The autumn colours in Mid Wales have been magnificent but the days of heavy rain have caused serious damage to fields surrounding rivers, particularly in the Severn Valley. Some farmers have been unable to harvest their maize silage as the fields are waterlogged. This forage is essential to feed cattle through the winter so hopefully we will have some drier weather to enable harvest.

It was shocking to hear that dairy farmers in North Wales and Cheshire, who sold milk to Tomlinsons Dairy in Wrexham, were told on a Saturday evening, a few weeks ago, that the large modern dairy processors were not able to take milk the following day. Not only did these farmers have to find somewhere to send the following day’s milk, but some of them will not be paid for up to six weeks of milk production.

Milk contains most of the minerals and proteins necessary for a healthy diet, including iodine, essential to pregnant women for foetal development. This brilliant ‘food’ is used by supermarkets as a ‘loss leader’ being sold at ridiculously low prices, often cheaper than bottled water, to encourage shoppers into a particular shop. It is time we all paid a fair price for our milk. Many families in Africa value their goats and cows highly for the nutrition the milk adds to their diet.

At the NFU Cymru conference last week we heard from Prof Robert Pickard, an eminent nutrition and cancer scientist, who said that animal products, such as milk and red meat, are perfect foods for humans, full of essential vitamins and protein. His experiments have shown that red meat does not cause cancers and that eaten, as part of a balanced diet, are very beneficial.

At the conference we also heard from Prof Michael Lee, a ruminant nutritionist, who advocated that cows and sheep are not causing global warming. The methane they produce is natural and breaks down over years. There have been ruminants such as buffalo and mammoths roaming the world for thousands of years. He explained that it is the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas which transforms previously locked up carbon into carbon dioxide, which is the main source of global warming. Utilizing grass to produce meat is an efficient way of producing quality food.