Visit the UK’s leading indoor agricultural event, with eleven packed halls of the very latest in agricultural machinery and equipment. Now at the NEC, Birmingham this is free to attend and free to park.
With all of the wild weather, March appeared to enter like a pride of ferocious roaring lions, but as I write it appears to be changing into something that resembles a lamb. Let’s hope it stays that way for a while.
As I write, several local towns are again cut off by road due to flooding, many for the fourth time in as many weeks. As soon as we enjoy a dry day, there is a two-day deluge and the water rises again to dangerous levels, leaving homes and businesses flooded and roads impassable.
March is already upon us, with spring soon approaching as gauged by the daffodils, primroses and the date on the calendar. However, most days these last few weeks, the climate has been extremely changeable, with four seasons on several days, but the constant theme has been rain and more rain.
The rain keeps falling. The sheds have rarely been tidier, the machinery more sparkling and the tractors more serviced. The land is just too sodden for fieldwork. There is nothing to do but wait for better conditions.
Marie Prebble runs a 93ha (230-acre) Ministry of Defence-tenanted farm with her parents, David and Diane, near Dover. Largely permanent pasture in Higher Level Stewardship, the farm is home to 400 breeding Romneys which Marie puts to high index Lleyn rams.
Charles Bruce farms near Banff, Aberdeenshire, and has 98 hectares (242 acres) of owned land, 76ha (188 acres) of malting barley which is contract farmed, and rented seasonal grazings extending to 40ha (99 acres).
Phil farms 385ha (950 acres) in Cheshire, split between the family farm on Lord Cholmondeley’s estate and Organsdale Farm near Tarporley. He milks 300 cows, mainly pedigree Brown Swiss, as well as diversifying into business units and an equestrian facility. He is also a Nuffield Scholar.
James farms 180ha (450 acres) of uplands in Llanbadarn Fynydd, Powys. Married to Rachel with three sons, James runs 1,000 ewes, mostly Aberfield crosses, plus a 50-head suckler herd. An HCC scholar in 2014, he is involved with NFU Cymru’s Next Generation initiative and is passionate about rural affairs.
New entrant dairy farmer Jon Stanley farms an 82-hectare (203-acre) council farm, renting more land near Shaftesbury. Married to Clea, with two children, he runs a 180-head spring block calving herd, mostly pedigree Jerseys and cross-breds. Milk is sold to Barber’s cheese. The farm also hosts a Woodland Forest School and he won ’new entrant, against the odds’ at the 2013 British Farming Awards.
Russell is farm manager for John Sheard Farms and a partner in the family farm of D.J. Tebbit, responsible for a total of 995 hectares (2,457 acres), with land crossing into Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Cropping is split between winter wheat grown for seed, milling and feed, winter barley, winter oilseed rape, spring barley, spring beans and spring oats. Russell is an AHDB monitor farmer and a 2014 Nuffield Scholar.