“Farmers are concerned with the impact that this prolonged wet weather will have on adhering to some cross compliance rules,” says NFU Cymru President, Stephen James, in his recent letter to the Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies.
In his letter, Stephen James endeavoured to highlight some of the issues that are arising on farms across Wales as a result of the continued wet weather that has battered Wales for the past six weeks or so. Farmers are particularly worried about the GAECs covering soils and supplementary feeding. Stephen said, “Livestock keepers have little option but to feed where is most appropriate for the welfare of animals because flood water in many instances, is preventing access to parts of the farm. With lambing in parts of the country now firmly under way, ewes with young lambs have to be protected from the weather, meaning other livestock that may normally be housed at this time, are being forced to be kept outside for longer than usual. Therefore, we would request a relaxation on rules for supplementary feeding on land subject to agri environment commitments where no other suitable land is available.
“The extreme rainfall has also resulted in slurry stores filling up much quicker than expected and we would request that a pragmatic and flexible approach is adopted to recognise that slurry/waste water will need to be spread as soon as conditions allow.”
Stephen James went on to highlight the continuing struggle that farmers are having in completing their necessary hedge trimming in the small time frame allowed (1 September – 28 February). He said, “The sodden conditions have prevented machinery from being able to access agricultural land for much of the period that hedge trimming is allowed. With the continued wet weather forecast and the certainty that even when the weather improves it will take significant time for the land to dry, NFU Cymru requests that a Wales-wide derogation be introduced to allow for all hedges to be trimmed until the 31 March.
“NFU Cymru is doing its part in providing help and guidance to our members and have re-launched our Fodder Bank scheme, a free service that helps livestock farmers find feed and bedding for their livestock. I hope the Minister will realise our concerns for the industry and provide farmers with assistance in the areas highlighted within my letter.”