23/11/21 - Lobster deaths, tackling flea beetle, the Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture and algae for animal feed
- Publication Date |
- Nov 23, 2021
- Episode Duration |
An investigation is underway into the death of a large number of crabs and lobsters off the North East coast of England. The phenomenon was first reported on some Teesside beaches last month and has now started happening in Whitby too. Scientists are analysing samples of water, mussels and crab. They’ve also used a trawler to take samples from the sea bed to investigate whether any other animal groups have been impacted. So far, they haven’t detected any diseases, and have ruled out sewage, seismic activity and underwater cables.
Oil seed rape is a valuable crop for arable farmers, but attacks by flea beetle can seriously damage it, putting some off growing it altogether. We visit a farm in Wiltshire where they're trying out a new way to tackle flea beetles. Seven years ago they started spraying their rape with digestate - the left-over residue from their anaerobic digester - and discovered it significantly reduced the amount of flea beetle damage.
A new on-line Institute is being launched for farming and horticulture. The aim it to enhance continuing professional development for farmers, growers and their staff, and help recruit new people into the industry. The Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture (TIAH) has initial funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with the aim of it becoming a self-sustaining, membership organisation in the future.
And we visit a UK biofuels company where they're working on a trial to see if algae can grown using waste water and then used for animal feed! The long term aim is for dairy processors and breweries to have on-site reactors, which can then use their own waste water to grow livestock feed.
Presented by Anna Hill
Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons