Have you got your Sprayer Tested?

All non-exempt pesticide application equipment in use, including slug pellet and granular applicators should have been tested by November 2016.

For details go to: http://www.herefordshireruralhub.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/sprayertestinga5web.pdf

The UK’s only recognised testing scheme is the National Sprayer Testing Scheme  www.nsts.org.uk

The Voluntary Initiative promotes responsible pesticide use  www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk


“2020 Vision for Herefordshire’s Family Farms” Project update

The project is progressing well with only a very few more spaces available.

The feedback from those already signed up has been that the scheme provides an excellent opportunity for families to all sit down together and discuss the future, a necessary starting point to aid planning in these uncertain times.

This is a 3-year program which aims to help farming families achieve long term viability.

A bespoke plan will be put together for each farm, to include free mentoring and business support.

If you are interested in being one of the chosen farms, or would just like further information, please contact the Project Facilitator, Sarah Starkey, on 07974 438517 or email farming2020@herefordshireruralhub.co.uk


“Duty of Care” to manage agricultural waste responsibly

Commercial businesses have a legal requirement to manage their waste responsibility. This legal requirement is termed ‘Duty of Care’.   

This requires the producer of the waste to ensure it is stored and recovered or disposed of appropriately and within the law.  

The leaflet below explains ‘Duty of Care’ and outlines some useful advice that can help prevent you from becoming a victim of illegal waste activity.  

To download the leaflet click here


The Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit

The Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit is looking for farmers to be involved in their new and exciting project, which aims to quantify which management practices work best to improve carbon storage in soil.

The project, which has been kindly funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, along with support from FCCT’s recent crowdfunding campaign, will allow for much needed data to be collected on soil carbon sequestration whilst at the same time enabling farmers to play a positive role in the development of effective climate change mitigation mechanisms.

Sequestering (or storing) carbon in farm soils, is a win-win not just for farmers, but for society and the planet. By building organic matter (and carbon) levels within soils, it is possible to improve water holding capacity, biological activity, nutrient cycling, soil structure and aggregate stability, all which have benefits to the farm business. But the wider benefits are also significant.

By building soil organic matter levels, farmers are able to store carbon within agricultural soils which is effective at can offsetting greenhouse gas emissions from other industries. Practices such as minimising tillage, avoiding compaction, adding organic matter to the soil and improving biological activity within the soil are all activities which will help build soil carbon, but what is missing is evidence that shows which practice works best where, and how much carbon can be stored by doing so.

There is lots of interest in building soil health and business resilience, along with the increasing use of minimal or zero tillage systems,” explains Jonathan Smith, FCCT Director. “Farmers are becoming more aware of the fundamental importance of soil health, and are looking at ways to improve it, and soil carbon is a key part of the puzzle. For farmers to make the changes, they need to understand what practices work, and be confident that these are practical, tried and tested and profitable. Our Carbon Farming project will provide some of the answers.”

The Carbon Farming project will work with 10 farms for the next three years, providing a baseline and then looking at the impact on soil carbon levels of different management practices. As well as looking at the impact on soil carbon, the project will also investigate the financial implications and practical considerations of different management practices.

As part of this project FCCT is working with other organisations who are interested in soil carbon to collate data from a wider network of farms, as well as with the leading researchers in soil carbon to make sure that the data that is being collected is scientifically robust and can be used to provide evidence for future policy.

FCCT Project Officer Becky Willson explains “By making sure that the data we will collect has scientific merit, and by working together we will be able to develop our understanding of soil carbon sequestration in practice and the role this could have for future climate policies and in building resilient farm businesses that are fit for the future.”

Farmers wishing to be involved: – Please contact Becky Willson on 01579 372376 or by email on becky.willson@farmcarbontoolkit.org.uk

“Bytes & Pieces” from WM Police

‘Bytes & Pieces’ from the world of Rural & Business matters, a 30 second insight into the latest scams, solutions and stuff !

  • Stuck for something to do on Sunday 10th September?? – West Mercia Police is celebrating its 50th year and in Herefordshire that will be at Leominster Police station between 11am – 4pm and is a FREE event
    WM Police Open Day Poster – Leominster
  • Got a LinkedIn account?? – Beware of an email scam (VERY REALISTIC) – You may be asked to update your account details by clicking on a link…DONT !
  • BOSBURY – White van, some signwriting on the side (NO OTHER DETAIL) last few days touting for tarmac jobs around 9 a.m. (can you add more detail?)
  • Own a 4×4? – 3 seperate incidents of them being set alight in the last 7 days in Bridgnorth….nothing to suggest a connection to Herefordshire, but be aware.

Paul Crumpton, Rural & Business Officer
Herefordshire, West Mercia Police


Slurry and silage pollution incident reduction – communications for dairy farmers

Loss of slurry and silage effluent from dairy farms is the most common cause of significant farm pollution incidents in this area. Fish kills, damage to other river life and impacts on water supplies can often result.

In an effort to reduce the number of serious pollution incidents of this nature, the Environment Agency is offering the following advice to dairy farmers.

1)    Ensure you have enough slurry storage. This will not only help to meet legal obligations, but will also reduce any pressure to spread slurry during unsuitable ground or weather conditions. The legal requirement for slurry storage for dairy slurry is a minimum of 4 months storage in non-NVZ areas and a minimum of 5 months storage in NVZ areas.

2)    When and where it is safe to do so, check slurry stores, silage clamps and any other associated infrastructure such as pipes, pumps and hydrants for signs of corrosion and weakness. Employ a structural engineer to check the structural integrity of stores. A lot of stores are getting old and may start to become corroded and weak, so checks and any necessary maintenance are important to prevent any catastrophic failure. Remember this is a safety issue as well as a pollution prevention issue.

3)    Make sure you have good communication with any contractors spreading slurry for you. Agree safe spreading rates, advise them of  land drained areas and no spread areas near watercourses, ditches and water supplies. If you have a risk map, share it with them.

4)    Produce an emergency plan for dealing with any loss of slurry or silage effluent from the farm. Think about potential losses from failure or overflow from containment facilities (tanks, lagoons etc) and potential losses from spreading operations such as burst pipes or other equipment failure. Drainage plans of the farmyard and fields are invaluable in an emergency spillage situation and can massively reduce or prevent any impact on watercourses and water supplies.

The Environment Agency provides advice and guidance to farmers on pollution prevention and compliance with regulations such as NVZ and SSAFO regulations. If you would like to speak to an adviser about help and support on any of the above points, please contact:

Sharon Chisholm for Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire
Tel: 020 302 51692  Email: sharon.chisholm@environment-agency.gov.uk 

Geoff Harper for Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Midlands
Tel: 020 302 51177  Email: geoff.harper@environment-agency.gov.uk

EA warning about possible contamination of animal bedding with hazardous materials

Bedding buyers beware

During routine inspections the EA have discovered instances where waste materials, such as plasterboard and wood contaminated with plastics, metals and other hazardous material have been used as animal bedding on farms. This may be harmful to livestock, the environment, is illegal and can be very expensive to clean up.

Some waste materials may be suitable and economically viable options for animal bedding, provided the correct exemption has been registered. The exemption that covers this activity is U8 – Use of waste for a specified purpose. However, some farmers may be unknowingly allowing inappropriate and contaminated materials on to their farms and putting themselves and their livestock at risk.

Unfortunately some suppliers of bedding materials have been found to be cutting corners and deliberately misleading farmers, providing unsuitable waste materials and in some cases delivering quantities in excess of what was ordered as a method of disposing of these materials cheaply.

Two waste types are of particular concern:

Waste Wood

waste wood

Virgin timber is not waste wood. Virgin timber includes trees and branches, shavings and sawdust, removed during forestry activities. It also includes virgin timber shavings and off-cuts produced by sawmills, wood-working or timber product manufacture before it is subject to treatment or use. Virgin timber products such as sawdust and shavings are suitable for livestock bedding.

Waste wood is treated or untreated wood that has been used for any purpose. It includes associated residues such as off-cuts, shavings, chippings and sawdust. Waste timber products such as sawdust and shavings may be suitable for livestock bedding. Where virgin wood is mixed with waste wood such as fence posts, pallets, construction boarding or other waste, the mixed load is classified as waste.

Waste wood is graded from A to D based on its level of contamination. Only Grade A (untreated clean) waste wood is suitable for use as animal bedding, it must be visibly clean and non-hazardous. Please be aware that some wood treatments may not be obvious and visible. Grade A waste wood can be used as animal bedding under a U8 exemption.

Waste Plasterboard

waste plasterboard

Waste plasterboard cannot be used in animal bedding, however the recovered backing paper from plasterboard is a suitable component of bedding if it is largely uncontaminated with gypsum. The recovered paper should be free of any visible lumps or granules of gypsum. The use of recovered paper in animal bedding is allowed under a U8 exemption.

Reduce the risk

You should be present during the delivery of waste materials to your farm.  Ensure you make simple checks on whether the waste is to the same specification as you agreed and that it is free from contaminants.  Wrongly described waste, contaminated waste or waste that is not allowed under a  U8 exemption should be rejected.

If you suspect that you have unknowingly accepted misclassified waste, isolate the waste and report all the details to the Environment Agency.

Please note: If you want to spread waste bedding on your land you must treat it first under either a T23, T24 or T25 exemption.  Once treated, the waste can be spread on land under a U10 or U11 exemption




Remember that the deadline for requesting application packs for Mid Tier Stewardship and the Water Capital Grant is 31st July, so if you want to apply this year you will need to have requested a pack by this date.  Worcester will be strict on this deadline, and will not take calls for packs after 31st July.  If you a reading this in July and wish to request a pack please ring Natural England at Worcester on 0208 026 1090 without delay.

  You will need your SBI, Holding Number and field numbers handy when you call.


If you have requested a pack are considering applying for items that require Catchment Sensitive Farming approval you must have contacted your local CSFO by the middle of August.  Contact details are below and we would encourage you to make contact as soon as possible.

CSFO Contacts

Wye (including Lugg)

West – Wayne Davies – 01588 640 980 – wayne.davies@naturalengland.org.uk

East – James Griffiths – 01746 718 032 – james.griffiths@naturalengland.org.uk

South – Rachel Bosanquet – 07770331669 – rachel.bosanquet@naturalengland.co.uk


Sally Powell – 07770 645037 – sally.powell@naturalengland.org.uk