The latest news about food, farming and the countryside
With areas of the UK struggling with drought, we speak to a farm business which has invested hundreds of thousands of pounds building reservoirs to store winter rain ready for summer. One sure way to avoid much of the weather's impact is to grow inside - not just in greenhouses but in vertical farms which look more like warehouses. The Jones Food Company, which specialises in growing this way, has just opened a new research centre in Bristol to trial growing more veg and fruit inside. Harvest 2022 is already around two weeks ahead of previous summers, as the dry weather allows farmers to get out in the fields earlier. We speak to an analyst from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board about the opportunities and challenges of the heat. Presented by Charlotte Smith.
The British Growers' Association, which represents the horticulture and fresh produce industries, is warning of a potential crisis in the sector because of rising costs, water shortages and difficulties finding workers. They've just carried out research into carrot and broccoli production and say unless farmers get paid more for their veg, they'll be forced to stop growing it. As the Environment Agency declares July to have been the driest in England on record since 1935, two farmers in Suffolk tell us how their farms are affected. Is planting into dry ground worthwhile, and should they invest in new irrigation systems? Tenant farmers manage 35% of the UK's farmed land area, and are a vital part of the food growing network, but are facing increasing challenges as land values rise. We speak to a farmer who has is losing a large proportion of the land his family have farmed for 40 years in Northumberland. And we hear the folk song which, it's hoped, will draw attention to the work of migrant seasonal workers. It was commissioned by researchers from the University of Leeds and Oxford, who are running a project called 'Feeding the Nation' to track the experiences of workers throughout the 2020 and 2021 harvests. Presented by Charlotte Smith Produced in Bristol by Natalie Donovan
Farmers in Australia are used to hot weather and droughts, but they've had a whole series of extreme weather events to contend with lately - including widespread flooding. Anna Hill talks to a spokesman from the National Farmers' Federation in Australia, who explains how the situation there is contributing to the global food supply crisis. Meanwhile the UK's National Drought Group met yesterday. With predictions that by 2050 some rivers could contain between 50 and 80 per cent less water during the summer months, how should farmers be managing their water supplies in the longer term? And we meet the "Pint-Sized Farmer" - who's been using social media to open up a new window on the farming world. Presented by Anna Hill and produced in Bristol by Emma Campbell.
The British Growers' Association, which represents the horticulture and fresh produce industries, is warning of a potential crisis in the sector, as input costs spiral and the price they are paid is kept stubbornly low. They've just carried out research into carrot and broccoli production and say unless farmers get paid more for their veg, they'll be forced to stop growing it. As the drought continues in parts of the UK, some farmers are keeping a close eye on their valuable irrigation systems. They're fast becoming a target for thieves - joining other farm essentials like quad bikes, diesel, GPS systems and machinery parts. This year's report by the rural insurer NFU Mutual, published this week, says the cost of rural crime is now back up to pre-pandemic levels. We join one farmer in Cambridgeshire who regularly patrols his fields. All week we've been looking at the issues facing tenant farmers. Today we meet a couple who - despite multiple applications - have had no luck finding a new tenancy. They currently rent a farm but the landlord has decided to sell. Gooseberries are often seen as a rather old-fashioned fruit, but they do make good pies! And if you want to find the best gooseberries, Egton Bridge near Whitby is the place to be this week. It's the home to the UK's oldest gooseberry show which has taken place in the first week in August for 222 years. It attracts gooseberry fans from across the UK. The presenter is Caz Graham.
Farmers who currently get the highest level of government support for looking after the environment have been told they will be able to carry those schemes over for a further five years. We ask if that's good news, or if it could mean more delays for farmers transferring to the new Environmental Land Management schemes. We continue our look into Tenant Farming - today we hear concerns that farmers signed up for short tenancies could find applying for those new environmental protection schemes more difficult. Fiona Clampin meets Lewis Steer in Dartmoor. And we hear a new folk song that's been written to pay tribute to migrant seasonal workers. It was commissioned by researchers from the University of Leeds and Oxford who are running a project called 'Feeding the Nation' to track the experiences of workers throughout the 2020 and 2021 harvests. Presented by Caz Graham Produced in Bristol by Natalie Donovan
As the world's leading soil scientists gather in Glasgow, we hear calls for a total re-think of how we measure soil health. According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, a third of agricultural soil is “moderately” to “highly” degraded, threatening global food supplies, increasing carbon emissions and reducing its capacity to hold water. But how do scientists evaluate the health of soil - and is the way they've been using the best one? As the Environment Agency declares July to have been the driest in England on record since 1935, two farmers in Suffolk tell us how their farms are affected. Is planting into dry ground worthwhile, and should they invest in new irrigation systems? And all this week we are talking about the issues faced by tenant farmers. Today we're in Gloucestershire with pig farmer Helen Wade, who would like to share her tenanted land with a new farmer. Presented by Caz Graham Produced in Bristol by Natalie Donovan
A review looking into robots on farms has been published, it calls for more cooperation between academia, business and farmers. It also recommends a longer-term seasonal workers scheme so that agriculture has enough staff while the automation industry becomes more mainstream. We hear from a farm in Cornwall where robots are already being used to plant crops. All this week Farming Today will be looking at tenant farmers. They manage 35% of the UK's farmed land area, and are a vital part of the food growing network. But they face some challenges - from increasingly shorter tenancies to a lack of available land. Council owned farms have also been sold off as the money is needed elsewhere. Charlotte Smith finds out about the difficulties facing tenants. Presented by Charlotte Smith and produced in Bristol by Sally Challoner.
Scottish MP Angus MacNeil is calling for a cull of sea eagles as farmers and crofters say they are taking more lambs as numbers grow. The bird - with a wing-span of around two metres - was driven to extinction in Scotland, until reintroduction programmes in the 1970s brought them back. Now there are more than a hundred breeding pairs. NatureScot is offering management schemes, including funding extra shepherds to help farmers. But so far there is no compensation for lost revenue, and no plans for a managed cull. Dutch farmers have been making headlines around the world, not for their agricultural produce but intensive protests. Tractors have rolled up outside parliament, blocked supermarket distribution centres and turned up outside politicians' homes. Even Donald Trump has weighed in, in support of the farmers. The demonstrations are against the Dutch government's plans to cut harmful nitrogen emissions to meet climate targets. The farmers argue the government's proposals are unrealistic and unfairly target their industry. The presenter is Charlotte Smith.
As part of our week looking at the global food crisis, we turn our attention to Northern Italy, where in some areas a state of emergency has been declared. Water levels in the River Po have hit record lows, and the largest farmers' union has warned that the drought could threaten more than 30% of agricultural produce. Italy is the EU's biggest rice producer, and we hear from an agronomist working to make growing rice more sustainable. We report on how a huge engineering project has begun to remove an 18th century weir from the River Nidd in North Yorkshire, to restore the natural life of the river system in the area. And as scientists in Belgium look into the effect music might have on pigs, we hear from a farmer in Suffolk who says classical tunes help to calm his stock. Presented by Charlotte Smith and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
Anna Hill finds asks why some countries impose export restrictions on agricultural products, and finds out how political decisions affect the global food crisis. A drought could be declared for parts of Eastern and Central England, where farmers are struggling with a lack of rain. We hear from an estate manager who explains how this is affecting the harvest of some root vegetables. Staff shortages are a big problem in many farming sectors. We visit a vineyard in East Sussex, where they've managed to recruit pickers who live within a 15 miles radius of the farm. Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Emma Campbell.
The Government has given legal protection to beavers in England, which means it will be illegal to harm or move them without a licence. They have had protection in Scotland since 2019. We hear from a farmer in Scotland who says they do cause problems there, and from the Wildlife Trust which welcomes the protection, but urges the government to provide more details of management practices. A campaign against a controversial rabbit meat and fur farm in Nottinghamshire is being stepped up. Opponents are staging weekly protests outside the site at East Bridgford. But the owners say it complies with all regulations and standards. Last month 12 rabbits were taken from the farm in a late night raid that's now being investigated by police. All week we're going to be exploring the pressure on food systems around the world and hear why they are under stress. The reasons are multiple and complex – rather like the global food system itself. A deal has been signed to release millions of tonnes of grain from Ukraine – but it will take time for global wheat supplies to get back to normal. There are also high input prices, and the cost of fuel. Longer term, the pressure of climate change on food production and who needs food, keeps building. The presenter is Anna Hill.
A farmer talks about a tragic tractor accident which cost his 4 year old nephew his life. No parliamentary scrutiny for the Australia trade deal - what does that mean for future deals and UK farmers? All week we've been looking at livestock feed. 40% of UK arable land is used to grow feed: the WWF says the system must change to address climate change, biodiversity loss and food security challenges. Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
A farmer talks about a tragic accident which cost his nephew his life, in the hope it'll be a reminder to other farmers not to allow children on farm equipment. Brian Nutter was convicted by the Health and Safety Executive, after allowing his four year old nephew to ride on his digger. In 2017 the UK produced just under 14 million tonnes of feed - but 6 million tonnes of the ingredients were imported, and the cost has risen dramatically. So could the answer be getting animals to eat home-grown insects? In the European Union insects can now be fed to pigs. But the law here in the UK is lagging behind. A company which provides the technology to farm insects is lobbying for this to change. A group of conservationists, farming groups and policy advisers have launched what they call a UK Climate and Trade Commission. It's been set up by Queen Mary University of London and the Trade Justice Movement, and its 15 members include experts from the United Nations, former senior government officials, environmental and farming groups, businesses and trade unions. Members hope it'll help bridge the gap between trade and climate organisations.
The Government has failed to give MPs the chance to debate the trade deal with Australia in the House of Commons. Australia is the first post-Brexit trade deal to be negotiated from scratch. Farmers have objected to its terms; they say it will let in too much beef and lamb produced at standards below those in the UK. Parliamentary scrutiny was promised many times over the last few years. We ask what happened. As part of our week looking at livestock feed, today we hear from a dairy farmer. The recent uncertainty has pushed up animal feed prices which in turn has trickled down to shoppers. Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
The EU is proposing to block the importation of food, grown using the banned pesticides neonicotinoids, in an effort to reduce their environmental impact in other countries. This would be the first time that a World Trade Organisation member used environmental impacts, rather than consumer health, to restrict pesticide use in trade. Alan Matthews, Professor Emeritus of European agricultural policy at Trinity College Dublin, has described the move as 'throwing a hand grenade into global agri-food trade'. Faith in British food has fallen, according to a survey just released by the Red Tractor food standards label. Their annual ‘Trust in Food' index showed although UK food is trusted more than imported goods, it declined by 8% overall, from last years' figures. All week we're talking about animal feed. Most commercial egg producers rely on soya to provide protein for their chickens which they need for laying. Organic farmer Mike Mallett at Maple Farm in Suffolk has 2000 free range birds and he's rejected soya as a feed. For the last nine years he's been working to give his chickens only home-grown organic feed and he's nearly succeeded. Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
40% of UK arable land is used to grow animal feed, the WWF says the system must change to address climate change, biodiversity loss and food security challenges. After three years of no show it's full steam ahead this week, as the Royal Welsh agricultural show gets back to business. But after a three-year break due to Covid, and amid warnings of dangerously high temperatures, organisers have admitted this year's event has been one of the most challenging to get up and running. All week we're looking at animal feed. It's perhaps the biggest cost a meat producer faces and those costs have been soaring, and that's certainly true in the poultry industry. We visit a feed processor near Winchester. Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
With the UK under the first ever red extreme heat warning to be issued by the Met Office, farmers are being warned to take extra steps to keep themselves and their animals safe in temperatures that could reach a life-threatening 40 degrees in some parts. Fields are tinder dry, and machinery - with its hot moving parts, dust and diesel - is already under higher risk of catching fire. We get advice from the Farm Safety Foundation. As the price of fertilizer rockets - largely due to the war in Ukraine - we meet a farmer who's found an unexpected result of growing more environmentally friendly sward is that he doesn't need as much fertilizer, as the plants fix nitrogen in the soil. And this week we look at the UK's animal feed industry. We manufacture sixteen million tonnes of it every year for the nation's cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry and fish farms too. The presenter is Steffan Messenger.
Will British farmers lose out, because the European Union has struck a better trade deal for their farmers with New Zealand? Anna Hill asks an international trade expert. All week we've been looking at the UK dairy industry. The price farmers get paid for their milk is at its highest ever level at around 50 pence per litre. But their input costs are also rising fast, and one dairy analyst says if the price they get doesn't keep up, more farmers will leave the industry. The heatwave has brought a series of field fires as farmers start to gather in the harvest. The combination of working machinery, high temperatures and very dry crops is something farmers have to be vigilant about. Presented by Steffan Messenger and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
Low rainfall in parts of England and Wales followed by hot weather is causing water levels in rivers to drop, endangering fish. Along the Wye and Usk rivers in mid and south Wales, hugely popular with anglers, the local rivers' trust has suspended all salmon and trout fishing, saying low river flows and high water temperatures are causing stress to the fish, and even killing them in some places. Over the past six months, Parliament's Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee has been taking evidence about the difficulties faced by people living in rural areas when it comes to accessing mental health services. This week the MPs held their final session, grilling health and environment ministers and officials. All this week we're taking a closer look at all aspects of the dairy industry. Making a small dairy herd profitable is tough, but adding value to the product can be one way of making it work. At Berkeley Farm near Swindon farmer Ed Gosling has acquired a fleet of six electric milk floats to deliver his milk to around three thousand homes nearby. Presented by Steffan Messenger and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
Will British farmers lose out, because the European Union has struck a better trade deal for their farmers with New Zealand? Anna Hill asks an international trade expert. A doom-laden report has been published by the Environment Agency outlining the effect of human life on the global natural environment and the current threat of climate change. We ask what part farmers can play in nature recovery. All week we're taking a closer look at the dairy industry. Today it's raw milk, which hasn't been heat-treated to pasteurise it. Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
Defra has launched a UK-wide consultation into the pig industry supply chain - from farm, to processor to retailer. It comes after a difficult few years, with labour and processor shortages, leading to pigs backed up on farm. The cost of production is also currently higher than the price farmers are being paid. We meet a Shropshire farmer where robots are now being used to weed between flowers. It comes as Defra urges farmers to use automation as part of a solution to labour shortages. And a look at one of the organisations that tests the UK's milk for quality and safety. The National Milk Laboratories also offers milk tests to find out if a cow is pregnant - vital knowledge in the production of milk. The presenter is Steffan Messenger.
The heatwave has brought a series of field fires as farmers start to gather in the harvest. The combination of working machinery, high temperatures and very dry crops is something farmers have to be vigilant about. Scotland's Rural College has just bought a new piece of kit for their dairy herd, which they claim will practically eliminate methane and ammonia emissions from their slurry production. All this week we're talking dairy, and one of the big conversations for this sector is prices. Gundenham Dairy in Somerset manages its own processing on-site, allowing them a unique degree of control over the process. But that, we hear, comes with its own challenges. Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
Nearly 670 million people worldwide will be undernourished in 2030 according to The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, which published its annual assessment of global food security this week. The Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine are making things worse. We catch up with a Dutch man who farms in Ukraine. He's just begun this year's harvest but says they're running out of storage space for the grain and thinks yields will be affected by lack of fertiliser and seed. He warns that in some parts of the region, there may not be a harvest at all next year if the conflict continues. Leaving the European Union means the subsidy system for farmers is now a devolved decision. The Welsh Government has just announced more details of their new scheme. Farmers in Wales will have to cover at least 10% of their land with trees in order to qualify for public funding in future. Ministers insist they don't want to see widespread land use change, away from farming. All week on Farming Today we've been talking about rural tourism which brings in £4.5 billion to the UK economy every year, according to Visit England. We look at a herd of heritage animals in Northumberland. The Chillingham Wild Cattle Association is opening a new visitor centre to tell the story of the beasts which have never been farmed and used to be hunted. We look at the problems and solutions of too many tourists on Skye and visit a Devon farmer who opened a campsite under lockdown and says it's made a big difference to the farm business.
Some farmers in Scotland are asking for the Government to implement a cull of wild boar, which are digging up fields, spreading disease, and according to some, attacking sheep. It comes as a deadly disease - African Swine Fever - is spreading West across Europe. It's already led to the loss of more than one million domestic pigs. Wild boar are thought to spread the disease. All this week we are looking at the UK dairy industry. The price farmers get paid for their milk is at its highest ever level - around 50 pence per litre. But their input costs are also rising fast, and one dairy analyst says if the price they get doesn't keep up, more farmers will leave the industry. And we hear from farmers and conservationists in Gloucestershire aiming to help the dwindling population of Curlews The presenter is Caz Graham
A Ukrainian farmer warns that the continuing war could lead to no crops being planted for next year's harvest. The Black Sea blockade not only means this year's grain can't be exported and sold, but they also can't get diesel to run tractors. Kees Huizinger has been unable to get his wheat past Russian forces. A huge increase in tourists to the 'holy' island of Lindisfarne has led to some safety problems for local people. These include damage to farmland, as well as an increase in the number of people needing to be rescued from the causeway that connects the islands to the mainland. And we meet primary school children who are working with farmers in Cornwall to set up a regenerative farming system for growing crops The presenter is Caz Graham
A new United Nations report explores the impact of Covid and the war in Ukraine on food security worldwide, and how that situation could evolve over the next decade. We hear how a new piece of research reveals that young people still don't regard agriculture as an appealing career option. And with the cost of farming rising, rural tourism has become an important source of extra income for many farm businesses. Today we report from a farm where fields are being used as a campsite. Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
Welsh farmers are told they'll have to ensure 10% of their farmland is covered in woodland before they get their subsidies. Scientists are working on new ways to protect sugar beet from aphids, without using pesticides. All week we're looking at rural tourism. The pressures caused by visitors to the Isle of Skye are damaging the very sights the visitors come to see. Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
Staff shortages, international trade deals, high input costs - how would Labour handle all the challenges farmers face today? Food buyers have seen a surge in food waste of 60% over the last six months. As part of our week looking at rural tourism, we visit the wild cattle of Chillingham in Northumberland; remarkable survivors of the ancient cattle which once roamed Britain's forests. Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
The government committee set up to scrutinise post-Brexit free trade deals has concluded British farmers shouldn't be negatively impacted by the deal with New Zealand - we hear from the president of the National Farmers' Union. Wild deer are causing problems in a small village in the Highlands of Scotland., leading to calls for a cull - some local people aren't happy. And we take a look at how rural tourism is faring post-Covid.
Charlotte Smith visits a fruit farm in Kent to investigate the challenges and the joys of growing fruit. Clock House Farm produced strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, apples and plums. They've face recruitment issues this year because of the war in Ukraine, since many of their seasonal workers normally come from there. Meanwhile the cost of labour as well as the price of other inputs like diesel and fertiliser have risen...meaning they are currently operating below the cost of production. But investment is still being made in innovation like the use of robotics. Presented by Charlotte Smith Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons
To round off a week of programmes from Clock House Farm in Kent, this programme focuses on the environmental footprint of fruit. Charlotte Smith looks round the packhouse which handles the farm's produce, and packs 13,000 tonnes of soft fruit every year. She also finds out how the farm is trying to reduce it's use of water and agrochemicals. Presented by Charlotte Smith Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons
The government's Seasonal Workers Scheme has been extended to provide 40,000 six-month visas for people coming to work in the UK on fruit, veg and flower farms as well as in food processing - but will it be enough? Charlotte Smith is on a fruit farm in Kent, asking how they've been effected by a shortage of labour. Presented by Charlotte Smith Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol is Heather Simons
Anna Hill is on Clock House Farm in Kent asking what the future holds for fruit production. She visits the research polytunnels where new fruit varieties are being trialled and goes out with a team of robots to treat strawberry plants with UVC light. Presented by Anna Hill Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons
Farming Today comes from a fruit farm in Kent, where Anna Hill find out why the cost of producing strawberries, raspberries and blackberries has gone up by 15%. Presenter by Anna Hill Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons
All this week we're talking about the fruit industry - from innovations to problems in accessing seasonal labour at harvest time. We'll be at Clock House Farm in Kent. We also hear from the chair of British Berry Growers. Nick Marston. And we have an update on the price of fertiliser - up by well over 100% since last year. We hear how this is driving farmers' decisions on whether to plant crops this year or not.
The Ggovernment doesn't understand labour shortages in food and farming and is putting the future of the sector in danger - according to the EFRA Committee of MPs. What is regenerative agriculture and could it be the answer for the environment and farmers' bottom lines? Charlotte Smith visit Groundswell. Investigations continue into a suspected case of Foot and Mouth on a pig farm in Norfolk...although initial tests do not indicate the presence of disease. And why has this year seen the largest and longest ever outbreak of Bird Flu in the UK? Presented by Charlotte Smith Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons
The government doesn't understand labour shortages in food and farming, and is putting the future of the sector in danger, according to MPs on the Environment Food and Rural Affairs committee who wrote a report on the issues earlier this year. The government has just published its response – rejecting their calls for the Seasonal Workers Scheme to be made permanent, and for the English language requirement for skilled workers in the sector to be lowered. Ministers say they've worked closely with industry to respond to labour shortages, pointing to the extra 10,000 visas added to the seasonal worker scheme this year and the plan for an independent review of labour in food and farming. Conservationists in Scotland are warning that the current bird flu outbreak could drive a seabird species into extinction in the country. The government has already launched a consortium of experts to tackle this, the largest and longest-running bird flu outbreak. But it could come too late for Great Skua's on St Kilda, a series of remote islands off the Scottish mainland. A hundred have been found dead this season, with numbers thought to be down around two thirds over the past three years. Dairy Crest has been fined one and a half million pounds after admitting a host of pollution and odour charges. The company, which produces cathedral city cheese and country life butter, admitted 21 pollution incidents at its Davidstow creamery in Cornwall between 2016 and 2021, two of which killed fish in a local river.
The principles of regenerative agriculture include increasing crop diversity, protecting the soil with ground cover, involving livestock, reducing tillage and keeping living roots in the soil. But why do it? In this programme, Charlotte Smith visits the regenerative agriculture show, Groundswell, to find out. Presented by Charlotte Smith Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons
The average annual grocery bill in the UK is set to rise by £380 this year, according to research firm Kantar, which monitors food prices. We ask whether farmers with surplus produce could be the answer in providing food to those who need it and reducing food waste. Many farmers take part in on-farm trials to try to find solutions to issues they are facing. We hear about a network whose latest experiment is a slug-resistant wheat. All this week on Farming Today we're looking at legumes. As organic farms can't use artificial fertilisers, legumes play a vital part in fixing nitrogen in the soil and we hear how one farm is looking at growing pulses as a cash crop for human food. Presented by Anna Hill and produced for BBC Audio by Caitlin Hobbs
Since last Autumn, there's been confusion about the rules governing muck spreading - outlining when and how much farmers can spread on their land. In March, DEFRA released new guidance, allowing autumn spreading, and also allowing farmers to spread more muck than their soil or crop required. The Salmon and Trout Conservation group believed the guidance given to the Environment Agency was essentially encouraging farmers to break the law. It threatened to take DEFRA to judicial review. Now, the government has altered its guidance. The National Farmers Union says it's “disappointed", saying the changes "seemingly prevent some farmers applying organic manures to certain fields.” Red clover is a legume, which fixes nitrogen in the soil. Its flowers attract bees and its leafy growth provides calcium and protein-rich grazing, but fifty years ago research suggested the legume could reduce fertility in sheep. Now, a group of farmers in the Midlands and Wales have been testing these findings. The field trials are being run by the “Innovative Farmers” - a group that links up farmers with scientists - and the agricultural consultancy, ADAS. The conclusion is that the original findings were wrong and red clover can actually improve fertility rates. And a significant part of livestock feed is made of plant-based protein and while feed costs are rising sharply for farmers, a Welsh government funded scheme has been getting more farmers to grow their own cattle-feed ingredients - and that means growing pulses in their fields. We visit one of the farmers who has taken up the challenge. Presented by Anna Hill Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons
The Government has launched a consortium of scientists and researchers to tackle the biggest ever outbreak of bird flu. There have already been more than 100 cases - leading to strict restrictions on poultry earlier this year. It's also now killing some sea birds. The task force aims to find out why this outbreak is so bad, and what can be done to contain it in future. However a recent government report found out that the main lab used by teams to tackle these outbreaks is itself run down, with some facilities described as 'not fit for purpose'. How do you keep cattle in a field? It may seem an obvious question but the obvious answer – a fence or hedge - is no longer the only one. GPS electric collars keep cattle in the defined area by delivering a small electric shock – less than an electric fence - if the animals stray too close to the digital boundary. The collar also emits a high-pitched tone until they back away. These ‘invisible borders' are set by farmers using a phone app. We meet a farmer trialling this teach, and hoping it will lead to a much larger regional grazing project. This week we're also talking about legumes - plants which produce a pod with seeds inside, so anything from peanuts to beans and peas. Today we hear from a farmer growing fava beans in Yorkshire.
Another day, another food strategy, this time for Scotland where Members of the Scottish parliament have just passed the ‘Good Food Nation' bill. But what do these new food strategies mean for farmers? All this week we're talking about salmon on the programme. The Scottish government commissioned a major review into the industry and say that in the coming months they'll be setting out a ‘vision' for salmon farming. And we hear how farmers in Northern Ireland are responding to rising costs impacting fuel, feed and fertiliser prices, which have all risen sharply over the past few months. Presented by Caz Graham and produced for BBC Audio by Caitlin Hobbs