This week in farming: Royal farms, rams and drill discussions

Hello and welcome to This Week in Farming, our regular roundup of the best content Farmers Week website in the last seven days.

Every Saturday, we round up the five biggest topics that get people talking and see what happens next. Farmers Week Podcast.

The Royal Family and Agriculture: A Special Relationship

Tributes have continued to pour in from the farming community amid ongoing nationwide commemorations to honor Queen Elizabeth’s remarkable life.

As the funeral cortege traveled from Balmoral to the Palace of Holyroodhouse on September 11, tractors lined part of the route between Banchory and Aberdeen, both of which have deep ties to the monarchy.

Rodney Blackhall, a farmer who organized the show of support, described the atmosphere during the march as “upsetting and surreal”.

In my editorial this week, I also hailed the calming influence of the countryside as a respite for the monarch to escape the public eye.

Some describe King Charles III’s time as heir to the throne as the longest apprenticeship in history. And what does he think about farming?

Our news and opinion editor, Phil Clarke, looks at what the new monarch has said in the past and asks whether her style of advocacy should change in the future.

With Prince William now taking charge of the Duchy of Cornwall, things are changing for many tenant farmers there too.

We spoke to a few of them to find out what they think will be different under the new Duke of Cornwall.

Defra works

The work of the government has been almost completely suspended during this solemn period – but not completely – the consequences of the change of prime minister are still being felt.

This week we learned that the end of Zac Goldsmith’s tenure as Defra minister has led to more speculation about the priorities of new Defra secretary Ranil Jayawardena and his ministerial team.

The first test for the new cohort will be scrutinizing gene-editing legislation through parliament, and this week there will be a war of words over whether the language in the bill confuses the public.

Once the funeral is over, Liz Truss and her cabinet will soon find themselves back in the spotlight on their plans to tackle the housing crisis.

The NFU warned this week that the government should use its powers under the Agriculture Act to prevent market failure in protected crops and other sectors as production costs continue to outpace commodity prices.

Selling season

Far from London, farming continues.

Kelso ram sale saw a brisk trade with a new record average price of £999, despite an increase in the number of sales as sheep sales continue to run strong.

Justifying these high prices requires careful flock management and this week we look at how Carmarthenshire farm owner Carine Kidd and co-farmer Peredur Owen are tackling abortions and barren ewes in their flocks and helping to boost profitability.

Will Baker, farm manager at Thorseby Estate in Nottinghamshire, has turned to native breeds to help manage the various parkland, grassland and woodland areas he oversees.

“One of our aims is to protect the oak trees and the biodiversity they support – to restore Sherwood Forest to its original state,” Mr Baker said.


Why plant one type of wheat when you can plant several? This has been a growing debate in the farming community for several years now.

This week it was the turn of Pete Cheek, farm manager at Godminster Farm in Somerset, to share his findings about a two-variety organic mix, which he says has helped boost yields by 0.8t/ha compared to single-variety plots.

If you’re after an expert view on a new workout, the car team is ready to talk to the people who know them best: the drivers.

In this, Wiltshire farm manager Andrew Tucker gives his thoughts on the Novag T-ForcePlus 440, if you’re keeping an eye on the Virkar Dynamic, head here to find out how Oxfordshire farmer Ralph Castle is getting on.

Listen to the FW Podcast

Don’t forget the latest release Farmers Week Also a podcast with Johann Tasker and Hugh Broom.

Following last week’s special tribute to the Queen, there will be more royal content with an exclusive interview with a farmer who had a key role as ceremonial royal guard at King Charles III’s announcement.

They will also examine the future of the 52,000-acre Duchy of Cornwall as it passes into the hands of Prince William.

Listen here or take us with you in the cab by downloading from your usual podcast platform.

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