Last month I took to Twitter for the first time. I was struck by how the arguments from last June’s referendum are still endlessly rehearsed by those involved with farming, still bitterly divided.
A lot of you will be in the depths of lambing as I write. I hope the season is progressing successfully, with a healthy lamb crop for you all. Gladly, I still have a couple of weeks until kick-off here, so it is time to assemble individual pens and do the only shopping trip of the year I enjoy – to buy routine lambing supplies.
Charlie Gardiner, 15, helps his uncle and grandparents at their sheep and arable farms in his school holidays. He hopes to go to agricultural university before buying a farm of his own.
The slaughter of yet another herd of cattle because of the effects of bovine TB serves to reinforce the misery the disease causes to scores of farmers across the country.
As I write this month’s diary, we have just had nearly 72 hours of constant wind and rain. This dose of horizontal liquid misery has coincided with an explosion of lambs. Ewes are lambing both indoors and outdoors, and it has certainly been challenging. All character building stuff, I hope.
The sun is out, so are the low yielding cows and the fertiliser spreader is going at full tilt. It is a lovely time of year and I always feel there is a great burst of energy as we try to get things growing and head back towards the summer routine.
The UK farming industry is facing unprecedented changes. Increasing demands from the restaurant and retail industries, coupled with an unsettled political and economic landscape, means the future of the farming industry is at a pivotal point.
The ground is drying up nicely after a wet week or so which brought March in like a lion. Let’s hope it leaves as a lamb. The wet weather stopped us fencing a water course and replanting a hedgerow as the land was completely waterlogged and unpassable, but the fencing has got to be completed by March 31 for the Glastir small grant scheme.
Robert Gratton, 24, farms 30 sucklers plus followers totalling 80 head of cattle and a flock of 110 breeding ewes. He studied at Reaseheath College for three years before coming home and taking on the tenancy of Woolow farm, a 68ha (170-acre) hill farm.