PROPOSALS to tighten up bio-security measures at livestock auctions could drive markets out of business.
This is the view of the National Farmers' Union (NFU) in Wales which is responding to the National Assembly's consultation on introducing the new measures in livestock farming in a bid to counter the threat of disease.
The union says the Assembly has also asked what impact a 150km distance limit on animals moving through markets would have - an idea completely rejected by NFU Cymru.
The Assembly is also proposing that all vehicles should be cleansed and disinfected before leaving market premises or an abattoir and that farms should have annual veterinary visits.
NFU Cymru president Peredur Hughes says that with the already heightened awareness of bio-security among farmers, many of the Assembly's proposals are unnecessary.
WITH the majority of thistles at the right stage for spraying, farmers should apply herbicide now to make the most of their grazing ground, claims a grassland expert.
Dow AgroSciences's agronomist Vaughan Stansfield claims that just five thistles in a 20 square metre area or 5% infestation, could result in a 0.5t/ha DM loss in grass yield.
"Translated through energy equivalents and feed conversion, that's £176/ha in lost lamb," said Mr Stansfield. "And a 10% infestation could lose a beef production system as much as £328/ha.
"It will therefore undoubtedly pay farmers to make the most of their grass crop this spring. Thistles should be treated when they are at the rosette stage - up to 200mm high or across, and with thistles at or approaching this stage, the sooner farmers spray, the more grass yield they'll protect."
COMPETITIONS, entertainment and fun will be the three main ingredients at an event being cooked up by Gwent Young Farmers' Club.
Its county rally will be held on Saturday at Usk Campus Farm, Coleg Gwent, at 11am.
Most of the competitions will be eliminators for events at the Royal Welsh Show in July.
They will include sheep shearing, tug-of-war, folk and disco dancing, stars in your eyes, forestry and girls' bricklaying.
Admission on Saturday will be £3 for adults, £2 for children and OAPs, and there will be free parking for all.