Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Nancy Nicolson: Hard decisions as farm policy wait drags on

HEAD START: Farmers want guidance on adopting measures to reduce emissions from livestock businesses.
HEAD START: Farmers want guidance on adopting measures to reduce emissions from livestock businesses.

It’s a pity the environmental NGOs weren’t at SAC’s beef technical event at Huntly this week to see how motivated the industry is to embrace any measures that will reduce emissions and improve biodiversity.

On their way to picturesque Cairnborrow Farm on the banks of the Deveron, groups like the RSPB and WWF – which we’re told are arguing for agri-environment support to far outweigh that for food production – would have been treated to a green patchwork landscape richly peppered in livestock, broadleaved trees, silage-making in full swing and undoubtedly plenty of biodiversity.

The  Wordie family hosted the beef event.

The 150 or so farmers who turned out on a great summer’s day to hear experts advise on methane inhibitors, making the best use of grass and improving animal health, were in no doubt that radical change is accelerating towards them and they need to do everything they can to comply.

And – as they are constantly reminded – reduced emissions equals efficiency and profitability.

Many of them would have passed Thainstone where – like all the other marts this week – new record prices were being set for cull cows. And who wouldn’t take advantage of unprecedented prices to get rid of unproductive animals (another emissions win), although it’s hardly a long-term strategy.

Restocking

The Wordie family who hosted the day have jumped on the bandwagon too, but unlike many in the industry, they are restocking, breeding calves to be finished by other producers and taking a punt that the measures they’re taking – that have implications for years down the line – will be compliant with the Brigadoon-like Scottish agricultural policy.

Nicola Wordie summed up the mood of many of those at the meeting when she said the farm had plenty of options to adapt to meet climate change and biodiversity goals, but
the dithering over policy meant they didn’t know which way to turn.

Insiders suggest that policy progress is virtually non-existent, and the Scottish Government’s proposed timetable for even launching a consultation in August is now in jeopardy.

So, while the farming and environmental groups lobby government and the Ariob committee staggers along at its glacial pace, the industry is just getting on and making decisions.

And while for some that is attending meetings and getting the best possible steer on how to prepare for the brave new world, others are inevitably looking at record prices for livestock and land and concluding they don’t have time to wait for the talking to end.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]