Current News 04-08-22

  • Written by Andrew Davis
  • Posted on Aug 04, 2022
  • Articles

European Harvest Downgraded

The latest reports from the harvest in Europe suggest that yields have been hit by drought and record temperatures.  Cereal yields are down 2% on the five year average whilst maize, sunflowers and soya bean are expected to be down by 8% to 9%.  Prices are very volatile as this report is offset to some extent by the possibility of some exports from the Ukraine.

Save Our Grassland

A recent report in the Atlantic highlights the importance of grassland as an ecosystem that is hugely undervalued.  The loss of rainforest causes an outcry across the world and yet there is little recognition of the loss of ancient grassland, savannah or veld.  They support a huge range of wildlife and have vast amounts of stored carbon and should therefore have the same protection as forest.  And yet, in many countries, activists demand that trees are planted in grassland that they see as a degraded landscape.

Animal Health and Welfare Pathway

Grants are available from the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway for vets to visit livestock farms for an annual review.  Still in the pilot stage, rates of grant are £684 for the visit to a pig farm, £522 for beef, £436 for sheep and £372 for dairy.  Each visit will last three hours during which advice will be given on both the animal welfare and health of stock and farm biosecurity.  However, one prominent professor of veterinary science has lambasted the scheme for its overwhelming bureaucracy with a long list of tick boxes to be filled in.  As vets are regulated by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, he argues that a simple certificate of compliance should suffice.

Drones used for deer management

Drones equipped with thermal imaging technology are being used on a 1,000 hectare conservation area of newly planted trees in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.  Images from the drones can be used to identify the number and location of deer present to help stalkers control the population to prevent damage to the establishing woodland.  However, the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) suggests that killing deer is not the right approach but their food supply should be restricted instead.  How is animal welfare protected if deer starve rather than be shot?