Will Case farms 300ha (750 acres) in partnership with brother Simon and parents William and Margaret at Ulverston, Cumbria. Land is divided between Plumpton Cottage Farm and Robbs Water Farm, Barrow-in-Furness. They farm 1,000 lowland ewes, 90 pedigree Texel ewes, 65 Salers suckler cows, fatten 150 store cattle, 12,000 free-range laying hens and 100 dairy cows milked by robots.
Last month I said we were in Costa del Cumbria; in July our part of the world more resembles the Australian outback. The only clouds we see are the ones made of dust that follow us everywhere.
I have never known things as dry as they are here and it is not what we are used to. On our dry land we are mainly burnt out, but our wetter, low-lying land has come into its own.
I usually bemoan how tricky the wetter land is to manage and how in recent summers we have struggled with it. Now things have been turned on their head and it has come to our rescue. I will be more appreciative of our ’moisture rich’ land in future.
We have taken our second cut at Robbs Water and although it had got a bit stronger than we would have liked, conditions were perfect and it should eat really well. We hope to take our second cut of silage from our low-lying land at Plumpton next week. The crop is looking pretty decent all things considered.
Hopefully we will get some lambs weaned onto the aftermath if we get some rain soon. Our dry land is not looking as good, so we will have to be patient with it.
Lack of grass is hampering the finishing of our lambs and after vendoring a pen of lambs at market for being short of weight, I decided to turn to plan B and get out the creep feeders to get that extra finish that the buyers are demanding. Our costs are rising and the lamb price is falling; I am not sure what else 2018 can throw at us?
As I write, Brexiteer politicians are queuing up to resign after throwing their toys out of the pram over the latest Brexit proposal. I am not sure where this will end. Most right minded people agree that for the UK to move on some compromises will be needed.
We are leaving but we are going nowhere. Some level headed pragmatism is needed. A hard Brexit would be a disaster and I shudder at the idea of a second vote with the further divisions that would create. Europe will still be our closest and most affluent export market, no matter how much our politicians squabble; that fact will not change and something needs to be worked out.
Gareth Southgate seems to have brought the English nation together this summer; maybe he should take charge of Brexit?