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Stackyard News May 07

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Climate Change - No Storm in a Teacup!

The weather is always a major topic of conversation and at North Sheep 2007 being held on Wednesday 6th June at North Hanging Wells Farm, near Wolsingham County Durham, it will most definitely be the major topic of conversation.

Hugh Fell

Hugh Fell
Hugh Fell Managing Partner of George F White will be presenting a seminar on climate change, informing farmers that as a result of the warmer, wetter Winters and hotter drier Summers they will have to change farming practices.  He will be answering questions such as Will we be baling in bikinis?  Will we be shearing in Spring? Will we see Lucerne being grown across the North East and the Borders.  To show how this will impact, Hugh and his team will present North Hanging Wells as a case study example.

Climate Change is an extremely important issue for farmers and it is an issue that is not going to go away.  The aim of this presentation is to show farmers some of the likely effects of climate change and what they can realistically do now to be best prepared.

"As a profession it is important that farmers are able to predict what the weather is going to be like." Explained Hugh Fell.  "Climate change is not something that will effect just future generations, it is happening now and we can start to respond and lay down foundations for the future.  We try to keep abreast of developments as they happen to ensure that farmers are ahead of the weather."

Predictions and estimates based on sound scientific principles on how Climate change will affect North East and Borders Farmers, shows that there will be an increasingly different climate between the east and west.  Whilst overall rainfall is on the decrease, Winters will be much wetter and warmer, with Summers being much drier and hotter – even more so in the East.

What does this mean for farmers?  "Well, in twenty years time, there will be the potential for improved productivity and the introduction of some new crops previously unable to be grown in the North East.  There will be a distinct northward shift in agricultural practices.  For example, Lucerne, used for feeding stocks is often seen in and around Norfolk but is almost unheard of in the North East.  Shearing will be much earlier and there is the increased potential for spring lambings to be outside."

These changes will also lead to increases in pests and diseases, flooding and winter poaching of the land.  Storm frequency is predicted to increase, and soil moisture to become increasingly seasonally variable.

Hugh Fell says "This is not a blanket coverage change.  Each farm and in some instances each field, will be different due to a complex matrix of factors.  What proves to be detrimental to one may be an opportunity for another.  Farms will have to be highly adaptive to meet the anticipated challenges brought on by the weather." 

The changes outlined above are general trends, suggested by the trends in climate.  The predicted scale of Climate change for the North East will not bring about an overnight collapse of agriculture in the region but will however have the potential to significantly affect the region’s farm businesses.

George F. White is one of the leading independent firms of chartered surveyors and property professionals in the North East of England.  They have offices in Alnwick and Tyne Valley in Northumberland, Wolsingham in County Durham, Bedale in North Yorkshire and Mayfair in London.

link NSA North Sheep 2007: gearing up for business
link Climate Change - Complete Codswallop or Cleaner Wellies?
link Launch of Scotland’s Second Environmental Focus Farm

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