Straw is at a premium, if you can get hold of it. The exceptional hot dry conditions affects the amount of straw produced, as well as the quality and yield of this year’s cereal crops. The price may well be rising but as yields well fall below normal, the benefit is negligible.
Many livestock farms rely upon bought in straw for bedding, particularly those housing livestock year round. As the grass has now completely stopped growing, we are feeding the cattle a combination of barley straw and hay.
British scientists have found a way to ‘edit’ the genes of a microbe to speed up the conversion of plant material into bioplastics that break down naturally.
They say that using 5 per cent of the annual straw yield or 3 per cent of the sugar beet crops, would allow half of the 17billion plastic water bottles used in this country to be made with biodegradable material.
The research project at the universities of Warwick and York, has created the first bioplastic made from wheat straw, which could be ready for mass production within five years.
In areas of the country where there are few livestock farms, arable farmers tend to chop the straw as it emerges from the back of their combines and it is incorporated into the soil, which benefits the soil structure.
Perhaps this new innovation will in time offer some of these farmers an opportunity for diversification, if factories producing biodegradable plastic from straw are located in their neck of the woods.
Mrs May’s conservative party appears to be in disarray. As the PM considers it was acceptable to consult Chancellor Merkel prior to discussions with her Cabinet at Chequers, and then with the Labour party before putting her undemocratic, non-Brexit proposal to her own back bench MPs, they are justifiably incensed.
She appears to be brewing up trouble. MPs are becoming increasingly dissatisfied by her weak approach to Brexit, her lack of engagement with back benchers or grass roots Brexiteers.
Mrs May has the same glint of self-satisfaction in her eye as just before calling the disastrous General Election last year. Her ‘nanny knows best’ look, she should realise by now is unconvincing.
Fortunately there are still some MPs with principles such as Maria Caulfield MP for Lewes. She quite rightly said after resigning as a Vice-Chairman of the party, “How can any politician look the electorate in the eye”, by supporting a White Paper which ignores their instructions delivered at the Referendum.
The PM has managed at a stroke to unite unlikely bed fellows including chief Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg, Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, both ardent Remainers, in opposing her compromising Chequers white flag, White paper.
Mrs May’s proposals will keep the UK bound by EU single regulations in goods and agricultural products. It will result in a continued role for the European Court of Justice, and accepts some sort of customs union, payments continuing to the EU and free movement of labour. All to be set by Brussels in what Mrs May refers to as ‘a common rule book’.
It is little wonder that those MPs who are in touch with their ‘grass root’ constituents, will not roll over and accept this approach which flies in the face of taking back control. A significant majority voted to Leave the EU knowing exactly what that meant. It was spelt out repeatedly by David Cameron who invested £9million of tax payer’s hard earned cash in doing so.