options and choose the questions that interest them.

Unity among the devolved regions over the UK Government’s post-Brexit ‘power grab’ has been torn to shreds after the Welsh Government agreed to a new deal from Westminster which was rejected by the Scots.

Scotland and Wales had previously been working together to fight clause 11 of the EU Withdrawal Bill, which would see EU powers in devolved areas such as agriculture transferred to the UK Government.

To read the full article see: https://www.fginsight.com/news/news/scotland-and-wales-split-over-uks-farming-power-grab--59227 

An opportunity for sheep breeders to feed into an exciting research project assessing UK sheep genetics and its future possibilities awaits those attending this year’s National Sheep Association (NSA) Breed Society Forum
 
All NSA-affiliated sheep breed societies are invited to join the annual forum on Thursday 3rd May at Hampden House, Chalgrove, Oxfordshire, a one-day event providing an effective information network for those involved in pedigree livestock production in the UK.
 
Attendees  can look forward to an informative and valuable day with numerous sheep industry experts joining NSA staff and office holders in providing updates and insights into the latest developments and work in the UK sheep sector, especially important as the UK moves ever closer to its departure from the EU.
 
One highlight of the day will be a unique insight and opportunity to assist in a new, Defra-funded research project led by the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) and Scottish Rural College (SRUC), supported by NSA. Following an introduction to the project by AHDB researchers Sam Boon and Kim Matthews, and NSA Livestock Researcher Nicola Smith, attendees will be invited to join an interactive workshop to assess the current UK sheep genetic resource, the targets the UK is aiming to reach in this area and how they can be achieved.

The Welsh Government is offering 150 farmers up to £40,000 worth of start-up aid as part of their Young People into Agriculture Scheme.

£6million will be made available to fund the scheme which intends to help people prepare their business for life outside of the EU, as well as helping develop leadership skills.

The target audience for the scheme is high achieving individuals under 40 years of age that are looking to establish a new business or develop an already existing one. The successful applicants will need to demonstrate abilities to lead a dynamic business and drive changes in the industry.

Expressions of Interest can be made between 1 April and 31 May.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation

Published 16 April 18

The snapshot is an at-a-glance update on the latest trends and data in the dairy markets, with the option to click through and find out further information. 

https://dairy.ahdb.org.uk/resources-library/market-information/monthly-reports/april-2018-report/#.WtdwrUxFx9M 

 "AHDB Dairy provides products and services to improve the sustainability of British dairy farming. We do this by providing independent, evidence-based information to British dairy farmers on:
·         Animal fertility, health and welfare
·         Business management
·         Technical efficiency
·         Perception of dairy farming with the public
For more information visit the AHDB Dairy website:  www.dairy.ahdb.org.uk

The two events, in Denbighshire and north Ceredigion, will be delivered by shearing expert Selwyn Williams.

Two free shearing workshops for all ability levels are being held in Wales in late April and early May.

Both have been arranged by farm supplies firm Cox and Ritchey – part of the Allflex UK Group – and blade manufacturer Heiniger.

Each will offer advice sessions and live shearing demonstrations for young shearers and semi-professional and professional contract shearers, as well as sheep farmers.

A ban on live animal exports would be ‘remarkably shortsighted’ given the uncertainty around a post-Brexit trade deal and agricultural tariffs, the Farmers’ Union of Wales has said.

The UK and Welsh Governments yesterday (April 9) launched a call for evidence on a UK-wide ban on the export of live animals for overseas slaughter - something not possible while the UK remains part of the EU, due to EU free trade rules.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We will naturally be consulting with members over this issue, but our current position is that it would be remarkably short sighted to introduce a ban on live exports at the same time as massive tariffs on meat exports to the EU might be introduced.”

Mr Roberts said such a ban could cut off an essential lifeline for sheep farmers, given tariffs of around 50% of product value could apply on meat once we leave the EU, and that this would collapse the trade in sheepmeat exports, which currently represents around a third of Welsh lamb sales.

But vets suggest animals should be transported ‘on the hook, as meat, not on the hoof, as live animals’.

Unions have spoken out after a move which appeared to show the government pressing ahead with plans to ban live exports.

Defra announced its decision...

https://www.fginsight.com/news/top-stories/defra-calls-for-evidence-on-live-exports-but-industry-warns-ban-would-be-remarkably-short-sighted-58005

The Farmers’ Union of Wales says Irish fodder aid schemes highlight and add to concerns in Wales over the impact months of wet weather are having on fodder supplies and prices.

Diminishing fodder supplies in the Republic of Ireland led the Irish Government to introduce a fodder transport subsidy scheme in January, with payments of between €3 and €17 per bale transported, depending on size.

Meanwhile, dairy processors in the republic, which were previously sourcing fodder on the domestic Irish market on behalf of their milk suppliers, have switched to sourcing from mainland UK, with the first Dairygold subsidised shipment totalling 2,500 tonnes having arrived at Rosslare port on Thursday (April 5), and more loads due to follow in the coming days.

The 2013 Irish fodder crisis saw the importation of some 10,000 tonnes of fodder into Ireland, mainly from the UK.

Dai Miles, FUW Milk and Dairy Committee Chairman, said:  “Persistent wet weather has left many fields in Wales completely saturated for months, and grass growth remains extremely poor across the country.  

“Many of our members are unable to turn cattle out onto the land and this means an increasing reliance on diminishing fodder supplies as cattle remain housed.  

“We alerted the Welsh Government to concerns about the impact of fodder shortages many weeks ago, and reports of acute problems in some regions are increasing.

APRIL 2018 - LEGAL UPDATE 

Land Transaction Tax for Welsh Transactions

For transactions completed on or after 1st April 2018, the new Land Transaction Tax applies based on the rates and bands approved by the National Assembly for Wales.  To assist in establishing the tax you need to pay, a calculator can be used online at https://lttcalculator.wra.gov.wales/.  If, as an individual you already own one or more residential properties, you may need to pay the higher residential rate.  For further information, contact our Adrian Foulkes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

MOT Rule Changes

A new MOT rule comes into force on 20th May 2018.  It includes three new defect categories being dangerous, major and minor.  A dangerous or major defect will result in an MOT fail.  Furthermore, tighter limits on smoke for diesel vehicles are being introduced in order to help improve air quality.  Vehicles more than 40 years old without substantial improvements will be exempt from requiring an MOT.

Single Application Form 2018

The Rural Payments Wales Online “Manage My Land” service has replaced the Field Maintenance (FM4) paper forms, which are no longer available.

The online service should be used to submit information on land registrations, boundary maintenance, new or changed permanent features, and any transfers of land.

Users are also reminded that changes must be submitted within 30 days in order to avoid any penalties.

RPW have produced step by step instructions for help with using the online service which can be found here.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation 

For more about Green & Co Farms see: https://agriwales.co.uk/listings/farming-agriculture/farm-accounts-bookkeeping/green-co-farms

With the 2018 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) application window now open, Roger Parry and Partners are urging farmers in both England and Wales to book an appointment with one of their expert land management professionals to complete this year’s form as soon as possible.

Completion of the form ensures access to farm support under the BPS in both England and Wales and agri-environment schemes in Wales.

In 2017 Roger Parry and Partners helped over 500 farmers fill in their application forms, including many complex cross-border farmers dealing with Rural Payments Wales (RPW) and the Rural Payments Agency England.

Roger Parry, Senior Partner at Roger Parry and Partners said, “BPS payments and a number of Rural Development Schemes cannot be secured without submitting an application form, so this is one of the most crucial forms farmers will complete.

“Our professionals have extensive experience in filling in BPS application forms and will ensure that sufficient time and care is taken to guarantee its accuracy. We have also been specifically selected for our specialist knowledge, expertise and reputation as a NFU and NFU Cymru panel firm so members of the Union will also benefit from a discounted rate.”

Defra has made a conscious decision to allow up to a quarter of the UK’s least efficient farms to ‘disappear’, according to an agricultural expert advising the Welsh Government.

For more see: https://www.fginsight.com/news/news/defra-makes-decision-to-let-quarter-of-uk-farms-disappear-57116 

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