In Full

Country Life in Full

Fruit prices ‘would double without migrant labour’

Strawberries and other popular summer fruits will soar in price if Ministers fail to secure access to seasonal foreign labour to tend to and harvest British crops, consultants have warned.

News 2
Tracy Beecroft outside the glamping tepees at Low Bell End Farm near Rosedale Abbey.

Farm of the Week: Tracey realises her dream at last in Ryedale

When a tearful Tracy Beecroft rang her father from a call box in Uttoxeter more than 40 years ago and told him she was quitting the dairy farm and coming home, her dreams of a career in agriculture were in tatters. She needed to complete a year on a working farm in order to attend agricultural college at Aberystwyth but a combination of bleeding hands from milking, plus a wake up call to the demands of an unbeknown way of life tested her resolve to the limit.

News
Jonathan Rycroft, a convert to farming with GPS, with the Lite Trac sprayer in the background. Picture by James Hardisty.

Precision farming had to seen to be embraced on York farm

Strong in the back and weak in the head is a term that farmers were familiar with when jobs on the farm were back-breaking, tedious and when health and well-being were not the prime consideration. Much has changed at Stugdale Farm near Flaxton where a young John Rycroft would muck out the fold yard with a gripe - a four-pronged fork.

News
The Herdwatch app has been a boon for Andrew Sewell.

App eases records burden on cattle farms

Farm life is a round-the-clock concern that sees the farmer juggling many different tasks at any one time, but a new app, controlled from the palm of a hand, has made a real difference to the way Yorkshire farmer, Andrew Sewell, manages his time.

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St Michaels of Coxwold, which lords over the landscape, is said to be one of the first churches in Yorkshire. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Village Focus: Coxwold’s historical charm

Its pristine streets, manicured grass banks and honey-coloured stone houses lend Coxwold village qualities that undoubtedly see it qualify as a setting for big screen period dramas.

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Gerry Andrew harvests 'Sunstream' tomotoes, grown under LED lights, at Stockbridge Technology Centre.

Comment: Harnessing technology to enhance food security

In my last column, I noted the incredibly dry weather conditions we had been experiencing and, typically, the rain began almost as soon as I had stopped typing.

News
The North Yorkshire County Agricultural Show, near Bedale. Pictures by Simon Hulme

Heat is on as North Yorkshire County Show takes place in new home

An old favourite returned in new surroundings as the 39th North Yorkshire County Show made its debut at the Camp Hill estate, home of the Ropner family.

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The Yorkshire Vet camera crew was on hand to capture Julian Norton's hour-long surgery on Richard's bull.

Julian Norton: No choice but to operate to resolve bull’s bulging eye

Exactly a week after my first visit to see the case of the bullock-with-the-massive-eye, Richard called back at the practice to give an update.

News
Living the Dream: Moody residents and raiding rooks

Living the Dream: Moody residents and raiding rooks

Our Betty’s been in a right mood all week! Generally she’s been staying in the house and keeping herself to herself, but all of a sudden her mood just changed and it’s not a pretty sight.

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Pictures by Robert E Fuller.

Fuller: New-born kingfishers learn the ropes

In my last column, I described how I built an artificial nest for kingfishers rigged with cameras. When a pair laid a clutch of seven eggs in it I was delighted.

Environment
Andrew Keeble runs Heck Sausages, based at Sinderby, near Thirsk. Picture by James Hardisty.

Show’s ringing endorsement for Mike Keeble

September two years ago saw the loss of one of the Yorkshire agricultural world’s favourite sons and one of my best friends to prostate cancer - show commentator, farmer, writer and passionate advocate of young people in farming, Mike Keeble. I can still see his smile now and the sparkle in his eyes as he laughed.

News
A quail, photographed by Natural England.

Birdwatch: ‘Wet-me-lips’ call from returning quails

Most of our summer visitors are now back but one bird that is still arriving from the south is the quail.

Environment
Sue Woodcock has enjoyed a sociable week.

Wolds Diary: Lush valley walks at that planting time of the year

It has been a rather sociable week, starting at the church on Sunday where I was helping with sidesperson duties. I then got home in time to dig more of the garden and later took the dogs for a short walk.

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster.  Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: Yorkshire riders to represent Britain

Massive celebrations are afoot in Yorkshire eventing circles this week following the announcement that two Northern lads have been selected to represent Britain at the FEI Nations Cup in the USA in July.

Equestrian
Environment Secretary Michael Gove arrives at 10 Downing Street in London for a cabinet meeting. Picture by Victoria Jones/PA Wire.

Farm assurances sought from Gove in new Defra role

Michael Gove’s shock return to frontline politics as the government’s new Environment Secretary was greeted with enthusiasm from some rural quarters, with the pro-Brexit MP hailed for his “reformer’s zeal”, but his appointment has also been met with urgent calls for reassurances as questions were raised about his suitability for the role.

News
A ban could affect 1m hectares of arable crops, including cereals.

Farmers urged to act in watershed year for crops

Farmers and growers are being urged to explain the vital role neonicotinoids play on the farm to their MPs and MEPs, and via social media, to highlight the impact a proposed ban would have on UK farming.

News
Judith and Rob Ventress take a well earned break as Judith runs the family Bed and Breakfast while Rob works on Intake Farm Littlebeck. Picture by Richard Ponter.

Farm of the Week: Co-operative way to make Moors farms pay

Running a successful farm enterprise in contour-challenged countryside can be an uphill task. That’s as much geographically true as it is financially for Robert and Judith Ventress of the 390-acre Intake Farm in the hamlet of Littlebeck near Whitby. Their only ways out of this beautiful dale are a 1:3 towards Blue Bank, Sleights and the North York Moors and a 1:5 up the other side, the easier way to Ruswarp livestock market.

News
The population of Daubenton's bats has reportedly changed little since 2009. Picture by Hugh Clark/Bat Conservation Trust/PA Wire.

Country & Coast: Gnat snatchers have history at valley’s vital river crossing

The town of Bingley has proved to be a gift for headline writers when it comes to bats. A few years ago, one of the busiest crossings of the River Aire was closed there for six months when major repairs had be carried out with great care owing to a colony of bats roosting underneath its arches. This caused much local frustration and produced the inevitable “Bridge of Sighs” headline.

Environment
An EU decision on the continued use of glyphosate is expected in July. Picture by James Hardisty.

Costly weedkiller ban could put struggling farms out of business

Claims that a ban on the use of a common weedkiller chemical could put struggling farms out of business are no exaggeration, with farmers deeply frustrated that its continuation has even been called into question, according to Yorkshire farm union chairman, James Bainbridge.

News
A survey of 2,000 people saw British barbecues voted the worst in the world.

Meat sales boost sought from better barbecues message

A farming industry-led campaign aims to repair the image of British barbecues to drive higher beef and lamb steak sales over the summer months.

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