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Read Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers’ Farming Insight 2017

Read Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers’ Farming Insight 2017
August 09
12:24 2017

Jean Arnott crop 3One year on from the floods of last summer and things are generally looking up for farmers throughout the country, although the eternal Brexit question mark continues to add unwelcome doubts into the agriculture mix.

Jean Arnott-Glennie provides an insight into one of Scotland’s most important sectors…

This time last year we were looking at one of the wettest summers in the run-up to harvest. In addition we had to contend with the uncertainty caused by Brexit and the weakened pound but 12 months on and how things have changed. Although there has been occasional flooding and heavy downpours, the weather has been much better in the north-east. However, other areas in Scotland appear to have had too much of a good thing and crops have been stunted due to drought conditions, which could in turn lead to a shortage of straw and lower yields being recorded.

The Brexit issue is still rumbling on and although there has been a promise of post-Brexit support payments, it is not yet known what these will look like.  In addition, there is still no solution to the problem with the system for processing applications or indeed whether subsidy payments will be made on time to all farmers.

Meanwhile, the supply of labour from the EU is now under threat, with no guarantee that EU workers will return after Britain leaves the EU. The number of foreign workers coming into the UK for seasonal agricultural work has already reduced due to improved working conditions in their home country and the impact of the UK exchange rate on their income.

Alongside this, the ban on Glycosphate was postponed in 2016 and is due to be decided upon in December this year. In the meantime, Syngenta, along with other organisations, have instigated independent testing as to the impact of nicotinoids on the bee population in UK & EU. The results from the last three years are still being analysed but it is looking likely that the ban will come into effect with no viable alternative available.

On a more positive note, recent arable crop trials have resulted in several new varieties currently being licensed, potentially providing farmers with more choice and allowing them to find the most suitable product for their growing plan for the year ahead. However, it still requires co-operation from the maltsters in sourcing competitive markets for these.

Happily, though, the red-meat market is still looking strong with exports playing their part, the pig market is also looking profitable in Scotland, and if the crop harvest can be filled with heavy yields and buoyant premiums then hopefully farmers will feel more positive about the industry in the coming months.

Jean Arnott-Glennie is a Farms & Estates Account Executive at Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers.


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Catering Scotland

Catering Scotland

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