Supermarket shelves are being stripped bare and veg box producers are seeing order numbers shoot through the roof. Meanwhile, some farmers and food producers who until recently supplied restaurants and pubs, are finding themselves with surplus stock. Charlotte Smith asks whether our famously complicated food supply chain can shift in time, to feed people, and avoid massive waste. And what will the long term impact be on the way we deliver food from farm to fork?
We answer your farming questions on everything from auction marts to TB testing.
Our Farming Today Audio Diarists give us updates from across the UK - from an rural tourism business in Scotland, to a goat farm in Northern Ireland.
What's happening with farmers' markets? Some are closed, some are going ahead...and the police are getting involved.
And, is this a silver lining? With fewer cars on the roads and aeroplanes in the skies, many of us are hearing the birds loud and clear for the first time in years. We find out what you should be listening for.
Presented by Charlotte Smith
Produced by Heather Simons
27/03/20 Farmers markets and coronavirus; A veg grower's life under lockdown; Disease in deer.
One of the country's biggest farmers markets has decided to shut, for the first time in its 20 year history.
Hundreds of people flock to Stroud in Gloucestershire every week to get fresh local meat, veg and other farm produce.
Traders persevered with the market last week, but tomorrow customers will have to collect their shopping instead. Other farmers markets, like Kendal in Cumbria are staying open, but they're having to find different ways of doing business to comply with Covid19 distancing rules.
As the coronavirus lockdown continues to affect all our lives, we're asking people in rural communities around the UK to give us an idea of how they're bearing up. The latest in our series of Farming Today diaries comes from farmer George Bennett in Thame in Oxfordshire.
The number of deer in the UK is growing: more farmers are keeping them for venison and wild deer populations are increasing. Despite this, very little is known about disease in the deer population. In recent years outbreaks of E. coli in people (causing gastroenteritis) have been linked to venison products. Sam Pearce from the University of Bristol has started investigating disease in the deer population to identify the potential role deer may play in the transmission of enteric disease.
26/03/20 - Walking on farmland during lockdown, deer stalking and the sound of silence...
Farmers are raising concerns about people using public footpaths through farm yards and close to farm buildings. Despite the lockdown, some have reported as many as 30 people walking on their land in just one day, and they’re worried walkers could spread coronavirus to at-risk farmworkers. The National Farmers Union is talking to Government about how to protect farmers - it says it recognises the importance of public footpaths for physical and mental wellbeing, but the health of those living and working in the countryside has to be safeguarded. We hear from a livestock farmer with concerns about what happens to his animals if the staff that look after them fall ill.
Of the 100 million pounds worth of venison sold in the UK each year, almost of all of it is from wild deer. Their numbers are managed through culling and many businesses combine deer management with tourism by organising stalking tours. Our reporter joined a stalk with Wiltshire Game, before the coronavirus outbreak.
Our series of Farming Today audio diaries continues with a trip to Wales to meet The Venerable Eileen Davies - Archdeacon of Cardigan and diary farmer.
And with roads and cities falling quite, we enjoy the sound of silence with wildlife expert, Mike Dilger.
Presented (from home) by Charlotte Smith
Produced (from home) by Heather Simons
25/03/20 - Food chain flexibility during COVID-19, farming deer
Many farmers and food producers who supply restaurants and pubs are finding themselves with surplus stock. We've been contacted by a food producer who has 5 million pounds worth of unsold cheese that had been due to go to some of the big chains like Nando’s and Pret a Manger. And with McDonald's closing it's doors, we speak to one Cumbrian farmer who sells them 50-60 million eggs every year...and is looking for a new buyer.
Meanwhile supermarket shelves are being stripped bare. So can our famously complicated food supply chain shift in time, to feed people, and avoid massive waste? We speak to an expert.
Our series of Farming Today Audio Diaries continues with a goat farmer in Northern Ireland who normally sells through a farm shop and local farmers markets, via a street food trailer and direct to restaurants.
And according to the Scottish Venison Partnership, the UK produces 3,500 tonnes of venison each year - almost all from wild deer - and venison sales total 100 million pounds annually. What next for the industry?
Presented (from home) by Anna Hill
Produced (from home) by Heather Simons
23/03/20 Milk supplies and coronavirus; farm tourism and Covid19; conserving Shire horses.
As panic buying empties the supermarket shelves, we talk to two big dairies. Arla says its producing record amounts and can barely keep up with demand. Freshways has seen nearly all its demand dry up as airlines, pubs and restauants close. It's dropped the price it's paying farmers and is delaying their payments. Sybil Ruscoe asks the managing directors if they can co-operate to meet the demand?
As the coronavirus pandemic unfolds, we start the first in a series of audio diaries from rural communities. Caroline Millar describes how it's affecting the holiday lets on her farm in Scotland.
How a conservation centre in Yorkshire is helping to keep Shire horses alive and kicking. They're on the rare breed watchlist but Sledmere House has celebrated the birth on their first shire foal and is now expecting another.