• US drone technology among next-generation impacts on farming

    It sounds like a giant bumblebee, the 2-foot-square drone whirring to life. Its four props lift it off the ground outside Bruce Bowsher's house and once it's about 4 feet in the air, they lift up to give a camera an unobstructed 360-degree view. Bowsher controls his from an iPad attached to a remote control with two joysticks on it. A tug on one and a push on the other, and his practiced hands can maneuver the drone in a smooth figure eight. The camera gives him a drone's-eye view and a map on the iPad screen shows where the drone is headed.
  • World Bank approves $200m to Nigerian agriculture

    The World Bank approved a $200 million credit to support the Nigerian agricultural sector, especially small and medium scale farmers. Announcing this at its Washington DC, USA, headquarters, yesterday, the bank said: “The project would help increase agricultural productivity and production, improve processing and marketing, foster job creation, and increase household income and livelihood in participating states. “The project will benefit women and youth businesses such as horticulture, poultry and aquaculture” It has been designed to tackle the key constraints of the Nigeria agriculture sector, such as low productivity, lack of seed funds for establishing agro-processing plants, lack of access to supportive infrastructure, and low level of technology adoption
  • Suckler farmer on how he's managing the 2017 calving season

    Calving is now in full swing and going very well. The calves that are born so far are of a medium build and are not over fleshed, so the calving jack has not been used so for this year. All have been hardy and vigorous, so the minerals and feeding plan seem to have worked well. The Limousins are great to get up and get their own first drink and it takes a huge lift off the workload when they do so. Some of the heifers have calved, half of them are home bred Limousin crosses and the others are bucket-reared Simmental crosses from a dairy herd. The bucket-reared ones have a great supply of milk and could possibly rear two calves, so they should do a great job of the calves once they can fully drink them. Their temperament is also fantastic which as suckler farmers we should be looking
  • Austria eases poultry restrictions as bird flu threat fades

    Austrian poultry will be allowed outdoors as of Saturday as the threat from bird flu is fading, the country's health ministry said, lifting a restriction put in place more than two months ago. Austria said in January that it was ordering all poultry be kept indoors after the highly pathogenic H5N8 virus was found in dead wild birds near its borders with Germany and Switzerland, and other cases were reported in the region. The virus, which is deadly for birds but has not been found in humans, has spread across Europe and the Middle East since late last year, leading to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of poultry, but the threat appears to be receding.
  • Meatpacker JBS suspends Brazil beef output amid import bans

    Brazil's JBS SA, the world's biggest meatpacking company, announced on Thursday that it had suspended beef production at 33 of its 36 plants amid the corruption scandal that has caused some of the country's biggest export markets to ban Brazilian meats. Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said a police investigation, which alleges that meat processors paid bribes for inspectors to turn a blind eye to unsanitary or irregular activity, was exaggerated and wrongly challenged the quality of one of the country's most important exports. But it has battered demand for Brazilian meats since Friday nonetheless. JBS and BRF SA (BRFS3.SA), the world's largest poultry exporter, are among dozens of firms targeted in the meatpacking industry investigation by Brazil's Federal Police. Both
  • French dairy farmers at very low ebb

    The IFA's Catherine Lascurettes finds low morale and soul searching at French dairy farmers’ 73rd annual congress. Catherine Lascurettes spoke at the 2017 National Annual Congress of French dairy farmers’ union Federation Nationale des Producteurs Laitiers (FNPL) on the theme of “learning the lessons from the dairy crisis”. My summary of a short stay in France last week was a demoralised French dairy farmer population, poorly served by both processors and retailers, ill-advised and ill-prepared for the volatile market environment.
  • America's farmers say there's a conspiracy to steal their milk money

    As far as staples go, dairy is pretty central to the American diet. After all, knowing the cost of a gallon of milk remains a campaign-trail test for whether a politician is out of touch. Dairy farmers, though, have fallen on hard times, as milk sales continue to decline. But now, industry insiders in a long-running class action claim those farmers haven’t been getting their fair share in this multi-billion dollar industry. The litigation, filed by dairy farmers in 2009, names DairyAmerica and its affiliate California Dairies as defendants. The plaintiffs allege that DairyAmerica and its members, cooperatives like California Dairies which acquire dairy products from farmers and sell them in bulk, have been actively misleading U.S. regulators about the price they charge for
  • Trump's Agriculture secretary nominee pressed on proposed rural cuts

    President Donald Trump's choice to become U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary was pressed Thursday at his Senate confirmation hearing about his support of the administration's planned 21 percent cut to the agency's fiscal 2018 discretionary spending. "As a member of the administration, I view this budget similar to what as governor [I experienced with cuts]," former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue told the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. "I didn't like it … but we managed to it." Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the committee's ranking member, told Perdue she was "deeply concerned about the budget put forward by the administration and signals in terms of lack of understanding about agriculture."
  • Australia, China to boost trade with beef making the cut

    Australia and China are expected to sign new bilateral agreements on beef exports, energy and security during a four-day visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that began on Thursday. Li, the first sitting Chinese premier to visit Australia in 11 years, was welcomed to parliament in Canberra by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull amid extra security in the capital in the wake of an attack outside Britain's parliament by a suspected Islamist-inspired attacker. Australia is seeking to take advantage of China's decision earlier this week to suspend meat imports from Brazil, the world's biggest exporter of beef and poultry, due to a scandal over sales of rotten and salmonella-tainted meats.
  • Pennsylvania poultry producers warned after new outbreaks of avian flu

    Poultry operators throughout Pennsylvania are being urged to ramp up vigilance after the dreaded avian influenza has been found in Tennessee, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. The outbreaks follows a sigh of relief poultry operators felt after the fall migration of waterfowl did not infect domestic flocks of turkeys or chickens. But now the spring migration is underway and may have caused the infections, officials say. Lancaster County has more laying hens than any other single county in the United States. Pennsylvania ranks fourth nationally in egg production and 10th in turkey production. The current warning to take biosecurity measures is aimed at both commercial poultry producers and small-flock owners, such as for free-range poultry.
  • French farmers seek expert advice on going digital

    France’s farming community has already started introducing new technologies but it’s still concerned about the cost as well as the lack of information on the “right choices” of equipment. Over the past five years, precision farming in France has made significant progress with a growing number of farmers willing to be part of the new promising trend. Broadband infrastructure might not be a problem for the country; however, French farmers are faced with a number of challenges before they prepare for an innovation-driven future.
  • Honduran farmers prize rainwater as most precious harvest

    In the heart of Honduras' notorious "Dry Corridor", the most important harvest for farmer Daniel Cruz Castro is rainwater. The construction of a reservoir and irrigation system means he no longer worries the soil will become parched and the crops his family depends on will shrivel. Rainwater harvesting allows the 12 families in his farming collective to grow crops throughout most of the year, and sell more lucrative products such as watermelon and green beans on the local market, he explained, boosting their incomes and standards of living despite harsh droughts. “For producers like ourselves, this reservoir energises us,” said Cruz, 46, by telephone from Moraicito, near Nacaome in western Honduras. “We’re happy, we’re content - there’s water,
  • Fonterra 'cautiously positive' on dairy prices, even as futures bounce

    Fonterra said it was "cautiously positive" over dairy prices, even while foreseeing continued market volatility, and raising its estimate for milk output in New Zealand, the top exporting nation. Auckland-based Fonterra, the world's biggest dairy shipper, said there had been a "supply-led rebalancing" in the world dairy market, underling output declines in many major exporting countries. Production in the European Union had stagnated last year, while that in New Zealand itself had dropped 4%, with Australia seeing a 7% tumble.
  • Brazil's government says meat industry may lose 10 percent market share

    A police investigation into alleged unsanitary and corrupt practices has badly damaged the reputation of Brazil's meatpacking industry and could wipe more than 10 percent off its global market share, Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said on Wednesday. Maggi, a former state governor and a billionaire soy farmer, told a Senate Committee that his main concern was that China and Hong Kong have not yet taken a definitive stance on their bans of meat from Brazil, the world's biggest producer of beef and poultry. China and Hong Kong are the top two importers of Brazilian meats, last year buying nearly one-third of the $14 billion worth of meat that Latin America's largest economy exported. Maggi, speaking before a joint Senate committee, told lawmakers that if the government does not
  • Nigeria to create biometric farmer database

    Nigerian officials have confirmed that the country will create a biometric database of 16 million farmers to enable them benefit from intervention packages during the 2017 cropping season. Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture, Prof. Danbala Danju, confirmed that a MOU had been signed for the project this week with Trans- Sahara Consortium, Nigeria. Danju said the federal government would ensure that registered farmers receive all the needed inputs and loan facilities in record time to enhance production. He said that the move would effectively address the challenge of food security, tackle poverty and create employment opportunities for more Nigerian farmers.
  • Chinese trade talks a boon for beef market

    Beef sales to China, already reaching $1 billion a year, are set to soar as a result of a breakthrough ­anticipated in talks ­between Malcolm Turnbull and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who arrives in Australia tonight. The trade boost would be a demonstration of Mr Li’s anti-protectionist rhetoric ahead of the visit, with an exclusive ­opinion piece in The Australian today warning that isolation only brings “untold suffering” and that a trade war could threaten global peace. In a possible reference to US President Donald Trump, Mr Li says: “Self-isolation will never lead one to the land of happiness … A trade war will not make trade fairer. Protectionism offers no genuine protection.” The beef industry is set to celebrate a
  • Fonterra profit rises but guidance cut on forecast volatility

    New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra (FCG.NZ)(FSF.NZ) reported a 2.2 percent rise in half-year profit on Wednesday, lifted by earnings gains for its high-value consumer products. But the world's largest world's largest dairy exporter cut its guidance for the full year because of dairy market volatility, reducing forecast earnings per share to 45 to 55 cents per share, from a range of 50 to 60 cents. "The impact of more volatility in product stream returns in our ingredients business, some tightening of margins in the coming months, and the potential for extra milk in the autumn could result in some pressure on our earnings in the second half," chairman John Wilson said in a statement. A recovery in global dairy prices has been welcome relief for Fonterra's farmer-shareholders since
  • Spanish crops still 'thin on the ground'

    Supplies of broccoli, salad leaves, bell peppers and tomatoes remain low following planting gaps earlier in the growing season, exacerbated by recent low light levels. The impacts of the extreme weather in Spain earlier this year are still being felt by British suppliers as planting gaps caused by lack of accessibility during December and January continue to restrict broccoli, salad crops and bell peppers. Prices across several categories will continue to be pushed up as U.K. suppliers struggle to source high quality produce from Spanish regions battered by heavy rainfall and unusually low temperatures and snow earlier this year. The extreme weather not only wiped out high volumes of some crops at the time leading to rationing in supermarkets, but because new plantings were also
  • Frozen beef stranded at sea after China shuts out Brazil's meat

    Zhang Lian has 270 tons of frozen Brazilian beef on a ship steaming toward Shanghai that he may not be able to get through customs when the vessel arrives next month. Zhang’s Shanghai Yadongsheng Import-Export Ltd. trades $200 million of meat annually, part of the global supply chain that keeps China fed. China’s decision to halt imports of Brazil’s meat until authorities are sure it’s safe has left Zhang with some worried customers. "It’s a bad situation,” said Zhang, an import manager at Shanghai Yadongsheng, which is called ADP Shanghai in English. “We’re telling customers who ordered those containers to be patient. We are advising new customers to avoid ordering Brazilian beef for the foreseeable future."
  • Brazil says meat problems not widespread

    Brazil's federal police and agriculture ministry said late Tuesday that sanitary and corruption problems found in the nation's meatpacking industry were isolated incidents, an attempt to tamp down a scandal that has led the Latin American nation's biggest export markets to ban its meats. Since police launched raids on processing plants and company offices in seven states on Friday, President Michel Temer's government has sought to downplay the crisis in the meatpacking sector, one of the bright spots of an economy struggling with its worst recession on record. But Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, Mexico and Switzerland all announced partial or all-out bans on Brazilian meat imports on Tuesday, following measures similar to those taken by China, the European Union, South Korea and Chile a

News source: Farming UK