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Welsh Country is the pan Wales magazine that is essential reading for those that are passionate about the countryside of Wales, Welsh Food, Arts in Wales, Welsh Property, the history of Wales and its people, lifestyle, gardening and much more...

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The Dairy coalition has told dairy buyers, processors, retailers and the food service sector they must commit to British farmers to deliver better market returns in the future and secure a sustainable supply of milk.

The coalition, the NFU, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland, FFA, TFA, WFU and the RABDF met today to discuss dairy market issues and its future strategy.

In the short term, the coalition has called for urgent and meaningful farm gate price rises for 1 April, to ensure a realistic market price. Challenges of poor weather, infertility and feed shortages mean that farmers can only respond to demand for more milk if they are paid a proper price.

Mansel Raymond, NFU Dairy board chairman said, "Yesterday's Fonterra auction result saw significant price rises in key commodities such as cheese, butter and milk powders, with all products up 14.8 per cent on the previous month. This clearly demonstrates that globally, demand is strong and supplies are tight. Yet we're still hearing that crippling deals being done in the domestic cheese and liquid markets are putting milk prices under pressure."

Read more: Commit to British farmers, Says Dairy Coalition

Bad weather impacts on 2012 harvest highlighting need for urgent supply chain action, says NFU Cymru

After a summer of persistent and occasionally torrential rain, UK yields for 2012 have been mixed across arable crops, according to results of a survey of the Union's members.

The Union's 2012 harvest survey also revealed that other major arable crops grown in the UK have performed well in difficult conditions, although without the investment made in technology by farmers the wheat harvest could have been much worse.

Read more: Bad Weather Impacts 2012 Harvest, says NFU Cymru

News that Schmallenberg Virus (SBV) antibodies have been found in Wales for the first time is of concern to all Welsh livestock farmers in but the news has not come as a surprise, NFU Cymru said today.

The antibodies were detected in three cows and one calf on premises in Ceredigion. The Welsh Government (WG) report that, whilst there is some uncertainty as to when the animals were infected by the SBV, the history of the animals suggests that they were infected by SBV while on the holding up to a year ago and that the most likely means of SBV infection is via infected midges. Therefore, the WG report that there is indirect evidence that midges in that part of Wales were SBV infected.

Read more: SB Virus Now a Concern for Welsh Livestock Farmers

NFU Cymru's Welsh Council has received an update on how the new Single Body will work when it starts its work in April 2013, replacing the three existing regulatory organisations, Forestry Commission Wales, Countryside Commission for Wales and the Environment Agency Wales.

Tim Jones, who heads the Communications Group for the Welsh Government's Living Wales programme to deliver the new single body, said the project provided a new approach to maintaining, enhancing and using the country's natural resources. His statement came amid scepticism from farmers who have expressed their disappointment at the existing set-up which has seen many long delays to planning applications for on-farm green energy projects using hydro and wind power and called for a more focused and joined-up approach.

Read more: NFU Cymru Recieve Insight into Workings of New Single Body

The following is a statement by Alun Davies AM, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes:

The plan for milk I announced during the Royal Welsh Show at the end of July confirmed my commitment to do everything in my power to work alongside the dairy industry to help resolve the immediate and longer-term issues around the price paid for milk. The Welsh Government's Programme for Government specifically identifies dairy as a priority sector for attention and support. In the light of recent developments, I wish to provide an update on the progress made by the Welsh Government.

Read more: Government Update: Welsh Dairy Farmers Support Package

Tom Heap's piece in Countryfile (7th Oct) on the future of livestock markets came from Abergavenny and Hereford.   Here in Abergavenny we're fighting to keep our market in town, as a vital part of the town's identity and its economic future, as a beacon for food and farming. In Hereford, the city centre market is now closed – and the smart new market looks really good.

First, let's be clear.  No-one wants Abergavenny market to carry on as it is. The current site is badly organised, with a third of the site partially closed off since the FMD outbreak in 2001 and it has not had any investment in its infrastructure for over a decade.  However, The Abergavenny Civic Society's independent, expert report shows clearly how the market can be modernised to 21st Century standards, to provide an efficient service for farmers AND be a real engine for town regeneration.

Read more: Countryfile Advises Innovation for Abergavenny Market

The Deputy Minister for Agriculture has announced £3.3m for the Dairy Supply Chain Efficiencies Scheme and an extra £150,000 for a dairy support project. Alun Davies also confirmed a consultation will be launched in October, and that a Dairy Forum will be established to support and inform the future development of the Welsh dairy sector.

The number of days of subsidised support and advice for farmers has been increased from five to eight.Speaking earlier today, the Deputy Minister said: "The plan for milk I announced during the Royal Welsh Show confirmed my commitment to do everything in my power to work alongside the dairy industry to help resolve the issues around the price paid for milk, and I'm happy to be able to provide you with an update on the work the Welsh Government has been doing over the summer in relation to this.

Read more: Welsh Dairy Farmers to recieve Government Support Package

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