Tag Archives: Crops. Food growers

Produce more using less, farmers told

DEFRA Secretary Hilary Benn has unveiled a Government blueprint for food policy that will present significant opportunities and challenges for farmers over the next two decades.

Launching the Government’s long-awaited ‘Food 2030’ strategy at the Oxford Farming Conference this morning (Tuesday, January 5), Mr Benn said things can no longer carry on as they are.

The way food is produced, consumed and disposed of will all have to change over the next 20 years in response to a future in which climate change, global demand for food and competition for natural resources all become increasingly important.

Hilary Benn

 Read the full report in Farmers Guardian here

Garden Centres should link with schools, says boss!

Backing local primary schools is a “must do” for garden centres according to owner Tim Goodwin of Fosseway Garden Centre in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire. Fosseway linked with a local school  when the centre’s owners discovered a family friend was keen to create a school garden. Goodwin said: “All garden centres should do it. We were really pleased that children wanted to become involved with plants and were delighted to donate to the school a selection of raspberry bushes and fruit trees. Plants producing edible crops always seem very popular with younger gardeners. It’s important that children are encouraged to garden at a young age and we are always pleased when schools encourage this.”

AGRATECH recently asked our customers for help with planting ideas for a sensory garden for a local school for children with learning and pyhsical disabilites, and we hope to move this project forward in the new school year!children gardening


Source Horticulture Week

Cereals 2009


 Cereals  – the leading technical event for the arable industry will be held on 10th & 11th June 2009

Venue – Vine Farm, Wendy, Nr Royston, Cambs,   

Find our more about the show by clicking here

See some of the highlights from last years show. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGGo_GcyBjs]

A Farm for the Future – last chance to see on BBCi Player

There are just 8 hours left to watch the programme,  ‘A Farm for the Future’  via the BBCi player

 A fascinating look into the future of farming, wildlife film maker Rebecca Hosking investigates how to transform her family’s farm in Devon into a low energy farm for the futFarming Without Fossil Fuelsure, and discovers that nature holds the key.

With her father close to retirement, she returned to her family farm in Devon, but last year’s high fuel prices were a wake-up call for Rebecca, with many of her neighbours going bankrupt due to the price hike in everything from tractor diesel, contractors bills, animal feed and fertiliser.

 Realising that all food production in the UK is completely dependent on abundant cheap fossil fuel, particularly oil, she sets out to discover just how secure this oil supply is, and explores ways of farming without using fossil fuel.

(we first bogged about this programme when it was originally aired in February)

See also, the study by Chatham House “Food Supply in the 21st Century: The New Dynamic”

Open Farm Sunday 2009


Open Farm Sunday

Open Farm Sunday

This years Open Farm Sunday  event will take place on 7th June.

Open Farm Sunday is a fantastic opportunity for everyone, young and old to enjoy the living, vibrant countryside. Take time to listen to the birds, soak up the scenery, experience the smells of the farmyard and really get in touch with the land that feeds us. Discover at first hand what it means to be a farmer and taste the produce.

Each event will be unique with its own activities – based around the host farm’s own individual story. Activities during the day may include a farm walk, nature trail, tractor & trailer rides, pond dipping, activities for kids, mini farmers market or picnics.

If  you would like to visit a farm, find the listings here.

If you are a farmer who would like to get involved, there are several Open Farm Sunday Workshops running, which will tell you more about organsing your event! see here for more

New Technology saves spud growers millions!

In the United States, Farmers embracing new technology have saved millions of dollars, according to Wcsh6 news, Mainegrowing-potatoes,

Maine potato growers are thriving thanks to a new technology developed by the University of Maine’s cooperative extension program.

The Pest Integrated Management program helped Maine potato growers save $17 million last year. Extension specialists track weather conditions at six weather centers across the state. That information is then used to figure out when late blight, a fungal disease, is likely to develop.

The specialists use the information to recommend when growers should spray fungicide on their crop to prevent diseases.

“We’ve really managed to minimize the pesticide usage in the state of Maine,” said Jim Dill, a cooperative extension specialist.

Growers say it’s the technology is helping more than just the environment. It’s helping them save money. In a typical year, Steve Crane, a potato farmer in Corinth saved about $60,000 thanks to the technology.

“Each fungicide application to me is about $15,000 for my farm so if I can eliminate two sprays that’s $30,000 less that I put out there,” said Crane.

For many growers who have been in the business for years, using technology was a little hard to embrace.

“My father and uncle were on the farm that were doing this since the ’60s and it was very difficult for them. I would say, ‘we don’t need to spray’ and they’d say: ‘get the sprayer going, we have to spray’ and I’d say: ‘No, no, we’re going to do this by science’,” Crane said.

The hotline for recommendations is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or farmers can view a website for the recommendations. You can read more herepotato-blight

NFU’s ‘New Agenda for Farming Conference’

New Agenda For FarmingThe annual NFU conference, this year themed ‘The New Agenda for Farming’ kicks off in Birmingham next Monday, and upbeat NFU president Peter Kendall is to call on the government to ‘put its money where its mouth is when it comes to farming.’

Mr Kendall’s slot is directly before DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn, who signalled a more progressive attitude towards farmers when he spoke at last month’s Oxford Farming Conference.

“There was lots of really good stuff about Oxford,” says Mr Kendall. “What we want to do is pick up on that and set out the agenda we want to see for farming. We want to set out where farming has come from and show where it needs to go.”

In particular, he highlights Mr Benn’s “no ifs, not buts” Oxford insistence that the government wants British farmers to produce as much food as possible – so long as doing so sustains the environment and safeguards the landscape.

The government is at last starting to acknowledge the importance of agriculture, believes Mr Kendall, especially when it comes to food security. The view of Britain as a rich country that can buy itself out of trouble is crumbling, he adds.

“DEFRA is starting to make a lot of noises about food production being important. We want to make sure we have an input into government policy that means farming has a better chance of being successful and thriving.”

Mr Benn’s speech is not the only sign that the government has finally woken up to the potential of British agriculture. Just before Christmas, the Home Office increased the number of work permits for migrant farm workers by 5000.

The number of workers entering Britain under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme had been restricted to 16,250. But the number will rise to 21,250 this year in a bid to overcome a labour shortage that had seen crops left unharvested, states the Farmers Weekly