New TB Pre-movement Testing Proposals

The consultation Bovine TB: new control measures, tackling transmission between cattle herds is open until 10th January 2014. The proposals in this consultation include:

1. To abolish the pre-movement testing exemption for movements of cattle to and from common land by the end of April 2014, with the possibility of a waiver for movements from the common land back to the premises from which the cattle were turned out where the distance moved does not exceed a set distance limit.

Defra propose two options:

A. From April 2014, the common land section in the Schedule to the Tuberculosis (England) Order 2007 should be removed in full. Normal pre-movement testing requirements would then apply to all cattle moving onto and back from common land.

B. To allow post-movement testing – instead of pre-movement testing (where required) – to be carried out on cattle after their removal from the common.

A meeting was organised by the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project to discuss the proposals.

Read the full notes of the meeting here.


SWUF Position Statement on CAP

The Government’s review of upland policy in 2011 reiterated the Coalition’s statement to support upland farmers. Now is the time to deliver on this pledge. Reform of the CAP provides an opportunity to make hill farming sustainable and financially viable, thereby safeguarding the future for those public benefits. However it also has the potential to irreversibly damage hill farming.

Hill farming is predominately livestock rearing and recent improvements in the price paid for beef have been welcomed, but these higher payments have largely been negated by substantial rises in costs. Variable costs associated with livestock production have risen by 55.4% over the last 12 months (ref 1). The state of hill farming in the SW is  probably worse today than it was in 2006/7 when the average Farm Business Income was £9,207, but when family labour is included this fell to a loss of £10,583 per farm (ref 2). Public support, in the form of the Single Farm Payment and agri-environment payments provide about 40% of a hill farm’s Farm Business Income (ref 3). Changes to pillar 1 and pillar 2 payments have the potential to have a significant impact on hill farming – to cause its demise or provide a future.

Read the full document here : SWUF CAP Reform 2013 final

SWUF Response to CAP Consultation

We believe that public support, from agricultural payments, is well deserved in the uplands because it enables an impressive array of public goods and benefits to be maintained and managed by High Nature Value Farming.

To ensure a sound evidence base for decision making SWUF initiated a Survey of Hill Farms throughout the South-west England in 2013.

The initial results include:

  • Evidence of a continued withdrawal of livestock from moorland and common land. 
  • CAP payments (SPS and Agri-environment) provide 40% of an average hill farm’s agricultural income. 
  • Over 80% of respondents were in an agri-environment scheme and that income is more significant to the farm’s viability than in 2007. 

SWUF has chosen to focus only on those questions relating to hill farming, especially to
farming in the SW uplands.

Read the full document here  SWUF response to CAP consultation 28 11 13