16th APRIL 2020 - Page 33

JANUARY 23 2020
Willy John
By Dobson
January 20, 1970
Farming ‘approaching point of no return’
RITISH agriculture is
approaching the point of no
return,” said Mr J K Knowles,
general secretary of the National
Farmers’ Union, said last week.
“An ever-increasing number of
farmers and growers are facing the
most serious nancial difculties as
the result of the failure of successive
Government to ease the nancial
straitjacket in which the industry has
for so long been conned.
“The danger that agricultural
production in this country will begin
to fall as condence wanes is now a
very real one.”
The lesson of the dwindling national
sheep ock, he said, was one the
Government should take to heart.
Last year there were one million
fewer home-produced lambs in the
butchers’ shops, and in three years
the national ock had shrunk by
nine per cent while 145,000 farmers,
because of the poor returns, had
given up keeping sheep.
“For the nation as a whole, the

“He says he’ll make more money sign-writing than
farming this year.”
decade before us will throw up the
greatest economic challenge the
nation has ever faced.
“It will be a battle for the right to
live in a world which will hold no
privileges for us, but will demand the
best endeavour from both eld and
factory if we are to reach and maintain
any semblance of economic security,”
Mr Knowles declared.
“We have but a very short time in
which we can adjust ourselves for an
all-out onslaught and solve once and
for all the recurring nancial crisis
that have beset us. As we enter the
new year, the most heartening sign is
the knowledge that British industry
and British agriculture have, after
detailed appraisal of all the factors in
our economic climate, jointly declared
that, by the harnessing of our own
home acres and the injection of
capital, farming can make the greatest
single contribution to national wellbeing.
“The resolve and response of
farmers, however, will not alone bring
the desired results. The Government
must support its exhortations with
action, break the stranglehold on
farming created by inadequate
nancial returns and allow the men
on the land to reach optimum output
with as little delay as possible.”
Room for small farmers to specialise in rearing calves
ABOVE: Mr Hubert Walker of the
Tullykevin, Ballywalter.
PEAKING on the subject “Planning for Beef”
in Newtownards last week, Mr John D Aicken
re-emphasised the need for a planned
approach to beef production.
He gave two local examples of the production of
18-month-old beef and suggested that this type
of beef production was very suited to Northern
Ireland conditions as it made good use of grass.
He described the unit of Dickson Bros at Seaforde
as a “good example” of the planned production of
young beef from spring born suckled calves.
“The Dickson’s house about 500 bought in calves
weighing about 500lb. They are fed on good quality
silage or hay with a supplement of 4lb barley.
“The aim is to keep them growing steadily during
the winter period. Fattening is completed on grass
and the animals are sold in late June and early July
at 850 to 900lb,” said Mr Aicken.
Mr Aicken, who has special responsibilities for
all the Ministry’s advisory effort in County Down,
explained that the secret of the success of this
enterprise was that the animals were growing
steadily from birth to slaughter and were marketed
at a light weight.
The second farm he described was that of Mr H
Walker at Tullykevin, Ballywalter, where Mr Walker
and his father farm 102 acres, including eight acres
of “rough”.
Mr Aicken said that Mr Walker was a young man
just started beef production seriously after a year
at Greenmount Agricultural College.
In 1968 he was not satised with his production
per acre so in 1969 increased his nitrogen
application from 63 units to 120 units per acre. He
increased his tonnage of silage from 350 tons to
600 tons. He had done this by making 350 tons in
unroofed clamp silos covered with polythene.
Mr Aicken described this as a good example of
the sensible use of capital to provide additional
accommodation. Existing buildings had also
been cheaply converted as labour-saving cattle,
housing, he said.
Mr Walker planned to produce young 18 month
old beef but has had difculty getting suitable
animals, said Mr Aicken.
He pointed out that suitably well reared autumn
born calves were difcult to obtain and said that,
in his opinion, there was room in County Down
for small farmers to specialise in rearing calves
bought from dairy herds.
“There must be some co-operation between
rearers and fatteners so that fatteners could
be assured of well-reared calves which would
produce young lean beef,” he said.
Mr Aicken went on to describe the three lots
of cattle being fattened on Mr Walker’s farm at
present. Each lot were, he said, being fed to be
marketed at different times depending on their
present weight.
The majority were planned to be marketed before
mid-April but some would be nished off grass
either grazed direct or zero-grazed before midJuly.
Boots introduces four new products Cup success for Henry
EARLY 100 County Armagh fruit
growers attended a meeting
given by Boots Farm Sales Ltd
in Portadown last week when four
new products were introduced.
Chairman was Mr Edwin
McClelland, a well-known local
grower, and the speakers were Mr T E
Fletcher and Dr S B Wakerley of Boots
Research Station at Lenton.
The four new products have been
introduced by Boots for the control
of the major pests and diseases in
Mr Fletcher outlined the benets
of using the rm’s new scab-mildew
compound Benlate (50 per cent w-w
Benomyl) which offered for the rst
time a major new concept in the
control of these diseases.
Mr Fletcher pointed out that
Benlate, a wetable powder, should be
applied once every 14 days. It had the
advantage of being compatible with
a wide range of chemicals and was
safe in all varieties tested right up to
It could, he said, be used on undercropped orchards. Benlate offered
LEFT: At the conference
are Mr T Fletcher, (Lenton
Experimental Station), Mr
John Cox-Brown (Boots
Farm Sales Fieldsman
for County Armagh), Mr
E McClelland, (chairman)
and Dr S Wakeley,
(Lenton Station).
a major breakthrough in fungicide
control because of its combined
properties of spectrum and systemic
Other uses for Benlate still to
be conrmed were rose mildew,
strawberry botrytis, gooseberry
mildew and a host of other fungi in
many crops.
Mr Fletcher also introduced
Morocide liquid which, he said, was a
natural follow-up for the already well
established powder formulation for
the control of mildew and red
Dr Wakerley outlined the rm’s
new insecticide, Fenitrothion. In
independent work carried out by the
NAAS, Fenitrothion was found to be
superior to DDT.
He said such pests as winter moth,
tortrix, sucker, apple grass aphid,
blossom weevil and capsid were all
controlled by Fenitrothion.
Dr Wakerley ended with a short talk
on how the red spider was quick to
build up a resistance to chemicals
and the trouble the English growers
were experiencing with the pest.
Boots new acaricide, Dicarzol,
was formulated to overcome the
resistance, he said.
n A vote of thanks to the speakers
was proposed by local growers Mr R
Price and Mr T McClelland.
McCracken of
receives the
Ulster Farm
cup from Mrs
Patton, wife
of the YFCU
president Mr J


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