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

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: 

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. 

 "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:

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...

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.


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  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:

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: 

NFU Cymru has welcomed news of a £1.1m grant aid scheme for small and medium size slaughterhouses in an announcement made by the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths AM.

Wyn Evans, Chairman of the NFU Cymru Livestock Board, said: “Slaughterhouses and processing plants are key players in the red meat supply chain and help contribute to a growing Welsh food industry. It is essential to have a mix of large, medium and small slaughterhouses in Wales to capitalise on the full range of opportunities for the Welsh red meat sector.

“This week’s funding announcement will provide a welcome boost to help future-proof these businesses to ensure their long term survival and avoid any further contraction in the sector.

Roger Parry & Partners have broadly welcomed the Welsh Government’s statement on the future of agriculture and land management in Wales.

The Welsh Government’s announcement made on Wednesday (21 March) acknowledges the challenges faced in light of the significant and swift changes facing Wales as a result of Brexit, and highlights five core principles it believes should underpin the future of Welsh agriculture and land management.

Richard Corbett, Partner with Roger Parry & Partners said, “Wales will soon be outside the Common Agricultural Policy. This inevitably means some very significant changes for agriculture in Wales. This week’s statement from the Cabinet Secretary lays the foundations for securing a bright future for this industry but we look forward to seeing the next layer of detail. Farmers and land managers need to know their interests on the ground will be served in the future.

There are five principles to the Cabinet Secretary’s Statement.

The Welsh Government has sparked rumours mandatory CCTV is on the cards for all slaughterhouses in the country.

Despite initial suggestion there was no sufficient basis to install the cameras in all of its 26 abattoirs back in 2016, the government has this week announced a new £1.1 million Food Business Investment scheme for small and medium sized slaughterhouses to cover ‘the installation and upgrading of CCTV monitoring systems’. 

Farmers are being reminded of the new rules on Quarantine Units (QUs), which replaced Isolation Facilities, ahead of the show season.

“Those wishing to regularly show animals during the show season without falling foul of the six day standstill rule now have no choice but to set up an approved Quarantine Unit,” said FUW Deputy President Brian Thomas.

While the FUW has long been a supporter of changes which would reduce the pressures caused by the six-day standstill rule during busy trading periods as well as the show season, it was one of many industry bodies which highlighted the obstacles represented by high establishment costs and the strictness of the new rules, and that the replacement of isolation facilities could cause major problems for Welsh shows.

“The principle of isolating animals when they come on to a farm is one that should be followed wherever possible, and we had the opportunity of making it second nature by introducing a workable new system.

As sheep worrying cases continue to be publicised at an alarming rate, the National Sheep Association (NSA) is asking dog owners, together with the farming community, to unite in spreading positive messages on enjoying the British countryside responsibly.
Thanks to an increasingly social media savvy population, horrific cases of sheep worrying by dogs continue to be well-documented online. And with the potential to reach thousands, they serve as a powerful tool in highlighting the damage attacks cause.
Katie James, NSA Communications Support Officer, says: “Sheep worrying by dogs is a very serious problem for farmers which isn’t going away, and NSA continues to hear of a frustratingly high number of dog attacks on livestock. We do not want to discourage dog owners from enjoying the beautiful landscapes in Britain, only to do so responsibly and consider the impact an attack can have on farmers business and livelihood as well as animal welfare.”

The Welsh Government’s Finance Secretary, Mark Drakeford, has recently proposed a punitive tax on vacant land which is not used for building.

There are few details currently available, but it appears that this tax is intended to target vacant development land held by developers or those who speculatively accumulate plots. However there is a risk that in practice the proposed “Vacant Land Tax” could discriminate against private rural landowners who possess land within county Local Development Plans.

The concern is that the type of small rural plots owned by many farmers may not be viable to develop. This tax could have unintended consequences and cause significant financial problems in the rural economy, if it is not targeted correctly.

While GB average milk prices paid to farmers closely follow market movements, the degree to which prices respond differs across milk buyers.

At farm level, it is important to understand how sensitive your price is to market fluctuations. While planning should be done on the basis of longer term averages, ideally over the full business cycle, assessing cash flow risks needs an understanding of the sensitivity of your price to market movements.

Based on historical data, AHDB estimated the strength of the relationship between market values and milk prices and the impact market movements have had on prices paid. The results are summarised in the table below.

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