"Give a man a reputation as an early riser, and he can sleep ’til noon." Mark Twain
The uplift in cattle prices of recent weeks slowed in week ended 11th May read more
With more new season lambs entering the market, the dynamics of the trade have started to change read more
Provisional data for April milk deliveries of approximately 1,111m litres are 93m litres (7.7%) down on the previous year read more
In April, the DAPP averaged 160.9p/kg, almost 4p up on the month. At the same time, the average retail price came down by a small amount read more
The GB weekly average price fell by £7.68/t to £295.35/t and the free-buy average fell by £22.02/t to £368.39/t. read more
The first USDA estimates for world production in 2013-14 forecast record maize and wheat production, citing larger planted areas and a rebound in yields from the US (maize) and the Former Soviet Union (wheat) read more
The USDA has released its first soyabean supply and demand estimates for the new season read more
UK malting barley export prices are at €245/t FOB (spring, South Coast) w/e 11th April. read more
The latest National Statistics produced by Defra on the activity of UK hatcheries and poultry slaughterhouses. read more
USDA’s latest quarterly stocks report, released on 28th September, estimated US maize stocks (at 1st September) at 25.1m t, down 12% on the same point in 2011 and the lowest since 2004. read more
Bayer’s Paul Goddard tells Farm Business the industry must work together to feed the world
“We’re in it together,” says Paul Goddard, application and stewardship manager for Bayer CropScience. “Each and every one of us working in the agricultural industry. We all share in the responsibility of finding – and enacting – solutions that will help feed the world.”
The prospect of the world’s population reaching nine billion by 2050 is testing some of the industry’s brightest minds and biggest companies. The physical and logistical challenges of growing, harvesting and distributing sufficient food to feed all those extra mouths are daunting enough, but then there are added complications: agriculture’s already in the dock as a major producer of greenhouse gases, and if theories about man-made climate change are proved correct, agricultural production might become a lot more unpredictable. But it’s not just climate change: heightened concern for our environment puts ever greater pressure on the use of the crop protection products we’ve come to rely upon for safe, healthy and plentiful food.
“Major crop failure isn’t something the modern global agricultural industry has experienced,” says Mr Goddard. “Yet climate change could bring unexpected droughts to areas that are key to grain production, or allow the rise of previously unimportant pests and diseases that could threaten production and profitability. When you also consider that the public generally doesn’t appreciate the nature, extent and requirements of food production, the scale of the problem we’re facing becomes clearer. As an industry, there’s a lot we need to do to promote our professionalism and responsibility, to present a united front and communicate more effectively.”
An odd message for an application and stewardship manager to be preaching? “Not really – this new role is very much ‘farm to fork’. Having cut my teeth in the trials team, I understand how there’s much more to crop protection than putting a product into a tank and spraying a field.
“Some of that responsibility falls to us as a manufacturer – formulation, operator safety, etc – while some falls to the producer: timing, application, appropriate use, making the correct agronomic decisions. There are also joint responsibilities – for example, hollow handles, which were difficult to clean, have been eliminated but are still made from the same plastic as the can to help end-users meet their disposal responsibilities. Additional responsibilities fall to those further down the chain, such as buyers and processors.
“With the Chemicals Regulation Directive we’re working within probably the world’s best regulatory framework, coupled with programmes such as NRoSO, NPTC, NSTS and the Voluntary Initiative. But just one report about MRLs being exceeded – or, as we saw recently, the appearance of IPU in watercourses after the product’s authorisation had been withdrawn – undoes a lot of hard work.”
While such isolated incidences don’t help with image building, agriculture’s tide is turning, says Mr Goddard, as people again recognise its importance and understand its role in things close to our hearts: food production, wildlife management and landscape conservation. He points to a survey conducted for the Oxford Farming Conference last year by the IGD, that revealed a hitherto unmeasured positive public perception of agriculture. Of those questioned, 88% believed farmers deserved the full support of the British public, while the same percentage also agreed Britain needed to be more self-sufficient in food.
“It’s good to be winning some of these arguments at last, but we still have much to do to continue to have the support of the public – and their full confidence – in being able to produce food for the nation. That’s why stewardship and initiatives like our involvement with FACE (Farming and Countryside Education) remain so important.”
At this year’s Oxford Farming Conference delegates were asked to choose a factor that could help feed the world. Most favoured ‘new technologies and genetic modification’, a view echoed by farmers from other leading global agricultural economies. “Farmers want access to innovation,” says Mr Goddard, “and UK farmers will need to produce not just more, but much more food as the population grows and the climate turns more challenging. We need to consider how we’re going to drive the innovation needed, without absolving ourselves of responsibility to the public.”
Paul Goddard has worked for Bayer since 1993 and has recently filled the newly-created post of application and stewardship manager. www.bayercropscience.co.uk
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