Land Drainage Contractors merge with the NAAC

The Land Drainage Contractors Association (LDCA) has merged with the National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) to form a stronger political voice for land drainage contractors. Forming a new section of the NAAC, the contractors will reap the benefits of being part of a larger organisation, whilst retaining and consolidating their lobbying power.

 

Originally part of the NAAC, the LDCA broke away in 1984 but, as the industry has changed, positive agreement has been reached to re-unite the sector and go full circle back into the NAAC fold.

 

Commenting, Nigel Wyatt, new Chairman of the new NAAC Land Drainage section said, ‘It’s a huge positive step for land drainage contractors to amalgamate with the NAAC. Membership of the Association will bring us each additional individual benefits and industry credibility. I am looking forward to a new partnership and becoming integrated within the Association.’

 

Numerous issues are now firmly on the NAAC Land Drainage radar including endorsing the benefits of land drainage to increase crop yields and mitigate flood risk. The sector will be engaging with Defra to ensure that messages are reinforced and the professionalism of the sector is promoted.

 

‘With an estimated 90% of drainage work in the UK carried out by contractors, this is an important area for the NAAC,’ said Duncan Russell, NAAC Chief Executive. ‘We will be putting on training courses and technical seminars and updating and guidance and Codes of Best Practice on land drainage. All will be available soon on the NAAC website.’

 

Tenders that had stipulated LDCA members should also now be reviewed to specify NAAC Land Drainage contractors. All members agree to comply with the NAAC Code of Conduct and insurance requirements. In addition, the NAAC will be publishing specific guidance on land drainage.

UK Welcomes Overseas Sheep Shearers

The National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) is delighted to announce that international sheep shearers will be able to enter the UK this year, in a time-limited window, providing a vital source of professional and experienced staff to assist UK contractors in removing the wool of millions of sheep this summer.

 

A special Home Office concession will continue to allow this very specific group of non-visa nationals to travel to the UK, particularly coming from Australia and New Zealand, between 1 April and 30 June. All those entering will only be allowed to stay for a three month maximum period (i.e. the latest expiry of leave would be 30 September), after which they are required to leave.

 

Commenting, Jill Hewitt Technical Consultant at the NAAC said, ‘it is important that shearers overseas know that they are welcomed by the UK and that contractors can assist them in organising their paperwork to join the shearing teams, with minimal hassle and cost.

 

We have continued to work with the Home Office and are pleased that UK shearing contractors can continue to access this source of expertise. Shearing is a highly skilled, physical task, and we rely on the additional labour from overseas to compliment UK teams and ensure that the national flock can be shorn professionally and efficiently. Adult sheep must be sheared each year to reduce the risk of external parasites and heat stress and it is important this is done compassionately to protect the welfare of the animals.’

 

Shearers arriving in the UK in 2019 will need to satisfy an immigration officer they are here, for a temporary period, to be employed as a sheep shearer. The NAAC is supplying its members with the necessary paperwork to smooth the entry process and is requesting that the NAAC is notified of all shearers visiting the UK so that rapid assistance can provided if any issues arise at customs.

 

Specific entry requirements include:

  • The applicant is genuinely seeking entry for the purpose of undertaking employment, or providing services, as a sheep shearer, and must supply an appropriate contract of employment and
  • The applicant will be able to maintain and accommodate himself without recourse to public funds, and
  • The applicant will leave the UK at the end of their stay, and
  • The applicant arrives in the UK for this purpose between 1 April and 30 June.

 

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For further information contact:

Jill Hewitt, NAAC Technical Consultant Tel: 07889 511245 email: jill.hewitt@naac.co.uk

Issued by: Springtime Consultancy

 

Seed Processors take responsible approach to Erucic acid

Press Release

11 January 2019

 

Seed Processors take responsible approach to Erucic acid

 

The National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) mobile seed processors are taking a responsible approach to erucic acid testing in oil seed rape, continuing to encourage growers to test seed before farm saving. This comes after an NAAC pilot scheme in 2018, which highlighted a minority of seed samples intended for farm saving that had a high level of erucic acid; the results of which allowed growers to take informed decisions on whether or not to go ahead with processing and drilling, helping to minimise the risk of any additional financial penalty in the marketed crop.

The presence of high erucic acid levels in double zero varieties continues to cause problems for growers and crushers of oilseed rape. There are a number of possible reasons for this including previously having grown HEAR, weed contamination and possible links to levels in seed. Whilst it is not a safety concern for most consumers, oilseed rape contracts stipulate a maximum of 2% erucic acid and, currently, loads are rejected over 5%, with those between 2% and 5% incurring price penalties. There also remains an imminent threat that the European Commission may tighten up food standard to a maximum 2%, so it is important that farmers and seed processors get this problem under control and it is acknowledged that not testing seed batches prior to farm saving may exacerbate the problem.

In 2018 NAAC mobile seed processors encouraged growers to test oil seed rape before saving, with some achieving a 100% level of erucic acid testing. This voluntary testing scheme is to be extended into 2019, aiming to get all seed tested before farm saving to help growers tackle and stamp out the problem.

 

The NAAC has also published guidance on farm saving oil seed rape, in partnership with the NFU, which is available at www.naac.co.uk/industry-information/. The guidance highlights further the importance of testing and advises growers on growing, managing and testing seed prior to farm saving.

Commenting, Robert White, NAAC Mobile Seed Vice-Chairman said, ‘Mobile seed processors see themselves as part of the solution to this problem – helping their customers make well informed business decisions.  Our growers will not thank us if we don’t highlight any potential issues at an early stage.  It might cost us a contract or two but we must take a long term view that what is good for our customers will ultimately be better for us.’

Testing for erucic acid is now common and usually costs around £50-£60 per test and results are back within a week.  Mobile seed processors will be able to offer and organise the testing service so that growers can make an educated decision from a position of knowledge. Farm saving oil seed rape is still a very cost-effective method of getting quality seed in the ground and testing for erucic acid should be viewed as a positive way of ensuring good crop management.

 

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Attached: Copy of NAAC Guidance on Erucic Acid if Farm Saving Oil Seed Rape 2019

 

For more information please contact: Jill Hewitt, NAAC Technical Consultant on 07889 511245.

 

Issued by: Springtime Consultancy.