Agflation index goes over 30%

Estimates produced by farm consultants at Andersons suggest that UK agricultural inflation hit 30.6% in April 2022, up from 28.8% for the previous month.

On Wednesday the UK office of national statistics put the latest consumer price index at 9%, the highest it has been for 40 years, prompting further concerns about a cost of living crisis.

However, Andersons point out this is still well behind the inflationary pressure on farms, and as a result many farm businesses are now feeling a severe squeeze on margins.

Rathfriland gets permission for new mart

Following delays in the planning process caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the board and management at Rathfriland Mart have recently received planning permission to build their new mart.

The site is adjacent to the existing mart on Islandbog Road on the outskirts of Rathfriland. According to mart manager, Jim McCrum, the cost of the project is being re-evaluated, although he expects construction to begin without any further delay.

QUB Institute ranks number 1

The latest Research Exercise Framework (REF) has rated research at the Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) as joint first in the UK.

The Institute topped the league table along with the University of East Anglia, for Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science, with 94% of research in those areas deemed “world-leading” or “internationally excellent”.

Among projects assessed for REF 2021 were the assurance scheme for authenticity in animal feed developed and run by the IGFS for the agri-food industry across Britain and Ireland.

RHANI retain members ahead of case

The group that represents Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) claimants in NI has retained most of its members into the current financial year, despite losing an important court case in October 2021.

The case was taken forward by Ballymoney poultry producer Tom Forgrave on behalf of the Renewable Heat Association (RHANI). It challenged the second set of tariff cuts which were introduced in 2019 and saw annual payments for a standard 99kW biomass boiler reduce from £12,140 to £2,340.

“We have reached the point at which more than 75% of our members in 2021/22 have renewed their membership. We continue to receive applications from operators of small and medium sized boilers,” reads an update circulated among RHANI members last week.

The group is now preparing for its next legal challenge which will be heard in the Court of Appeal at the end of May. This legal challenge appeals both the ruling in the October 2021 case, as well as another unsuccessful High Court case which RHANI took forward in 2017.

The latest update for RHANI members suggests the group remains financially sound.

“In the last week alone, we have received funds in excess of £170,000, putting us in a strong position to take all and any legal action to resolve the issues to the benefit of our members,” reads the update.

Dutch dairy prices hold firm

There were positive outcomes at the weekly Dutch Dairy Board auction, despite another drop in prices at the New Zealand GDT on Tuesday.

Dutch butter prices strengthened by €30 to €7,150/t with whole milk powder (WMP) holding firm at €5,190/t. However, skim milk powder (SMP) fell by €140 to €3,940.

At Tuesday’s GDT auction, the index fell for the fifth time in a row. A 2.9% drop puts the index on 1,340 and on par with commodity values back in January of this year.

Butter fell 1% with cheddar down 0.1%. WMP dropped by 4.9%, although SMP eased by only 0.6%

New monitor farm for AHDB cereals

Carsehall Farm in Limavady has been selected as the new monitor farm in NI for the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) cereals and oilseeds programme.

The farm, which is owned by Robert and Tom Craig, also includes a dairy enterprise. The arable part of the business will be part of the AHDB monitor farm project for the next three years.

The Craigs take over from Downpatrick cereal grower Richard Orr, who has been a monitor farm for AHDB cereals and oilseeds since 2018. The first farm walk at Carsehall Farm takes place on 28 June at 10.30am.

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