Martin Lloyd, 21, is an assistant auctioneer at Rugby Farmers Mart. In his spare time, he helps run a pedigree Dexter herd for boxed beef production on the family farm, with 200 ewes and 24 hectares (60 acres) of arable crops.
Market: With Mondays at the mart busier now than ever before, we are constantly pushing to keep moving forward, with numbers growing in almost every section.
When I begin selling calves at 10.30am, we have normally already weighed almost 2,000 hoggs, and at this time of year, 400 spring lambs. While this is an achievement in itself, having only moved here in 2008, it brings about its own problems at this time of year, with every hogg needing its teeth checked to ensure there are no mature sheep. This is a job no-one enjoys, but is unfortunately one of those necessary evils.
While the lamb trade remains steady, the ewe trade recently has taken an absolute leap, with numbers seemingly unending at Rugby and the trade seeming to keep up. The fortnightly sales of store cattle have noted an increase in stock, however, in our area, an increasing spread of bovine TB is slowly but surely halting farms from which we have always been able to draw cattle.
This is an argument for another day, but I frequently hear the words, ‘I have stores for you, but they have shut me down’, a continuing source of frustration for many cattlemen.
Lambing: Outside the market, where I am for three or four days each week, I spend my time lambing sheep for various local farmers.
Seeing the number of lambs from last year still around and knowing the percentages we have been achieving born on-farm, it worries me slightly over the uncertain future for UK farming, given the fact we are still producing a product when there is an overstock from last year.
Aside from that, lambing has gone without too many hiccups, with the only source of amazement still being the birth weight of some of the pedigree Lleyn lambs. Some could have been up to 10kg when they were weighed the next morning, which is made even more impressive when you know ewes have only had grass.
I am, however, glad we have finished. It is a nice sight to see a ewe and her lambs out at grass and it makes all the hard work worthwhile.
Brexit: Brexit continues to be a major concern, both for ourselves and for farmers we provide a service for. Our farmers remain somewhat optimistic and have a strong belief we are able to produce the product consumers demand better than anyone else.
I am inclined to agree, should for any reason this change, and the continent source from New Zealand for example, other markets will in time open up. YFC: Outside work, I am keenly involved in Young Farmers, being a member of Brandon and Wolston YFC.
Although I have not attended a meeting since Christmas, much to the chairman’s dismay, I am keen to get back into it. I have mostly missed the social aspect – long nights lambing and living alone means YFC meetings give me an important bit of downtime and of course the chance for a well-deserved pint.