UFU Arable and Horticulture Update

Saturday, 26 May, 2018


Written by UFU Policy Officer Seeds and Cereals, Patricia Erwin 

Whilst spring was slow to emerge the UFU Arable and Horticulture Committees have used the time wisely to cultivate a debate and discussion about their future.  In particular the UFU Seeds & Cereals Policy committee have aired concerns about the sustainability of the sector post Brexit.   The Ulster Arable Society and UFU are progressing further discussions with others to look at how collectively all can be part of the solution for both Farming and the Environment.

Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured Cereal Scheme (FQACS): 2018 arable crops are now established and in preparation for harvest the new scheme stickers are being distributed over the coming weeks to all members.  These purple NI FQACS 2018 stickers must be placed on the Passport documentation and accompany each load/consignment of grain.

For convenience, members will also receive Guidance notes for the control of Birds and a copy of a suggested Rodent and Bird Survey and Treatment Record template.   

Adherence to the scheme protocols is important because wild, domestic and feral birds may be carriers of numerous diseases of significant risk to the poultry industry such as Newcastle Disease, Avian Influenza, Avian Tuberculosis. They can also be carriers of salmonella and other pathogens harmful to livestock and humans. Every effort must therefore be taken to exclude birds from all grain handling and storage areas where they could contaminate the grain. 

Birds may be attracted to areas for three main reasons:

Availability of food and water
Availability of shelter and roosting sites
Availability of nesting sites

Wherever possible, birds must be denied the above as it is more effective in the long term to make a site unattractive to birds than trying to control birds once they have become established.

The UFU are progressing the launch of the 2018 Cereal Competition, the UFU Seeds & Cereals Committee encourage all to enter and support the competition. 

The UFU Vegetable, Potato and Apple Committee chairmen who represent their sectors on the NI Horticulture Forum worked collectively to profile professional horticulture growers and produce at RUAS 2018.

Building a strong public image and engaging with the consumer and wider public were our aims and objectives heading into RUAS 2018.  The UFU were delighted to support both the NI Water Catchment Partnership and the NI Horticulture Forum at RUAS 2018.