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.
The weather throughout May was very unpredictable, giving us four seasons in one month and departing with tropical storms and flash floods. As I write it is humid and uncomfortable at night.
This moist heat has been great for grass growth on our farm and the covers have really benefited from the early hit of nitrogen in April to lift it and now the warm soil temperature to carry growth on.
The harvest ground has all been turned off and had another boost of fertiliser to lift the yield further.
Late May was a rush to complete a long list of jobs to prepare for summer; all the yearling cattle were sold as stores, the Texel cross hoggs and lamb couples sold, quite well on the trade, at £80 a life.
The lambs are all orf vaccinated, wormed, mineral drenched, marked and we also treated them at this early stage with a dose of fly control which is alleged to last for 19 weeks’ protection. If that works out to be the case it would seem good value having done them younger, at a reduced dosage rate.
The reason for this intense, compacted workload was to offset some stock and, along with it, a bit of time for me to undergo, of all things, some major surgery.
It is safe to say I was a good few years younger than any of the others on the list called in last Tuesday for a complete hip replacement.
Having reached the milestone birthday last August I have had trouble believing that life begins at 40, but now I am on the road to recovery and a part of me is bionic, I cannot wait to at last be able to play football with my boys and not fall asleep in the evenings from fighting arthritic pain.
Alas, as we all know, it is an occupational hazard with livestock but thanks to our fantastic National Health Service and science we can be put back together.
Besides, farming cannot be that bad as my surgeon is, in his spare time, building up a sheep farm, his dream job to retire to apparently.