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.
Success: Upon leaving college I was still unsure of what to do until my grandfather said there could be the option to take on the tenancy of his farm.
This was soon to be the start of my own farming adventure and, backed by my mum and dad’s experience and expertise, I went out and bought my first 50 Mules.
From then I chose to use Texel tups on the Mules to breed my own replacement ewes and build up numbers.
All ewe lambs are kept for breeding and most of the wether lambs are sold through Bakewell and Leek markets as fat.
Rearing: My herd has predominantly been reared by hand with some second- and third-calving sucklers bought-in to build up numbers.
I like to think hand-rearing gives them a bit more of a placid side, making them much easier to handle.
Heifers calved down for the first time last year to a Blue bull and, as I write, will be due to calve again in a few weeks’ time.
The ewes will also be lambing inside before being turned back out to grass one to two days later, providing the weather is good enough.
Challenges: Young farmers face a lot of challenges in this ever-changing industry, just getting a farm on your own at this age is hard enough with high land prices, expensive rents and stock being as expensive as it is.
I can only see it getting harder before it gets easier for us with Brexit ahead but, as an industry, we should really be supporting the upcoming young farmers as they are the future and I firmly believe more funding should be given to young starters.
Future: Looking forward, my plan is to hopefully get up to optimum numbers in a few years as being on a rented farm, every year counts.
I want to maximise the performance of the farm’s land and have a reseeding plan for every year which will increase the productivity of the stock and the ground.
The one thing I hope most of all is to still be farming for many years to come.