There are so many matters we can’t control, sometimes it brings comfort to focus on what we can.
It’s only weather
For some arable farmers it was an early harvest which has given them enough opportunities to get on with land work. Contrast that with farmers further north and on heavy land who ended up being later to finish than usual, since which it has been a very catchy time a we pass the optimum drilling dates for winter wheat with too much seed still sitting in the barn.50% of the annual rainfall for East Norfolk fell in an almost biblical last forty days. Taking the countryside for a drought to near flooding does not bode well for autumn land work.
To tariff or not to tariff, that is the question
The sheep meat sector has had a great summer across all types of trade; finished, cull ewes and store and breeding sheep. For our upland farmers, the autumn sales of gimmer mule lambs have been almost stellar. The sale at Craven Cattle Marts on 22 September saw 6,185 lambs, mainly runners, cleared at an average of £102.60, a massive increase of £25.03 on the same sale in 2019.
Whilst minds are focused on Brexit induced tariffs another issue is our future trading relationships with New Zealand and Australia who alongside the United Kingdom make up the three biggest lamb exporting nations. The only difference is that the UK is also an importer; a free trade agreement with either New Zealand or Australia simply means a one-way trade.
The Agriculture Bill returned to the Commons where the Lord’s amendments were defeated. The parliamentary ping-pong continues as the Bill returns to the Upper House. A major point of disagreement is that as the Bill currently stands there will be no legal requirement that imported food meets our domestic environment and animal welfare requirements. We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world; any risk of undermining this status should be of concern to us all.
Look after your own
“Worry about the things you can do something about, not the things you can’t,” is stock standard guidance but that doesn’t mean ignoring what’s going on around you. At FOLK2FOLK we understand small business and we’re seeing the impacts of the current environment. If you need it, we’re here to provide the finance your business needs to start, grow, adapt or diversify. Contact us to see if we can help.
By Ian Bell, Head of Farming & Rural Engagement
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