“Holy Grail” County 1884 tractor to be auctioned off.

An enthusiastic crowd of machinery enthusiasts is expected for the opportunity on the 19th October to buy a 1982 registered County 1884 tractor. No more than twenty of these machines are suspected to be left in preservation. Part of the reason for the rarity of this tractor is that only a handful where built before the company that built them County Commercial Cars Ltd went into receivership in February 1983. Despite sales continuing until 1989-90 under a reformed company the number of sales of the County 1884 remained low.

Scarcity and its striking appearance are why this particular model is desired by enthusiasts, the one going up for sale has also only recorded a use of 3,833 hours and is also described as in super condition making it even more desirable. It is based on the Ford TW-30, it uses a turbocharged and intercooled engine delivering 188hp its high specifications at the time demanded an asking price in 1982 of £40,940.

This tractor will no doubt be a star of the show at the Cheffins auction. It will also be sold with full documentation including original manuals, part books and sales leaflet.

Few days left for signups to the Princes Farm Resilience Programme

This year’s program is open to up to 300 farms, and focuses upon different skills taken in from seven workshops. These skills are designed to maximise profitability and resilience. The range of topics includes business planning, understanding accounts and budgeting. All the workshops are designed to help farmers explore new opportunities for their farm.

The programme will also help by giving one-to-one farm support and a health check where your farms strengths and weakness are determined and cost comparisons are made with similar size farms, allowing a farm to be able to see if he is spending to much on a certain area and work out why.

With this background of uncertainty at the moment and years of declining farm gate prices the Resilience Programme aims to help farms keep their businesses open in order to help benefit both the owners and the local community they provide work for.

Click here for more information and to sign up.

£30 Million UK-wide competition for countryside 5G

Announced by Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan a competition which has the aim of sparking a tech revolution in countryside communities has been put into place. This will see up to ten rural locations chosen for trails of innovative 5G applications. This is the latest wave of a £200 Million batch of funding to pioneer 5G across the UK this technology offers 10 to 20 times faster speeds than the previous generations.

One place which is already using 5G technology is the Orkney Islands where is it monitoring the salmon fisheries and wind farms. Another is in Shropshire where farming is been aided using the technology for targeted crop spraying and soil analysis using both conventional farming equipment and drones for the monitoring.

The biggest problem however with 5G is having a signal in order to use the technology as well as this competition which aims to bolster growth and development, the government is seeking to reform planning laws in order to allow the expansion of infrastructure quicker and better. Changes could include lifting of restrictions to allow quicker upgrades and also construction of bigger masts by raising the height limit so less masts have to be built.

Small Grant Scheme gets a larger pot of money

A government funded small grant scheme where famers can buy the equipment required for growth and improvement on their farms is still open, but the deadline is fast approaching. There is still plenty of money available for the Countryside Productivity Small Grant Scheme, which can be used for purchases that either improve technical efficiency, resource management, nutrient management and animal health and welfare.

These grants can be used to cover 40 percent of the cost of purchase (50% if you are in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly) for equipment that matches the criteria and for a value of between £3,000 – £12,000. Famers who have already applied in the first round of applications can do so again providing the total of both applications still comes below the value of £12,000. The deadline for all applications is Midday on Tuesday 3rd September. Once an application has been made and the deadline passed the Rural Payments Agency will contact famers to inform them on if it has been successful or not.

It is advised that famers check with the suppliers regarding delivery for the Items as any approved applications must be claimed within 150 days of been accepted to order, receive and pay for the equipment before the claim becomes invalid. Any equipment on the agreement would have to also be ordered after the agreement was made as well as evidence Invoices and Bank statements provided in order for farmers to successfully be repaid the money for their investment.

£150K Boost to agri-food production projects

£150,000 has been awarded to three universities for projects related to Internet of Things technologies aiming to boost agri-food production. These technologies are been exclusively developed foe the agri-food industry.

The Universities are the University of Aberdeen, the University of Sterling and the University of Nottingham. It is expected that these projects will last a period of six months. These pilot projects will be presenting their findings at the Internet of Food things Network Plus Conference in Lincoln which is been held from the 17th to the 19th of September.

The three projects are:

Aberdeen – Improved food safety in B2B and B2C food delivery through IoT

Stirling – Use of sensors to improve Pig productivity

Nottingham – IoT Enhanced Factory Cleaning

With the recent announcement of better access to networks from Ofcom as well projects like this will likely become more common in research as well as actual deployment in the Industry. We wish them the best of luck with their efforts.

Bayer & Bosch making smart sprayer.

Smart sprayer.

German agrochemical giant Bayer has teamed up with Bosch to develop a smart sprayer system which could reduce chemical usage by 20%. It will automatically detect the type of weeds and switch the herbicide in use as well as only target the areas where weeds are present. Very interesting. Find out ways TractAir can help you plant  and harvest crops more efficentlly here with AirBrakes and CTIS.

DEFRA minister George Eustice to put soil ‘at heart’ of post-Brexit support scheme

Protecting and enhancing soil health is expected to be ‘at heart’ of a flagship environment scheme by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). This new type of scheme could be at the centre of the governments agricultural policy’s for post-Brexit Britain. These comments where made at the Tenant Farmers Association conference at Stoneleigh.

Scotland considering living wage for all agricultural workers

NFU Scotland has raised concerns over the plan which would raise the minimum wage for all agricultural workers regardless of age and duty. This would mean far higher expenditure for farmers who employ workers. NFUS has warned that as a result farmers may have to turn to contractors in the future in order to keep down costs during a time of falling incomes, as well as greatly increasing the cost of Scottish food in comparison to the rest of the United Kingdom.