We held a very enjoyable farm walk at Menchine Farm on Thursday 13th July. Silage making was in full swing in the area but even so we had a good turnout with 25 members attending a tour of the poultry units and the anaerobic digestor followed by a barbecue. Thank you to Stuart & Miranda Cole for hosting us and providing an interesting and informative tour of the renewable energy plant and poultry farm.
It was great to see so many members and their families at Mid Devon Show on Saturday 22nd July. As in previous years the Crediton & Tiverton NFU Mutual offices joined forces to host the NFU & NFU Mutual stand at the show. Given the weather we were expecting lower numbers however the stand was buzzing!
Pynes Water Treatment Visit - On the 24th January 12 members visited the Pynes Water Treatment Works at Upton Pyne. South West Water's water quality experts led us on a guided tour of the fully operational site which included the history of the water supply serving Exeter, Crediton and the Exe estuary area. Clean, safe drinking water is a resource which is often taken for granted and it was an education to see how the treatment process works.
Long Term Relationship - Jeremy Atkins met with William Pickard on the 25th January. William and his family have had insurance in place with us for many years and it is one of the oldest continuous client relationships that we have in Crediton. William and his family farmed at Nymet Barton, Bow, and a number of historic insurance policy documents survive; the oldest being an Agricultural Vehicle policy issued on the 14th February 1947 (pictured with William). This policy was in Williams fathers name, Percival William Pickard, for a Fordson tractor, JTA 561, with an estimated value of £177 insured. The policy cost £1. Premiums and policies change but the relationship has stayed strong.
Around 120 people attend our quiz night organised jointly with Newton St Cyres Young Farmers Club on Friday 9th February at Sandford Parish Hall. Profits from the event were shared between local charity, Balloons and Farm Community Network (FCN). Balloons work with pre- and post-bereaved children, young people and their families in Exeter, Mid & East Devon. FCN, is a voluntary organisation and charity that supports farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times. To find out more visit http://www.fcn.org.uk/
Open Farm Sunday - Open Farm Sunday was held on 10th June. Thornes Farm Shop at Stockleigh Pomery and Quickes Traditional Ltd in Newton St Cyres both opened their farm gates to visitors. Michael Ayre, Crediton & Witheridge Branch Chairman along with Richard Pym, Agent at Crediton NFU Mutual, were at Anthony Thornes where Open Farm Sunday coincided with the first weekend of the Pick Your Own Strawberry season. Alan Down, Crediton & Witheridge Vice Chairman, along with his wife Maggie, helped Jeremy Atkins, Group Secretary at Quickes. The Newton St Cyres YFC ‘dunking stool’ fund raiser was a real draw at Quickes for visitors and stallholders alike! Well done to the YFC members who bravely went for a dip! Loads of kids activity packs were handed out to families visiting the farms and we were very lucky with the weather! Congratulations to both Thornes and Quickes for running such successful showcases for British farmers and growers. For more information on Open Farm Sunday events please visit www.farmsunday.org
Farm Walk & BBQ - We held our NFU Farm Walk & Barbecue on Thursday 23rd August at Creedy Carver, Merrifield, Crediton. James Coleman provided an excellent tour of the premises including the nature reserve, poultry houses and free range duck houses & ponds, processing house and offices. The firm employs over 100 people and is renowned for the quality of its duck and chicken. The tour was well attended with over 40 members. The tour finished with drinks and a barbecue. Michael Ayre, our Branch Chairman, finished the evening with a vote of thanks to James.
North Wyke Research Visit – An NFU office visit to North Wyke Research was held on the morning of Tuesday 4th September from 10am to 1pm finishing with lunch at the research centre, operated by Rothamsted Research. Some facts about the centre; North Wyke attracts scientific researchers from different communities and disciplines who are seeking to develop sustainable ruminant production systems, with an emphasis on beef cattle and sheep production. The centre uses three different ‘farmlets’ to research different approaches to livestock production from grassland. 19 members attended.
The facility focusses on key issues in sustainable agriculture including:
• Replacement of nitrogen fertiliser with N-fixation by legumes– to reduce energy consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases
• Using plants to manage soils and hydrology in green-engineering solutions to flooding
• Efficient phosphorus cycling in grassland systems
• Resilience of soil biota and their functions as land use changes
• Impact of grassland management on carbon cycling, storage and sequestration
• Improving the efficient use of water resources
• Improving all aspects of animal health and performance
• Systems modelling to design optimal grassland production systems.
A very interesting and well attended visit and great to know we have cutting edge science on our doorstep!