WHY ARE JERSEY’S SOILS BEING POISONED?

GLYN MITCHELL, whose contributions to RURAL we look forward in forthcoming issues, asks: If herbicides are so good, why do we still have weeds?

Kill it and claim it Recycle and regenerate

PEOPLE tend to assume that organic farming and sustainability go hand in hand. But this is not necessarily the case – and hasn’t been for most of history. While going organic has some big advantages, even today most organic farmers still rely on the plough – the chief culprit in the story. Why? Because it provides cheap, reliable weed suppression. Yet as we are discovering, it’s not the only option, nor are herbicides always a better alternative.

As far back as 1938, Lady Eve Balfour visiting Jersey, wrote that ‘Rotation of crops……is the most effective means yet devised for keeping land free of weeds.’

Good farmers know crop rotations boost harvests. There are numerous cases on record to show the advantageous effects of rotating crops on yields and quality … the ravages of insect pests and of plant diseases are reduced to a minimum in a crop – rotation system. To back up the claim still further data has been presented from ‘Regenerating’ research farms in the UK, Canada and Switzerland, demonstrated a rotation of potatoes with nitrogen fixing companion crop, followed by an eight-way cover crop increased yields by two-thirds to more than double those of monocultures - drives greater profits. Good farmers have known about using cover crops to enhance soil fertility and bolster crop yields for centuries. But these practices lost their lustre after the Second World War, as plentiful supplies of cheap chemical fertilisers offered comparable boosts in yield and allowed farmers to specialise in particular commodity crops and eliminate all the messy bother of animal husbandry.

In short order, agriculture came to rely on chemical fertilisers to support high yielding monocultures – such as the Jersey Royal Potato.

Using cover cropping and crop rotations to maintain or build fertility while suppressing weeds didn’t sound like progress when fertilisers and herbicides provided cheap, easy and effective - at least in the short run.

That, however, wasn’t the only factor at play. Chemical manufacturers have influential allies in governments interested in supporting fertiliser factories that could convert back to munitions production on short notice. Ammonia and ammonium nitrate can be used as either fertiliser or to produce high explosives. While not everyone jumped on the agro-chemical bandwagon, increasingly specialised academic, industry and agency researchers, trained in soil science silos, were and are quick to dismiss mixed farms, as throwbacks to pre-scientific days. By the 1970’s DEFRA and our own directors in Jersey had gone all out to subsidise agrochemical farming, based on the Gold Standard of research centre’s like Rothamsted Founded by Sir John Lawes in 1893, who made this definition: ‘Practical agriculture consists in the artificial accumulation of certain constituents to be employed either as food for man or other animals, upon a space of ground incapable of supporting them in its natural state.’

He thus advocated simplistic synthetic/artificial chemicals to replace nature, at that time with little understanding of ecological complexity and omitting the key concept of sustainability.

No-till farming became more attractive after the advent of herbicides that offered a simple, practice alternative for weed control. Interest ramped up even more with the introduction of glyphosate – Roundup. Conventional farmers loved glyphosate, even if using it didn’t improve per-acre harvests. They hated weeds and it killed them really well, offering easy, efficient weed control without ploughing-at least at first. Chemical practices don’t stop with farmers, some parishes are equally addicted.

The first herbicide-resistant weed surfaced in 1970, an atrazine-resistant groundsel. Six years later, Monsanto registered glyphosate for broad-spectrum weed control. The first glyphosate-resistant weeds, Wimmera ryegrass (Lolium rigidum), were reported in Australia in 1996 – the year that glyphosate-tolerant crops were first introduced. By 2014, almost two dozen weed species with glyphosate-resistance were reported in the United States. Worldwide, a total of 432 different types of weed were resistant to various herbicides. Naturally, this renewed interest in whether all those herbicides were really necessary, brings us back to the question, If herbicides are so good, why do we still have weeds?

GET YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS...

Managing director of Signtech, SEAN GUEGAN, is joining RURAL as a columnist in the next issue. RURAL is not a business magazine – there are enough of them already in the Island – but we will be concentrating on the sector often overlooked: small, family businesses, grounded in Jersey and in community life. In his first blog he faces down Facebook.

img-facebook-low.jpg

I am a non-Facebook user … one of a small percentage of human beings it appears, part of a rare species you might say.

Despite working in the world of visual communication (with an increasingly growing digital sector) that involves daily use of all levels of tech-related equipment, I remain essentially a non-tech person.

This has raised some interesting conversations over the years … one of the latest being my ‘lack of awareness’ of many local events taking place here in Jersey. This, it appears, is mainly due to my lack of Facebook usage. It seems Facebook is the go-to means of communicating events, fund raisers, causes, election campaigns … you name it, Facebook has it covered.

This has got me thinking … about the changing world of communication and how we reach the general masses. In these changing times, we’re in the midst of an information overload. Studies show that the average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day and that we switch between screens up to 21 times an hour! Communication trends show a shift towards the use of videos, punchier headlines and shorter amounts of text (take Twitter’s 140 character limit for example) all of which appeal to people’s emotional responses while opening up communication channels to all levels of literacy.

However, this growing number of distractions is posing a problem for today’s marketers and communicators...with so many distractions resulting in shorter attention spans, how can we get the important messages across to the general masses (and make the messages stick) while also building an effective communication system within local communities? 

There is a standard joke amongst us at work, where we talk about ‘Secretive Jersey’ … meaning that we regularly find out about events after they have taken place, by which point we’ve missed them! On an island so small, one would think that communication of information and events would be easy, but I’m continually surprised to discover that if you often don’t go looking for it, it doesn’t necessarily come to you… especially if you’re not on Facebook! Examples range from the insightful articles written on the Jersey Good Life blog detailing how our local recycling is handled (which were a real eye opener), through to the Jersey Deposit scheme and even simple things such as the only 40mph zone in St Helier being on Victoria Avenue.

There are gaps in information, important information that is simply not reaching the masses … but how do we fill them and what are the options? How do we create effective and structured channels of communication between those who have something to say and those who want to hear it without relying on the internet alone? 

Advertising and communication has evolved rapidly over the last decade, with a vast array of options available to access your target audience. With newspapers, radio stations and TV networks competing to keep up with online advertising, I wonder if people might appreciate some more simple forms of communication. The UK government, for example, spends on average £500k a year on billboard messages, combining imagery and short messages to pack a punch and reach across all demographic groups. Vehicle advertising is also prioritised, recognising the impact that 24 hour moving billboards can have on reaching such audiences.

Maybe our own local government should utilise official billboards and states vehicles to help communicate more of its key messages. Maybe we should create more structured information points across the Island to keep members of the public up to date with events, changes in legislation and campaigns. Interactive or static information points (reminiscent of old notice boards) could announce important bulletins and information, key to each parish. 

Social media is great for getting the message out there but to really get the message across and make it stick, it needs to be seen repeatedly, even when people are not on their devices. Carefully planned, well maintained and aesthetically pleasing signage sites can deliver the message while reducing the unsightly and sometimes overwhelming temporary railing banners that have become all too common all over the Island. The key should be on quality not quantity.  

Education and awareness is half the battle and supplying information effectively by the means of several platforms and mediums (that link together) would not only reach a wider audience but keep us all updated, especially those of us who choose to stay away from ’social media’ platforms.

Everything in life has its tipping point and maybe a combination of recent Facebook data scandals plus studies linking the impact of screen time on mental health issues could gradually create a shift away from all things ‘online’ … or at least I would like to think so. 

CONCERN FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT? - YES, BUT ONLY SELECTIVELY PERHAPS

By MIKE STENTIFORD, former National Trust for Jersey president and regular contributor to RURAL magazine

ALL of us are now fully aware of the remarkably explosive environmental ‘wake up call’ following the BBC’s epic milestone television series ‘Blue Planet II’.

The disastrous consequences of plastic waste on our oceans and marine life has finally been punched home hard, accurate and in a brutally effective way.

The world-wide results of this exercise in environmental ‘shell-shock’ has left an indelible mark on the human conscience, so much so that ‘plastic’ is now surprisingly damned for its universal
over-usefulness.

More importantly, and certainly not before time, we’re now collectively facing the reality that we are truly making a pig’s ear of the stewardship of our planet.

And yet, as the world mourns the fatal implications that plastic waste is having on marine wildlife, a steady decline in other species of biodiversity in our very own back yard is failing miserably to gain even the most modest degree of concerned traction.

While it’s easy to understand why heart-strings are tightly pulled when plastic waste seriously impedes the lives of whales or turtles, the raw acknowledgement that an alarming proportion of
biodiversity is becoming extinct here in Jersey passes by with hardly an eyebrow being raised.

It’s an acceptable part of our make-up, I guess, to exhibit serious concern when, due directly to human negligence, seabirds are shown in a pitiful state of helplessness. But why do we not show
likewise compassion when once familiar species of land birds are suddenly no longer with us?

It’s probably more a case of ‘out of hearing rather than out of sight’ when species such as cuckoo, turtle dove, yellowhammer and skylark fail each year to collectively offer musical contributions to
our summer skies.

Likewise, memories of legions of nursery-bound toads or the once anticipated summer ‘light show’ of myriad glow worms are now no more than a faded reflection of times past.

As a result, one might simply ask why this matters?

It matters because it’s precisely through our own actions that, whether marine or land based, much of the world’s wildlife currently finds itself in irreversible freefall.

Who knows? If it’s possible for us all to go ‘environmentally passionate’ over plastic waste, then perhaps some purposeful intent and support in putting to rights our own often besieged landscape and wild neighbours might, just might, bring each of us a little nearer to the cause.

blueplanet.jpg

DOT COM OR DOTCOMBE?

RURAL’s editor ALASDAIR CROSBY kicks off a regular blog from the magazine’s contributors.

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I LIVE in the land of Dot Com, but how I wish I still lived in Dotcombe.  

Dot Com is a busy place at the moment. RURAL magazine has jumped into the 21st Century – 18 years late, of course, but it has taken a long time to get as far as standing, shivering, on the diving board before making that jump: One – Two – Three… ??

One – Two – Three - Four? …..

No – try again.

One – Two – Three…

JUMP!!

A-A-A-A-ARGH!!!   

SPLASH!!

It’s jolly cold, this Dot Com 21st Century.

How much easier it would have been to turn tail and walk back down the steps to the Century-side, settle myself on a sun lounger, order myself a cocktail and observe the new Century in comfort, from the side, without taking part in it, while dozing in the sunshine over a good book.

No such luck: here I am, for better or for worse, splashing about in it, trying to keep my head above water… Website, e-newsletter, Facebook, Instagram…

I am told that once I warm up I will enjoy it. It’s the warming up process that’s painful.

I regret I ever had to leave Dotcombe.

Dotcombe never really existed, of course, but I have lived in a number of places that bore, in parts, some striking resemblance to it.

As the name might imply, Dotcombe is somewhere in the West Country, in a land of rolling hills, small fields and large expanses of wild country. In the village there is a shop, where one can get anything essential for daily living; an expedition to Dotbury now and then provides the luxuries of life. There is a pub (or two), a village pond, a green, the Big House, a church, a rectory.

The fastest way of receiving news – apart from the considerable expense of a trunk call - was for a lad from the Post Office to cycle to us bearing a telegram.  

And I remember well from my own time in Dotcombe the village’s way of dealing with a youth who was, in today’s phraseology, ‘mentally challenged’ – he was often visible, sitting outside the pub or being treated to a drink – cared for, casually if warmly, by his fellow villagers, who felt responsible for his day-to-day welfare. Dotcombe took care of its own.

How different – how very different - was Dotcombe to Dot Com.

Many years later, I was living in Germany, in a small wine producing village, which we can call Dottenhausen. This was during the early 1980s, during the time of Solidarnosç when there was an influx of Polish workers, allowed to seek work in the west by their Communist government on short-term visas to allow other countries in the west to feed them, as the Polish government could not afford to do so.

It was my responsibility, bestowed upon me by a local wine grower, to liaise between them and their German employers.

Most of the workers from Poland were cheerful young men, whose free-time was spent happily drinking vodka. But there were some older men, who kept themselves to themselves and to one of these I was asked to convey a message about some trivial subject such as working hours for the following day.

I found him in the room he had been allocated. As I spoke only a few words of Polish, I am not sure how we communicated, but somehow I managed to communicate my message and understood that he would be pleased if I accepted a cup of tea.     

The room in which he lived had been made into a traditional Polish home: there were religious pictures on the wall and framed photos of the Polish Pope and Cardinal Wyszyński. There was a row of books on the shelf above his bed.  The atmosphere was quiet – and one might say, holy.

As I drank my tea, he told me (somehow) that he had been an engineer in Syria, working on a Polish government contract installing some civil works. Now, he was doing manual labour in a German vineyard.

His background was so different from the then contemporary Polish society. Somehow, I asked him how he coped with a way of life that was so totally different from his own – it was as if his country had deserted him.

And his reply? ‘Interior emigration’.

Forget about the nightmare of contemporary politics and the woeful dearth of medicine and consumer goods. His little room was the Poland into which he had been born and which he loved and in which he now preferred to live in a parallel reality.

And then, a few years later, against all expectations, his own dear Poland became manifest once again.

I have remembered the lesson. Dot Com is not my country and I feel alienated from it. Dotcombe is very far away, but I like to keep a place for it laid at the table, in case one day, against all expectation, it might return.

It is doubtless a foolish and unrealisable hope. Dot Com is the future; it is bright, it is optimistic, it gleams luridly in the artificial light of the digital dawn.

But I prefer my memories of Dotcombe and the wildly improbable hope, one day, of meeting once again Dotcombe quondam futurusque.

THE BOAT IN THE MORNING

ON 23 April an artist collective known as the Futurefarmers will sail into Jersey on board the RS10 Christiania, as they travel from Oslo to Istanbul with the Seed Journey. On board are will be five artists, two captains, a navigator and a cook.

Afterwards they will move on to Samarès Manor for baking and fresh bread from the ovens, music by the Jersey Ukelele Club, a grain exchange and the chance to get to know one another.

This is the official launch event of’ The Morning Boat’  -  a new

programme of public art projects, exploring and reflecting on agricultural and fishing practices in Jersey and the impact these have on people's lives – takes place on 23 April, from 2pm.

The location is the Albert pontoon, St Helier Marina .(berth to be confirmed).

There will be music, food and good company.

Trailer-transfers will be provided to and from Samarès Manor.

If you are unable to join the Futurefarmers, they will be taking part in the Jersey Boat Show on 29April and a presentation at Quétivel Mill on 27 April, preceded by a guided tour of St Peter’s Valley with the National Trust.

They will return to Jersey later in the year to develop a project based on the research they conduct during their first visit.

*To reserve a space: for 23 April, tel: 01534 482898 / 07797865229

Email: morningboat@arts.je

 

The Seed Journey by the Futurefarmers is an art project and community event that explores a largely unknown story that has shaped Jersey’s history, economy, culture and society.

It is a project by the internationally renowned artist collective

Futurefarmers, who are sailing the RS-10 Christiania, an 1895 wooden rescue boat from Oslo to Istanbul, while conducting research into the

role grains have played in shaping our culture and society and the notion of the commons in relation to agricultural practices.

The sailing ships functions as a library of rare grains that are collected and shared throughout the journey, an exchange of

knowledge between bakers, farmers, scientists, historians, brewers and communities, a radio station, a workshop, school and museum, a bakery and much more.

The Seed Journey will drop anchor in Jersey for seven days, engaging with local experts to conduct research, hosting workshops with local schools, presenting the Seed Journey at public events, working with a brewery to create a special edition beer, etc.

In September and October two artists will return to continue their research and develop a live event in Jersey.

See http://www.futurefarmers.com / http://www.flatbreadsociety.net

 

Milk wholesale price to rise by 4p per litre

The wholesale price of Jersey Milk is increasing by 4p per litre from Monday 15th May, the first rise since 2013.

The price rise has proved necessary because Jersey Dairy is facing increasing costs in its operation as a result of the British pound’s poor performance against the Euro.

Wholesale price increases of between 4% and 8% will apply across Jersey Dairy’s range of other dairy products such as ice cream and butter, effective from the same date.

Eamon Fenlon, Managing Director, Jersey Dairy, explained that Jersey Dairy had resisted an increase in its prices for as long as it could. He commented:

‘We have taken the impact of the movement in exchange rates for the last eight months in the hope that there would be signs of a recovery, but this has not been the case and we are facing increasing costs in packaging, ingredients, operational supplies and other services supplied to Jersey Dairy, with some price increases approaching 20%.

‘The Dairy industry is an important part of Jersey’s heritage, so whilst we are reluctant to increase our prices, it has become unavoidable if we are to address some of the increased costs we are facing in order to sustain the commercial future of Jersey Dairy and the dairy industry.’

Jersey Dairy has increased the wholesale price of milk only four times in the last 14 years, representing just ⅓rd of the increase in the Retail Price Index (RPI) over the same period.

Jersey Dairy implemented price rises of between 7% and 10% on the products it exports off the  Island with effect from 1 January  2017.

CARROTS ARE FUN.

ON Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 March, the National Vegetable Society will be selling vegetables grown by HMP La Moye between 11am and 4pm each day at Les Creux Bowls Club in St Brelade.

Dozens of different vegetable plants will be on sale – all of superb quality. Preparations also start that weekend for the popular fun carrot growing competition. Entrants will sow their seeds at Les Creux under the careful supervision of Mark Day and hopefully watch their carrots grow into winners at the summer show.

Fresh ginger has been grown in Jersey for the first time

Woodside Farms in Trinity carried out a successful trial last year resulting in 1.5 tonnes of fresh ginger being produced. This year it is looking to produce 20-25 tonnes of root ginger.

Woodside worked closely with Waitrose to produce the new crop. The farm trialled a number of crops last year including chard, red sprouts, kalettes (developed by crossing kale and the brussels sprout), beetroot and ginger with the beetroot and ginger being progressed on a larger scale.

Sales of ginger have shot up as the trend for fresh juices and smoothies continues.

 

Sweet Talking

 

The Centenary lecture programme pf the Jersey Beekeepers Association starts ion 24 March. This is the first of a series of public talks about honey bees, the threats to their welfare, and that of other pollinators, and what we can do to halt their decline. Giving the talks are leading UK scientists, researchers and campaigners.

The first lecture in the series is: ‘The Honey Bee, Predators, Parasites, Pests and Pathogens.’ The speaker was Dr Giles Budge PhD, of Newcastle University.

The dates, speakers and subjects of the future talks in this series are: Thursday 11 May, 7:30pm at  Royal Jersey Showground, Trinity.  The speaker: Dr Michael Garratt PhD,  Senior Research Fellow in Agri-Environment Studies, University of Reading with the working title: ‘A Place for Pollinators.’

Friday 10 November 7:30pm at Royal Jersey Showground, Trinity. The speaker: Paul da Zilv. The working title. ‘On Being Bee Minded’

Friday 19 January2018: same time and location:  TBA.

The series is sponsored by the Howard Davis Farm Trust.

For further details, contact Bob Hogge. E-mail rnhogge@gmail.com; mobile,   07797765113

 

The Deutsche Bank Festival of the Creative Arts

IT is time for the Eisteddfod again – this week sees the Spring Festival of the Performing Arts take place at the Royal Jersey Showground, Trinity.

Jersey is home to a large number of skilled people of all ages, and as many of them as possible areencourage to enter their particular art or craft in the Jersey Eisteddfod for the enjoyment of others in the  community.

Entrants get the opportunity of having their work appraised by adjudicators from England and can often gain valuable information from this.

The dates are:

Thursday March 16th 10am to 6pm

Friday March 17th 10am to 6pm

Saturday March 18th 10am to 6pm

Sunday March 19th 10am to 4pm

Bus Route No 4

Admission £4 Adults, £3.50 Senior Citizens, Children and Students in full time education - FREE

Contact details Tel 854529 and Email admin@jerseyeisteddfod.org.je

 

 

 

Is there honey still for Tea?

The Jersey Beekeeper’s Association is still buzzing after 100 years, says its former chairman, BOB HOGGE

NOW part of Genuine Jersey and having recently become a registered charity, the Jersey Beekeepers Association has over 100 members, who between them manage over 400 hives.

As JBKA new President, Dr Tim du Feu explained: ‘The disease, American Foulbrood, which killed off almost half the Island’s hives, has now been controlled and the Association is looking forward to the future.

‘Our “Beginning Beekeeping” classes are oversubscribed and there is a lot of interest in bees and beekeeping as well as a greater understanding of their importance, not least in giving us our world-class and unique Genuine Jersey Honey.’

On 24 March the Association are inviting the people of Jersey to the first of a series of public talks about honey bees, the threats to their welfare, and that of other pollinators, and what we can do to halt their decline. Giving the talks are leading UK scientists, researchers and campaigners. The series of talks is titled: Will There be Honey Still for Tea? (with apologies to the famous poem, Grantchester Vicarage, 444444444by Rupert Brooke).

The series has been sponsored by the Howard Davis Farm Trust.

The first lecture in the series is: ‘The Honey Bee, Predators, Parasites, Pests and Pathogens.’ The speaker is Dr Giles Budge PhD, of Newcastle University.

It takes place at 7.30pm on 24 March at the RJA&HS, Trinity.

Dr Giles Budge, a leading researcher in honey bee health, will bring his audience up to date on the state of health of the UK’s honey bees and any future threats that might be coming.

Dr Budge is Head of Science at FERA, part of Newcastle University Research Gate Campus outside York. The campus is the site of the National Bee Unit that trains the UK’s bee inspectors and is a leading centre for honey bee research in the UK.

Giles was the lead researcher into Jersey’s recent outbreak of American Foulbrood Disease that wiped just under half of the Island’s managed honey bee colonies and from which the Island’s beekeepers have still not fully recovered.

‘Understanding what is happening to our honey bees might help us understand the reasons why so many of our pollinators are in such a serious decline - and not just here in Jersey but in the UK and around the World. It is something that is now being recognised by governments around the world, who are concerned that a major proportion of what we require for our survival - such as food, natural raw materials and carbon storage - rely on the services of pollinator.

This talk launches the JBKA’s Centenary Lecture series and will be of interest to all those concerned about the environment, sustainability and food security.

After all, it has been postulated that if we lose the world’s pollinators - we lose the world.

 For further details, contact Bob Hogge. E-mail rnhogge@gmail.com; mobile,   0779776511300

Potential global first for new rural support scheme

Jersey’s new Rural Economic Strategy (RES) 2017-2021 was published on 14 February and could be a world first. The plan proposes changes to the way rural businesses receive financial support from the States. It is expected that all farms receiving financial support from the States will be part of the Leaf Global Standard within three years making Jersey the first jurisdiction in the world to achieve this across the entire farming sector.

The current Single Area Payment will evolve into the new Rural Support Scheme which promotes sustainable agriculture. The Leaf Global Standard marque is independently audited and will incentivise businesses to farm in the most economic and environmentally sustainable way.

The new RES proposes new policies to keep pace with changes in the rural economy and promote growth in the sector as well as to ensure the impact of rural business on the wider environment is considered. It aims to change the current financial support mechanism from a payment based on the area farmed model to a performance based model, as well as to incentivise the most economically and environmentally sustainable approaches to farming in Jersey.

For more information on the new RES visit www.gov.je.

 

• First water quality tests in 2017 similar to 2016

THE first water quality tests for the 2017 growing season show that levels of pesticides in untreated water are similar to those recorded last year. Oxadixyl, last used in 2003, was detected in 2016 throughout Jersey’s untreated water sources. Recent monitoring has also picked up azoxystrobin, metribuzin and glyphosate.

Testing of water continues all year round, but these are the first results since farmers started planting potatoes for the new season. It is too soon to tell if this is a one-off occurrence. However, it’s a reminder that farmers need to be vigilant as sudden rainfall can quickly wash chemicals off the ground and into water.

A body established last year to work for improved water quality – the Action for Cleaner Water Group – will continue to support a package of measures put in place to improve Island water quality, and particularly, to reduce the levels of pesticides in Island water courses during the current potato season.

Measures include an immediate ban on the sale and distribution of all plant protection products containing the active ingredient linuron. This was detected in Jersey waters, including Val de la Mare reservoir, on a number of occasions last year. New regulations are to be introduced to address land management practices that can cause water pollution. There will also be tighter controls on pesticide use in certain sensitive areas, such as Val de la Mare and Queen’s Valley and expanded areas for trials such as the use of slow-release fertiliser. 

Last year, the level of oxadixyl in streams and reservoirs remained below the revised World Health Organization (WHO) advisory health limit for oxadixyl of 30 micrograms per litre (ug/l). Environmental Protection officers from the Department of the Environment have monitored the levels of oxadixyl in private water supplies and all tests show they remain well below the current advisory WHO-based health limit.

• Avian flu risk is ‘low but uncertain’ and current measures remain in place

THE risk of an outbreak of avian influenza (also known as avian flu or bird flu) remains low but uncertain, and the States Veterinary Officer is advising no change to the current measures in place.

As in low risk areas in England, the recommendation remains to minimise contact between domestic poultry and wild birds. Where possible, domestic chickens, ducks, geese, etc., should be kept indoors or in a netted area. Housing is not compulsory, recognising it is not always possible to do this adequately. It’s still the case that poultry gatherings, such as bird shows, are not being endorsed. And all poultry importations still need an individual licence, with certain conditions set out for each licence.

These measures will remain in place at least until 30 April 2017 unless changes to control policy are justified before that date. The States vet, Theo Knight-Jones will continue to monitor the situation and advise on any necessary measures.

Members of the public are asked to report any dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead birds such as gulls or birds of prey to the States Veterinary office at Howard Davis Farm. The number is +441534  441600 or email rva@gov.je.

Jersey’s links with France strengthened by attendance at International Agricultural Show in Paris

 

Jersey and Normandy will once again work together at the Paris International Agricultural Show (Salon International de l’Agriculture) that runs between 26 February and 5 March 2017The event is one of the world’s largest and most important agricultural shows. It attracts almost 700,000 people, including senior politicians. 

The minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, senator Lyndon Farnham will attend the event, along with representatives from his department, and Genuine Jersey. Visitors to the Jersey section of the stand will be able to enjoy a Genuine Jersey cream tea or a cocktail hour aperitif made with Jersey gin (‘gin and sin’), in addition to tastings of many other local products.

Chief executive of Genuine Jersey, John Garton said: ‘The Salon International de l’Agriculture offers us a superb opportunity to develop our relationship with our neighbours, partnering with one of France’s most renowned regions for food and drink.

‘By showcasing some of our most renowned and authentic Jersey produce in this arena, we’ll be supporting efforts to build an attractive and rounded picture of what Jersey has to offer.’

Minister bans Linuron pesticide

Jersey’s minister for the environment has ordered an immediate ban on the sale and distribution of the chemical weed killer Linuron

Deputy Steve Luce has signed a Ministerial Decision that immediately revokes the sale and distribution in Jersey of all plant protection products containing the active ingredient Linuron.

Linuron is used to control weeds and grasses in a range of field crops, particularly the Jersey Royal potato crop. Linuron is highly soluble and persistent in water. It was detected in Jersey waters, including Val de la Mare reservoir, on a number of occasions last year.

The minister for the Environment, deputy Steve Luce said: ‘The ban on pesticides containing Linuron adds to the package of measures already being delivered by the farming and related sectors. It will support the new Water Management Plan by helping to secure the clean water which our health, economic activity and biodiversity relies on. I have discussed the ban with the industry and everyone recognises the need to keep Linuron out of Jersey’s water.’ 

The Department of the Environment and Jersey Water have been working with the farming industry through the Action for Cleaner Water Group for some time to improve the water quality of reservoirs, streams and other water sources in Jersey.

This season, growers have made significant changes to the way they plant Jersey Royal potatoes. This includes using less fertiliser, using a more precise application method of pesticides and fertiliser and using less harmful pesticides. They have also been expanding areas for trials for alternatives such as the use of slow release fertiliser. 

The decision includes a ‘use up’ period until 31 December 2017 so farmers can use up any products containing Linuron. A use up period is normal for pesticide withdrawals and is timed so that Linuron is not used during next year’s potato planting.

 

 

 

Bass management measures come into force

MEASURES to add further protection to Jersey’s bass stocks have come into force following approval by the Minister for the Environment, Deputy Steve Luce.

These changes are the latest in a series of measures introduced in recent years to conserve the bass fishery. They take into account new information from the EU Fisheries Council and advice from Jersey’s own Marine Resources Panel.

Some of the measures have changed slightly from those announced by the Minister in January following advice from the Marine Resources Panel. Firstly, tighter controls will be introduced on gill netting to stop fishermen catching fish indiscriminately, and secondly, a selective hook and line fishery will be allowed, which the Minister believes will directly benefit smaller-scale commercial fishermen.

The selective hook and line fishery catch will be sold locally and the Department of the Environment will be working with fishermen to establish a labelling scheme to show consumers that the fish for sale come from a local, sustainable and well-regulated source.      

A measure that hasn’t changed from those announced is that bass fishing for recreational fishermen will only be allowed on a ‘catch and release’ basis, where fish are captured, unhooked and returned to the water.

Deputy Luce said: ‘I’ve listened carefully to the Marine Resources Panel’s views and acted on their guidance in coming to my conclusions. The measures put in place much tighter controls on gill netting, which is indiscriminate and subject to higher rates of discards. I have also taken into account the significant and potentially positive impact on some of our inshore commercial fishermen in allowing a small, low impact, selective fishery. Our view is that a well-regulated hook and line fishery is far preferable to any indiscriminate gill net one.’

He added ‘I want to make it clear that I completely understand the impact measures like these have on all our fishermen. These decisions will affect livelihoods and leisure time, but it is vital that we are committed to protecting these iconic fish. We must introduce measures that ensure the survival of the bass stock for the benefit of future generations. 

‘I would like to thank the members of the Marine Resources Panel for the work they’ve done getting these measures for bass in place. It hasn’t been easy but I am confident this package will bring Jersey to the point of having one of the most sustainable bass fisheries in Europe.’ 

From today the following changes are in place:

Commercial fishing

No targeting of sea bass fishing by commercial vessels, other than a small selective hook and line fishery

In relation to ‘by-catch’ (fish caught unintentionally while fishing)

There will be a bass by-catch allowance of 3% for vessels deploying fixed gillnets and traps

There will be a bass by-catch allowance of 3% for demersal trawlers (demersal trawlers tow a trawl, or fishing net close to, but not on the bottom of, the sea bed).

Recreational fishing

Only ‘catch and release’ fishing permitted.

 

The Minister still intends to ban set hooks and nets on beaches but a date has not been set yet.

 

 

NEW ISSUE OF RURAL DUE OUT, WEEK BEGINNING 5 FEBRUARY 2017

THE new issue of RURAL magazine is due back from the printers at the beginning of the week starting 6 February.  Throughout the rest of the week it will be distributed, first, to our postal subscribers and then around the Island: shops, rural businesses, government departments, agricultural associations, social and sporting clubs, hotels, restaurants, tearooms and coffee houses and of course the reception areas of town banks and businesses.

The principal theme of this issue is Jersey’s trees: this is the 80th anniversary of the Jersey Men of the Trees association, now known as Jersey Trees for Life. We have an interview with the current president, Gerard Farnham, and also with Robert Jones, in his capacity as chairman of the Jersey branch of the Game and Wildlife Conservancy Trust. In partnership with the Department of the Environment, the trust is undertaking a regeneration project of Jersey’s woodland.

Other articles cover our usual range of contents: farming, gardening, the local arts and enjoyment of the countryside – the face of Jersey that is sometimes obscured by a concentration in the media on business and finance.

We hope you enjoy the new issue.

 

Jersey Poultry and Ornithological Society

 

 

THE Winter Show of TheJersey Poultry and Ornithological Society is taking place at the Royal Jersey Showground, Trinity on Saturday 30 January.  It will be open from 10am to 4pm and will include a variety of classes for rabbits, guinea pigs, poultry, ducks, budgies, foreign birds, pigeons etc.  It is a real treat for the children who always love to pat the animals.

A raffle will be held and a table top sale is being run in half of the hall.

Refreshments will be available during the day.

All are  very welcome and the club is always looking for new members and competitors, so if you have a rabbit or poultry please ask for details at the show.  Several shows are held during the year and the Society is always pleased to give details of membership etc.

The show takes place from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 30 January.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

On Your Marks, Get Set, Grow!

                                     

THE tenth Genuine Jersey Royal Potato Growing Competition, organised by the Genuine Jersey Products Association and sponsored by The Channel Islands Co-operative Society, launches this week as invitations to take part are sent to all primary schools.

The annual event, which sees primary school pupils, the Constables, Women’s Institute branches and the media grow the Island’s premier crop in a bucket, has a new main sponsor this year. The Channel Islands Co-operative Society has been a longstanding supporter of Genuine Jersey and its values of backing local agriculture, protecting the environment, promoting seasonal crops and the importance of provenance.

The competition is also supported by Belles Fleurs Nursery, the States of Jersey Public Health Department and The Jersey Royal Company.

The challenge is to see who can grow the heaviest crop and highest yield of the Island’s world-renowned potato. Schools also get to learn about the health-giving properties of a balanced diet based on fresh local produce when it is at its seasonal best.   

Each competitor receives a growing kit comprising two Jersey Royal seed potatoes, polystyrene chips, compost and fertiliser – and a bucket to grow them in. All the competitors will be judged at the end of May.

Now in its tenth year, this popular highlight in the primary curriculum attracts more entries year on year. In 2015, over 7,000 pupils took part from 31 primary schools between February and May, with St Christopher’s growing the heaviest crop, Grouville the most tubers and St Lawrence producing the best course work.

It is likely that the 50,000th primary school pupil will take part in the competition this year.

Last year, the Constable of St Mary, Juliette Gallichan, grew the heaviest crop and the most tubers. There was a double triumph in the media competition, too, with Connect magazine taking both titles. In the inaugural WI class, La Pouquelaye grew the heaviest potatoes while St John had the most tubers.

The Chief Executive of Genuine Jersey Products Association, John Garton, said: “The 50,000th pupil taking part, which is likely to happen this year, is a significant milestone and we will have a decade’s worth of students who have a better understanding of how food is produced and the importance of Jersey’s agricultural industry.

“With every year, the competition gets bigger and better and we want this year to be fantastic celebration of the historical and cultural importance of the Jersey Royal and Island life.”

Colin Macleod, Chief Executive Officer of The Channel Islands Co-operative Society, said: “We are proud to be associated with the Genuine Jersey Royal Potato Growing Competition and everything it stands for. The Society is a passionate supporter of local suppliers, spending over £10.5m with them each year across the islands. This support has a major impact on our Island economy and communities, creating an enriching web of economic and social relationships, and preserving what makes Jersey a distinctive, fantastic place to be.”