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Farming Today

Author: BBC Radio 4

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The latest news about food, farming and the countryside
9 Episodes
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New research is showing that plants react differently to agri-chemicals at different times of the day. In the lab, experiments have found that a plant's sensitivity to glyphosate varies meaning less herbicide could be needed at certain times of the day. We hear from one of the scientists involved.This week, BBC News will be focusing on farming - covering different aspects of the industry every day. We find out what it's all about.And is farming going Back to the Future? We're looking at how farming businesses are being made more resilient for the future by learning from the past. From growing ancient crops to going back to a mixed system - many farmers are finding their forebears knew a few tricks that work today.Presented by Sybil RuscoeProduced by Heather Simons
It's harvest time on Farming Today and under grey sullen skies Sybil Ruscoe visits Cobrey Farms in Herefordshire to meet owner Henry Chinn. Across 3500 acres the harvest at Cobrey starts with rhubarb in February. In March thoughts turn to asparagus, before giving way to the summer months and the bringing in of potatoes and beans. This year they've grown sugar snap peas for the first time and Henry explains that because they're hand-picked it's a costly and labour-intensive process. Syb tries her hand at 'blueberry tickling' as she coaxes a few of them off their branches. The farm has up to 750 seasonal workers, mostly from Romania and Bulgaria, and Sybil asks Henry what might happen to them after Brexit, and whether the Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme that has brought in additional workers from Ukraine and Moldova might be the answer. They also visit a Wheat field which needs to be cut soon as it turns out Wild Boar are quite partial to an arable appetiser. Producer: Toby Field
Farmers say they're feeling unfairly targeted in the debate about climate change. They're blaming the mainstream media - highlighting in particular some of the BBC News coverage of last week's UN report on land use and global warming. Many in the industry feel the coverage lacked balance and detail...with headline writers grabbing attention with their 'stop eating meat to stop climate change' angle. We look into the criticism.Apprehension was high ahead of this week's auction at Lairg in Scotland. All the talk was of a hard Brexit and speculation about a 40 per cent tariff on lamb exports heading for Europe. But we speak to farmers at the sale who are feeling confident.This year's oat harvest is set to be the largest for over 30 years - the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board says it's expecting over a million tonnes. It's because many farmers have chosen to grow oats instead of oilseed rape. We visit a farmer who took that decision.Presented by Sybil RuscoeProduced by Heather Simons
Caz Graham is joined by Sean Rickard, independent economic analyst and a member of 'Farmers for a People's Vote', and Rupert Lowe MEP from The Brexit Party to discuss the potential implications of a no-deal Brexit on farming.It's harvest week on Farming Today and today it's the turn of the humble plum. Toby Field's been to fruit farm in Gloucestershire to meet Michael Bentley and see how the Jubileum makes it from branch to market.Looking to the future of food Charlotte Smith has been speaking to David Mayman about a personal food computer which could revolutionise how food is grown and where food is grown. Producer: Toby Field
The RSPCA says the welfare of farm livestock could nosedive if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. David Bowles tells Caz Graham he thinks the Government needs to guarantee welfare standards for all future trade deals as well as existing ones. The impact of the beef industry on climate change is a hot topic at the moment, but Caz speaks to a company who have come up with a device that they says greatly reduces methane emissions emitted from a cow's mouth.For Harvest week Anna Hill has been to the University of Cambridge to see their robot lettuce picker and ask when it will be quicker than the human eye and hand.Producer: Toby Field
The British beef industry says it's in crisis. They blame a number of factors including market uncertainty caused by Brexit, reduced demand for beef from consumers who are eating less red meat and rising costs for feed and fertiliser due to the weak pound. We hear from one farmer near Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders. Knowing precisely which plants specific bees choose to visit could have a significant impact on crop yields and on reversing the decline in some bee populations. Now scientists have found a way of finding this out by analysing pollen DNA. We're talking harvest all this week on the programme. Most of the winter barley and oil seed rape in southern England is now safely harvested and in store but unsettled weather means its been far from straightforward in other parts of the UK. Presented by Caz Graham and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
The National Farmers' Union is urging the government to do more to maintain our self-sufficiency level in food production.  It currently stands at 61% and Minette Batters, president of the NFU, says that can't be allowed to drop.Hemp is the agricultural version of cannabis and it's one of the world's oldest food and fabric crops. Research in Leicestershire is being carried out to see if it can be used in house building and high-tech material graphene.All this week we'll be bringing you harvest reports from around the UK. Today we hear from independent agronomist Peter Cowlrick and his assessment of harvest 2019 so far.Presented by Sybil Ruscoe and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
A Suffolk dairy farmer describes the threats and abusive comments he received online after posting some pictures of his calves. He was called a rapist and a murderer, and was sent a message threatening to take his children away. We hear about the darker side of farmers' interaction with social media.This summer's hot and wet weather is creating the perfect conditions for blowflies to lay their eggs on sheep. When the maggots hatch, they feed on the sheep's skin and can kill them. Now a computer model which shows which parts of the country have the highest risk of flystrike has been released for farmers to use.Intensive farming often gets criticised for causing a decline in biodiversity. But new research from Scotland's Rural College suggests it is possible to farm intensively and still improve biodiversity. We visit the college's dairy farm to find out how feeding cows a more diverse diet can benefit the ecology out in the fields.The devastation caused by foot and mouth disease back in 2001 may seem like an unlikely theme for a stage play, but we hear from a playwright whose play about the disaster is currently showing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She says rural communities are often ignored by the arts.Presented by Sybil RuscoeProduced by Heather Simons
We hear from an Essex grower about why salad might be scarce after October.The government's new Chief Whip discusses the impact of a 'no deal' Brexit on farmers.How social media can help with rural isolation.Presented by Caz Graham and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
Comments (1)

Chalao Hirst

it's with despair to overcrowd animals cramped quarters. A difficult manner to run a profitable farm nowadays.

Jul 25th
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