5 episodes

The latest news about food, farming and the countryside

Farming Today BBC

    • Science

The latest news about food, farming and the countryside

    22/09/21 Calls for a more secure supply of C02, Wales' future farm support, anaerobic digester

    22/09/21 Calls for a more secure supply of C02, Wales' future farm support, anaerobic digester

    It’s been reported that production of carbon dioxide could start up again soon, after the Government struck a deal with the American company CF Industries, which was providing 60% of the country’s CO2, a by-product of making fertiliser. CO2 is used to stun animals at slaughter and to extend the shelf life of food. The president of the National Farmers' Union says that urgent clarity is needed on the detail of the deal, including timings and volumes established in the agreement.
    Major reforms to farm subsidies in Wales won't be brought in until 2025, the Rural Affairs secretary has announced. Details of the plan are to be set out next year ahead of a fourth consultation in 2023. Lesley Griffiths denied Wales is lagging behind on the issue, insisting it was 'complex work' that needed to be done right.
    Where's there's muck, there's brass, as the saying goes - but on some farms, where there's muck, there's electricity. A number of farmers around the UK have been working towards a ‘golden circle’ approach where the farm works as a whole, to provide its own energy and cut waste.

    Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 13 min
    Poultry farmers call and the CO2 crisis, blanket bog restoration, phosphate pollution on the River Wye

    Poultry farmers call and the CO2 crisis, blanket bog restoration, phosphate pollution on the River Wye

    The poultry industry is predicting food shortages and animal welfare consequences for millions of birds if the carbon dioxide shortage continues. The closure of two fertiliser plants, due to a rise in gas prices, has put added pressure on the food and farming industries. The factories produce CO2 as a by-product, which is used in abattoirs and for processing and packaging. The British Poultry Council is calling on the Government to step in and help prevent serious disruption to food supplies and animal welfare.

    Some of Wales' rarest wild birds have made what's being described as a 'remarkable' comeback, after farmers and conservationists carried out work designed to fight climate change and flooding in Snowdonia.

    As part of our week looking at muck, we discuss the problem of phosphate pollution on the River Wye. Natural Resources Wales admitted last December that 60% of the river failed to meet phosphate targets. Phosphates can come from many sources including sewage, water containing detergents, and livestock manure. Farmers have been blamed for these high phosphate levels, particularly poultry farmers in Powys.

    Presented by Anna Hill and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 13 min
    20/09/21 Fertiliser factories halt production; Muck; Chelsea Flower Show

    20/09/21 Fertiliser factories halt production; Muck; Chelsea Flower Show

    Farmers are bracing for a fertiliser shortage after the closure of manufacturing plants here and in Europe because of a big increase in the price of gas. CF Fertilisers which has plants in Cheshire and on Teeside has halted work and hasn’t said when production might resume. The Agricultural Industries Confederation is holding talks with government about the situation and warning farmers to plan for shortages and price rises.

    All this week we are talking about muck - from cow dung to human waste. It's a valuable resource for farmers but can also cause pollution problems particularly in rivers.

    It's the Chelsea flower Show this week, and behind the show gardens lies a multi million pound horticulture industry. After a tricky time at the start of lockdown, the sector's thrived and the Horticultural Trades Association says plant growers are now dealing with unprecendented demand.

    Presenter = Charlotte Smith
    Producer = Rebecca Rooney

    • 11 min
    18/09/21 Farming Today This Week: Labour shortages, potatoes, lack of interest in the new environmental funding scheme

    18/09/21 Farming Today This Week: Labour shortages, potatoes, lack of interest in the new environmental funding scheme

    We hear what labour shortages mean for farmers, from dumping milk to the pigs stuck on farm.
    MPs launch an inquiry into how labour and trade issues are affecting the food supply chain.
    We ask what's putting farmers off applying for the new public money for public goods Environmental Land Management schemes.
    And we join a potato harvesting team on the Yorkshire coast.

    Presented by Charlotte Smith and produced by Beatrice Fenton.

    • 25 min
    17/09/21 Pig processing crisis, potatoes, emotional wellbeing of livestock

    17/09/21 Pig processing crisis, potatoes, emotional wellbeing of livestock

    Farmers warn that we are in danger of exporting our pig industry. Some producers fear they may have to cull their animals because they can't get them butchered, others are leaving the sector. They say that leaves the way open for cheap imports. Processors say hundreds of thousands of pigs are stuck on farms because there aren’t enough workers in abattoirs and processing plants. They blame a mixture of Brexit and Covid.

    How can you tell what a cow is feeling? Researchers from Scotland's Rural College have created an App to help measure the emotional wellbeing of livestock. Waitrose is now using it so that independent assessors can collect data on the emotional state of the livestock on the farms that supply the supermarket with everything from dairy to farmed salmon.

    We visit the Commonwealth Potato Collection, at the James Hutton Instituteon the outskirts of Dundee. It's a living library of some of the world's rarest potato species and breeders believe it could hold the key to solving some of the crop’s disease problems.

    Producer = Rebecca Rooney
    Presenter = Charlotte Smith

    • 13 min

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