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Animal Landscape Set for a Change

by 5m Editor
20 August 2008, at 8:14am

UK - The landscape of Wales could change in years to come if changes in world food supplies and prices push more farmers towards arable rather than livestock farming. Mark Hill, head of the national food and agriculture group for Deloitte, in Cardiff, explains.

According to WalesOnline, he says that people are probably already aware there is less livestock around than 10 years ago, and there are two reasons for this.

One is foot-and-mouth disease. The last outbreak in 2001 saw more than one million animals destroyed in Wales. The other is changes to Common Agricultural Policy support.

The news agency reports that payments to farmers have been decoupled away from production. Previously, more animals meant more money but now farmers are paid a flat rate linked to good environmental practice and therefore the number of animals they keep is determined by their profitability.

Like the rest of us, farmers are learning to cope with rapidly rising costs – principally fuel, fertiliser and machinery. They are embracing technology to become more efficient, and introducing more sustainable systems to manage natural resources better. This means they are being more sparing in their use of fertiliser and will plan rotations to take advantage of high grain prices.

5m Editor