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In your field: Kate Beavan - 'I am looking forward to enjoying a January with no lambing in sight'

I have very exciting news - we have labels and Tre-rhew Cider House is now open.

It has only been a week and we are over the moon with orders so far as, it seems, people are getting cider instead of coal in their stocking this year. They must have been good.

 

Among the sheep, a total of 160 Mule crosses due to lamb in early February recently scanned at 194 per cent, with enough singles to cope with the triplets if timings are kind.

 

We have put them back a fortnight and I’m looking forward to a January with no lambing; I might even get a lie in on my birthday. More grass and drier weather this year means the ewes are in excellent condition and we are very happy with the lambing percentage.

 

Following a clear pre-movement TB test, we had a good store trade at Monmouthshire Livestock Market, with British Blue heifers making over £1,000 at 20 months of age.


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There was also a great turnout for our NFU county AGM and we were fortunate to have NFU’s food chain adviser, Helen Hunt, as our guest speaker. She has been in the food chain team since 2016 and is responsible for food labelling policy and two retail accounts.

 

She delivered a presentation about retailers’ data trends during the coronavirus pandemic, monitoring consumers’ buying behaviours and the importance of food labelling followed by an interesting discussion with plenty of questions from the virtual floor.

 

Following the office holder elections I am confident that Monmouthshire is in safe hands with Dave Edwards as county chairman and Emma Robinson and vice-chairwoman. They are a great team, congratulations both and I wish you the best of luck over the next couple of years.

 

The virtual county conference will be held on January 12 at 7.30pm and I am pleased to say Professor Chris Elliott has agreed to be the guest speaker.

 

There are some advantages to being ‘virtual’ as I’m sure logistics would have made it difficult for him to pop over from Ireland to attend.

 

Not only is Chris a leading expert on international food supply chains and the implications for food quality, authenticity and safety, he is also an entertaining speaker and I do love the Irish accent.

 

Chris is leading a range of international projects in developing safer food-supply systems and led the independent review of Britain’s food system following the 2013 horsemeat scandal and he was awarded an OBE in 2017 for services to the agri-food supply chain.

 

My first NFU meeting was four years ago when I was elected vice-chairwoman, so I am looking forward to sitting back, relaxing with a cider and listening to the conference as a member of the audience.

 

Have a lovely Christmas - Nadolig Llawen [Merry Christmas in Welsh] - and keep safe.

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