Land Business Update | Week Commencing 29th April 2024
Land Business Update | Week Commencing 29th April 2024

Land Business Update | Week Commencing 29th April 2024


20% fall in UK winter crop output estimated

The estimate, from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, is based on AHDB’s early bird survey of planted areas of crops, which have fallen for most winter-sown crops, and yields from the last year that was very affected by poor winter weather, which was 2020. Winter wheat production is estimated to reduce by 26% (using a 7.0t yield), winter barley by 33% (6t yield) and oilseed rape by 38% (2.7t yield). This winter has been unprecedentedly wet, coming at the end of the wettest 18 months in the UK since records began in 1836. The ECIU has, rightly, called for farmers to be more supported, including through green farming schemes, to invest in their soils to allow them to recover faster from both floods and droughts.

‘Climate crisis is the biggest challenge of our generation’, says World Meteorological Organization after 2023 records

In the latest European State of the Climate report, the WMO says that the cost of climate action may seem high, but the cost of inaction is much higher. In 2023, temperatures in Europe were above average for eleven months of the year, there were a record number of days at ‘extreme heat stress’, it had the largest wildfire ever recorded and it was also one of the wettest years, with widespread flooding. Heat-related mortality in Europe has increased by around 30% in the past 20 years. It’s time to act!

Basic Payments in England

2023 was the last year that a claim for Basic Payments had to be made and delinked payments start this year, with no need to submit a claim. However, it is possible to transfer the delinked payments to another business, which needs to be done by 10th May. Please contact any of our farming teams if you would like to do this.

Health and Safety Executive is halting farm safety inspections

The Farm Safety Partnership has called the decision, which is due to the HSE wanting to focus on occupational health and not preventative inspections, deeply troubling and has asked the government and HSE to reconsider. Farming has one of the highest injury and fatality rates of any UK workplace.


Water resources grants available to improve the resilience or supply of water in your area

Groups of land managers can apply for a grant to pay for water consultants to provide advice on options to improve local water availability. There is a wide range of possibly options to do this, including farm storage reservoirs (new, resizing and/or change to multi-season operation), water efficiency tools, water sharing, demand management and leakage reduction, and abstraction and storage of floodwater. Applications must be submitted by 16th June and this is a competitive scheme so not all applications will be funded.

Scottish government minister says 2030 climate target ‘out of reach’

The Scottish Government has dropped the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030, blaming, in part, UK government cuts and backtracking on climate measures for the move. However, the failure appears to be deeper routed than recent funding cuts as Scotland is off track on emissions from farming, tree planting, peatland restoration, transport, housing and heat pump installation. The goal of reaching net-zero by 2045 remains in place.

Separately, Chris Stark, who has stepped down as the head of the Climate Change Committee, said that the UK is losing out on green investment to other countries due to the UK government’s rollback on net zero targets.  He was also critical of Labour cutting its planned spending on the green transition as looking like ‘a retreat’.

Marsh tits in Cambridgeshire show scale of extinction challenge to wildlife

When Richard Broughton, an ecologist at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, first started studying marsh tits in 2002 in Monks Wood in Cambridgeshire there were 22 pairs. In 2023 there were 10. By 2042, they are expected to be extinct. Their decline is due to competition from other birds, fewer insects, lack of connectivity in the landscape and climate change affecting the availability of caterpillars for their chicks. It’s time to act!

EU Parliament approves deal on world’s first carbon removal certification scheme

In time this could unlock a market for carbon capture for farmers. Some environmental organisations are sceptical and are waiting to see if its implementation avoids greenwashing.

Property and rural economy

New Agricultural Landlord and Tenant Code of Practice for England

The new Code has received a warm welcome across the tenanted sector. It helps to establish clear expectations and guidelines for both landlords and tenants by promoting fairness, transparency and effective communication. These are all values that Strutt & Parker have tried to work to. We hope that the framework will contribute to better relationships and outcomes for all.

Join our quarterly webinar on commercial, residential and rural property – 9.00am on 9th May

In less than one hour, our research and economics team will whizz through the key points of the main UK property markets. If you can’t join, we will also produce a short summary of the key takeaways. You can sign up here.

New border control checks start on 30th April for high-risk food and plants

The UK has started to implement these checks of goods from the EU. The checks for goods entering at Dover will happen 20 miles inland near Ashford and it is unclear how lorries carrying the goods will be monitored between the port and the control post. A range of stakeholders have raised questions about the practicalities of the checks. There have also been questions about food (and farm animal) safety if only a small proportion of high- and medium-risk goods are selected for checking.

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