We’re not sure which is more amazing, that some folks actually steal chickens or that you can buy insurance on a chicken to compensate for such theft. Those tidbits come from Farmer’s Weekly, a British publication citing a report from the country’s leading rural insurer, NFU Mutual, noting that chicken rustling is on the rise.

Mostly the thieves are after the exotic breeds such as Burmese Bantams, Polish Frizzles and Silkies, that can go for between $60 to nearly $300 per bird. The police force that covers the counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Worcestershire in England received 60 reports of stolen chickens in a three-month period last year, while Norfolk police handled the thefts of 124 birds in a two-month period in 2014.


Mergers: Seeds to Beer

What would $62 billion buy? If you’re Bayer it might get you Monsanto, arguably the world’s most identifiable brand in the seed business. The merger would result in combined sales of $26 billion.

A measly $62 billion won’t, however, get you in the door at SABMiller, the second largest brewer in the world, which Reuters reports is likely to be sold to Anheuser Busch Inbev SA for somewhere North of $100 billion. With headquarters in London, SABMiller’s brands include Fosters, Grolsch, Miller, Peroni and Pilsner Urquell. Anheuser Busch Inbev SA is the Belgian company that bought Anheuser Busch in 2008 and now employs 155,000 people in 25 countries. Brands include Budweiser, Bud Light, Corona and Stella Artois. It is the world's largest brewer with a 25 percent global market share.


Robot Ranchers

Could robots replace the cowboy? Not any time soon, but Australians are experimenting with robots on those large ranches they call cattle stations. New Scientist reports that robots are quite useful on Suplejack Downs in the Northern Territory, a cattle station so remote it takes 13 hours to reach by car from the nearest town. Researchers have launched a two-year trial to train a “farmbot” to herd livestock, keep an eye on their health, and check the quality of the pastures. Sick and injured animals will be identified using thermal and vision sensors that detect changes in body temperature and walking gait.


10 Signs You’ve Been A Mechanic Too Long

Farm Journal blogger Dan Anderson has spent a lot of time in a farm shop. We couldn’t resist pointing you toward his latest In the Shop blog, that lists Dan’s 10 signs you’ve been a mechanic too long. Here’s a sample: “You may have been a mechanic--or worked on your own machinery--too long if:

-you sort of like the smell of used gear lube.

-you have a pet name for your favorite hammer.”