It may not be entirely surprising that the Labour Party manifesto has little on farming and rural issues but the Conservatives have even less, promising only that the current level of support for farming will be maintained until 2022. The Liberal Democrats have a little more but rural seats are their main priority. Meantime, George Eustice has suggested that it might take until 2025 to fully implement a British replacement for the European Common Agricultural Policy.
A new guideline will come into force this autumn for the use of metaldehyde slug pellets to head off a potential ban. Voluntary for this year but mandatory from the autumn of 2018, a buffer zone of ten metres from any field boundary or watercourse should be established in which no slug pellets are applied. Metaldehyde has been found in watercourses in increasing concentrations and will be banned unless this pollution can be prevented.
The volume of lamb imported from New Zealand into this country fell by 18% in the first three months of this year compared to the same period in 2016, driven largely by the depreciation in the value of sterling. Lamb production in New Zealand is falling with a predicted 4% decrease in the number of lambs slaughtered year on year. Meanwhile, exports of lamb from the UK to Germany have risen sharply, partly due to the number of Muslim immigrants into that country.
A celebration of 100 years of Fordson tractors was held near Devizes on the first May Bank Holiday. Organised by T H White to commemorate the first Fordson tractor to roll off the production line in 1917, more than 150 Ford and Fordson tractors of all vintages were shown off to a large gathering.