Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fears on Outdoor Wintering of Cattle

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fears on Outdoor Wintering of Cattle

Article excerpt

Byline: By Anna Lognonne

Cattle farmers fear that if they winter their cattle outdoors they will fall foul of new CAP environmental requirements, the National Beef Association has warned.

The NBA says there is still a lot of confusion about what can and can't be done under the new regulations when it comes to out-wintering spring calving herds and wants the Government to address the problem.

"No-one wants to be suddenly served with a potentially expensive environmental red card but current deliberations are handicapped because neither farmers, nor Government, are sure exactly which husbandry methods are considered environmentally sustainable and which are not," said NBA policy adviser Kim-Marie Haywood.

"We have pointed out their dilemma to research specialists and while they appear prepared to initiate trials that will identify husbandry practices which minimise soil damage and other environmental impacts it will take at least five years, and probably more, for original research to nominate which is best."

According to the NBA this is too long and good advice, which will cut the risk of falling foul of the Government's long term soil management plans, must be given sooner.

"The core of the problem is that environmentalists love cattle in summer when their grazing contributes directly to habitat conservation, but tend to challenge the practice of out-wintering due to possible soil and water contamination ( even though it provides a considerable cost saving for the farmer," said Ms Haywood.

"Wintering cattle outside is better for the health of the animals and if the system is properly installed it will minimise effects on the environment. Advisers must consider the impact on both the environment and on welfare when providing counsel on wintering systems.

"Cross-compliance regulations are only a rough guide and do not cover some of the most important specifics. …

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