Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Bio Security and the SFP

Farmers visiting this site have asked the editors to point out that by adhering to one set of advice from Mr. Bradshaw, our Minister for Conservation and Fisheries, on badger bio security, they may be in breach of an EU directive being rigorously enforced by another Defra department.

Fences, electric variety. Or to be more precise their maintenance.

Our Ben thinks that farmers should keep badgers out of cattle farms with electric fences. The editors are curious about this assertion, given a complete Ministerial failure in the gardens of Saltdean over a period of 3 months. The great and the good with the help of badger 'experts' tried to secure 4 back gardens (see Saltdean Badgers - on this site) but in a Colditz operation, the badgers in question dug, tunnelled, parachuted, jumped on each others' shoulders and got back in. But farmers are confidently expected to succeed (in starving their badgers?) where these 'experts' failed.

But back to electric fences.

Farmers could put fences around their fields and / or farms but to remain effective any vegetation growing underneath has to be kept clear of the live wire - constantly. This to prevent the wire earthing and losing power.
But in either spraying vegetation under the fence, or strimming the briers, grass and nettles for miles of his boundary, the farmer in question would be in breach of the 2m set aside rule for Single Farm Payment which says: "Thou shalt not spray, neither shall thou mow said 2m strip".

And if he moves his 'badger' fence to the edge of the original 2m strip, he may have created a 'new' boundary which would also need a 2m margin.

Oh dear Ben, what a muddle.

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