Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Christmas and New Year

I wish all followers of this Blog a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.  The Trust will be closed from tonight but we will return bright eyed and bushy tailed to tackle the challenges of 2010 on 5th January.

Alison, Catherine & dogs after our Christmas Lunch, yesterday.

Scotland - Rural Land Use Strategy

If you would like to know more about the development of the Land Use Strategy for Scotland I suggest that you look at the Scottish National Rural Network site which has background details, links to other information and tells you how to get involved.

The Trust will be contributing to this process through Scotland's Moorland Forum but we will supplement this with some input of our own, if I think we can add something extra as an independent view.  I woould be pleased to hear any views from members about the issues that should be addressed.  It is interesting to note that The Climate Change (Scotland) 2009 requires a land use strategy to be introduced by 2011.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Wales - Introduction of Glastir / EID

The latest version of Gwlad, the Welsh Assembly Government's agriculture and rural affairs magazine, has a useful summary of the actions required by farmers who wish to enter the Glastir scheme when it starts on 1 January 2012.  See page 3.  This may seem a long way off but, perhaps surprisingly, actions start now.

This same edition also has a useful summary of the requirements of the Electronic ID Scheme in Wales.  See page 4.

For those with an  interest in encouraging Young Entrants, a link to the details of the key Welsh scheme can be found on page 13.  Should other countries be following the Welsh lead?

Sunday, 6 December 2009

The Average Age of Hill Farmers

The perceived wisdom is that the average age of hill farmers is increasing out of control and that they are much older than other farmers.  In doing some research for a paper I am writing I came across the Rural Business Research website that provides average age by farm type.  I reproduce the table here:

Farm Type Average age
       General Cropping
       Grazing livestock (lowland)
       Grazing lifestock (LFA)
    Mixed and other types

 I have not researched this in depth and it is possible the detail explains why this is not as it seems (lies, damn lies & statistics).  However, cheer up hill farmers, you may not be as far out on a limb as you thought you were, mind you the figures do not necessarily change how you feel.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Wildfires - California style

This article from BBC News demonstrates that the debate between prescribed burning and wildfires is not confined to the burning of heather.  Much of the content of this article, although describing forest fires, is relevant to heather burning.

The video clip:  It would be good to think we could have helicopters on standby in the UK, although 3 min standby might be a bit OTT!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


One Welsh farmer has made hydropower work for him.  See a short video clip.

The costs quoted are: installation £25,000, grant £2,500, income from sale of surplus electricity £900 per month.  On these figures, anyone with a good supply of water and a steep hill should be queuing up.