NFU Fodder Bank relaunches after wet weather

The NFU has relaunched its Fodder Bank, a free service to help members find animal feed for their farms or sell any surplus to assist others. This comes after the prolonged period of wet weather has caused farmers in many parts of the country to experience shortages of livestock feed, resulting in additional costs.

NFU president, Minette Batters, said: “The sustained wet weather has meant very few farmers have been able to turn out their livestock and this has led to increasing difficulty sourcing available forage. 

“In addition to relaunching the Fodder Bank, we will also be discussing the impacts of the wet weather and any support needed with industry and government.”

£2m funding for rural communities to restore historic buildings

A new grant scheme is being piloted in five National Parks, offering funding for land managers to restore their historic farm buildings.

The Historic Building Restoration Grant is being trialled in Dartmoor, the Lake District, Northumberland, the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks with £2 million of funding available.

The aim of the scheme is to help save historic farm buildings from falling out of use. Owners can apply for a grant offering 80% towards the cost of restoration. This can include replacing the roof, weatherproofing the exterior, or other restoration works so that the building can be used again for farming purposes.

The scheme is open for applications until 31 January 2019 and, once approved, agreement holders will have two years to complete the works.

Scottish Government calls for abolition of three-crop rule

The Scottish Government has written to the European Commission seeking a derogation to remove the three-crop rule for 2018.

Fergus Ewing, rural economy secretary, announced yesterday (11 April) he was seeking exemption from the rules for 2018 on the back of last year’s wash-out harvest.

Poor conditions at harvest resulted in a 20% reduction in the area of winter crops sown, and delays to spring work has reduced the options available to growers to comply with the rules.

In a report by Dundee Courier, NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said there was a “clear and justifiable case” for the derogation. “With autumn plantings substantially down on the year and the cold, wet conditions this spring working against ground preparation and planting, the window of opportunity to plant and establish spring crops in 2018 is closing and meeting the three-crop rule for many farmers would be almost impossible.”

Don’t miss National Grid’s deadline, warns Roadnight Taylor

Time is running out for farmers and landowners who want to host a large-scale power generation or battery storage scheme, with the deadline for Capacity Market qualification looming.

According to Hugh Taylor, chief executive of independent power consultant Roadnight Taylor, each year National Grid holds an auction to award long-term contracts for the provision of reliable capacity.

And to qualify for that auction, developers must submit sites for prequalification by a certain date – usually late August or September. “It is yet to be announced exactly when the 2018 deadline will be, but as the competition is only annual, developers are keen to get any new projects included,” says Mr Taylor.

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