A report prepared for the United Nations, the summary of which was published in Paris earlier this month, paints a very bleak picture for wildlife on Earth. Over a million species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction. Loss of habitat is the biggest cause with 100 million hectares of tropical rainforest lost between 1980 and 2000 whilst only 13%of the wetland present in 1700 remains today. Soil degradation continues, reducing the productivity of 23% of the land surface. Unless urgent action is taken now, this loss of biodiversity will become irreversible and lead to the eventual total destruction of the planet.
Shortage of Vets
Farmers may find it more difficult to have an independent local vet in future as significant consolidation takes place. This is due to poor profitability and a shortage of vets prepared to take on large animal farm work. The number of firms is shrinking fast with the sector likely to be dominated by a very small number of very large practices within ten years.
Oilseed Rape area to crash
Growing oilseed rape without neonicotinoid seed dressing is proving so difficult that many farmers are likely to abandon the crop, especially in the south-east. It is expensive to grow anyway and returns are not particularly attractive even before the losses down to flea beetle and pigeons, put at 10% this year. The only reason why some will continue is that other break crops such as peas and beans are even less profitable. Even if the area crashes this autumn, it is thought that imports will restrict any significant price rises.
Slowdown in new AD Plants
The decline in rates of the fed-in tariff and its final abolition on 31st March has caused a significant slowdown in the commissioning of new Anaerobic Digestion plants. Only 13 new plants, outside the sewage treatment sector, were commissioned in the year to April, taking the total to 486. This compares with around 50 new plants in each of the previous two years. It was possible to apply for pre-accreditation before the end of the tariff provided the plant is built within twelve months. There were 39 of those, as a result of which there will be a short-term increase this year.