FARM & COUNTRY: Nitrate Zones Put a Squeeze on Growth; Expansion Not Viable under Proposed Laws
Byline: By ANDREW FORGRAVE Rural Affairs Editor
A PROMINENT milk producer will need to double the size of his farm if it is to remain viable for himself and his son.
Terrig Morgan's Carregy Llech farm, Treuddyn, Mold, has found itself caught up in the proposed extension to Wales' Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ).
Preparatory work by Environment Agency Wales has shown he will need to cut livestock numbers or buy an extra 30 acres of land if the 170-acre farmis to meet new nitrate targets.
Carregy Llech currently hosts 130 Friesian/Holstein cows but since Terrig's son Edward returned to work on the farm, the family have been exploring the need to increase numbers to provide an extra income.
"If we are to increase herd numbers to 200, whichmy son thinkswe need, we'll have to acquire an extra 167 acres just to complywith NVZ regulations," said Terrig, chairman of the Welsh Dairy Strategy Group.
"You simply can't get the amount of land around here."
Despite intense industry lobbying, Westminister and Cardiff are pressing ahead with enlarged NVZs in England and Wales.
England's farmers will bear the brunt of the changes, with almost 70% of the countryside designated as NVZs.
Wales fares much better, with just a proposed 0.6% increase in NVZs on top of the country's existing 3% coverage.
But the penalties for affected farmers, who are mostly in Flintshire, will be severe: muck spreading will be restricted, requiring huge investments in new slurry storage facilities.
Terrig added: "Apart from the enormous costs on new storage equipment, what really worries me is the impact on animal stocking rates.
"It's not just anti-competitive, it effectively puts a stop on our entire business. …