6 episodes

The latest news about food, farming and the countryside

Farming Today BBC

    • Science

The latest news about food, farming and the countryside

    Young people in rural areas: outpriced and overlooked; bee foraging research, funeral barrow

    Young people in rural areas: outpriced and overlooked; bee foraging research, funeral barrow

    Young people in rural areas feel outpriced and overlooked, and it's having an impact on their mental health. That's the conclusion of a survey by the countryside charity the CPRE. It surveyed 1,000 people between the ages of 16 and 25 in the countryside, and highlighted house prices, lousy public transport and poor connectivity as problems, all of which increase feelings of loneliness and isolation.
    Scientists at Royal Holloway College in Surrey have studied bees' waggle dances, which is how bees communicate where pollen can be found. They used them to work out how far a bee is prepared to go.
    We talk a lot about farms diversifications on the programme, from B&Bs to woodland burials, but a farm in the English midlands has looked back about 2,000 years for inspiration and built a bronze age style funeral barrow as an addition to their 70 acre livestock farm.

    Presented by Charlotte Smith and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 13 min
    04/10/21 Fertiliser shortage threatens food security, English and Welsh wines

    04/10/21 Fertiliser shortage threatens food security, English and Welsh wines

    There are warnings this morning that yields of crops from wheat to potatoes may be down next year because of a shortage of fertiliser. The Agricultural Industries Confederation, which represents companies supplying farmers, says it's down to the increase in gas prices. Farmers say they’re already having to pay more than double the price in the spring for fertiliser. The AIC say they have asked for an urgent meeting with government ministers about the situation, but have so far not been successful.
    English or Welsh wine - once dismissed as a joke, vineyards are now a growing part of British agriculture, producing award winning wines. In the last five years the area planted with vineyards has increased by 70% according to the industry.

    Presented by Charlotte Smith and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 13 min
    13/10/21 Fertiliser prices, pig industry crisis, cucumbers grown under ETFE

    13/10/21 Fertiliser prices, pig industry crisis, cucumbers grown under ETFE

    Pig farmers say they're making progress with the Government to solve the backlog of animals - but will it happen soon enough?
    Carbon dioxide production is back on again after a deal was reached this week with the fertiliser manufacturer CF Industries - but it has meant a price rise for nitrogen fertiliser.
    And a radical new type of greenhouse is growing it's first crops.

    Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 13 min
    12/10/21 Farming Today marks BBC Radio 4’s Day of the Scientist

    12/10/21 Farming Today marks BBC Radio 4’s Day of the Scientist

    Today we mark BBC Radio 4’s Day of the Scientist with an in-depth look at how collaboration between agricultural and human health scientists will bring about long-term change in a post-pandemic world. Anna Hill visits the The Research Park in Norwich, where scientific institutions have gathered so their work together becomes much more than their research in individual labs. The science here goes from seed, to field, to food, to human, to health, and the scientists come from the John Innes Centre, The Sainsbury Lab, The Earlham Institute, The Quadram Centre, the University of East Anglia and Norfolk and Norwich Hospital Trust.

    Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 13 min
    11/10/21 Pesticide regulation, history of science in agriculture, woodland ground cover plants

    11/10/21 Pesticide regulation, history of science in agriculture, woodland ground cover plants

    Today the science of farming - from the beginnings to the latest challenges.
    Regulating science for use on farms is a complicated business. We look at the Sustainable Action Plan for the use of pesticides in the UK. Alongside that the UK will have to develop its own system for approving and managing farm chemicals, to replace the EU regulations, and there are some arguments about how that should work.
    Scientific breakthroughs over the years have transformed agriculture, from the development of crop rotation and land drainage to inorganic fertilisers, pesticides and now gene editing. Some things didn’t work out as intended, others we take for granted and many have proved controversial. We discuss the history of science in agriculture.
    Thousands of acres of trees planted using Scottish government grants have failed to turn into proper woodlands, according to experts at Scotland’s Nature Agency, NatureScot. Many native tree plantations don’t have bluebells or holly and so, they say, don’t provide all the benefits they were meant to. Now a scheme has been launched to help farmers and land managers boost the 'infill' as it’s called, and help turn the trees into woods.

    Presented by Charlotte Smith and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 11 min
    09/10/21 - Farming Today This Week: The future of the pig industry and UK wine production

    09/10/21 - Farming Today This Week: The future of the pig industry and UK wine production

    The culling of pigs on farms has started and farmers say it will be extended. Charlotte Smith asks what this means for the future of the UK pig sector.

    A shortage of butchers at abattoirs means that, for a few months now, they’ve reduced the number of animals they take by about a quarter. That's created a backlog of more than 100,000 pigs stuck on farms. Already, hundreds of healthy piglets have been killed to prevent too many animals building up, and the industry is warning that, if nothing changes, thousands of pigs will have to be culled on farm, simply because there isn’t enough space for them. Those animals can’t go into the food chain so they’ll be incinerated.

    And wine is a growing part of UK agriculture and a real success story. What was once dismissed as a bit of a joke is now producing award winning English and Welsh wine. We visit a new wine innovation centre and learn how wine makers are future-proofing their businesses.

    Presented by Charlotte Smith
    Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons

    • 25 min

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