This month, Roger Evans tell us about his surprise at passing his latest TB test, how cutting machinery costs is not that easy, and finally questions whether all vegans actually adhere strictly to their code.
I’ve just been watching a TV programme about Brexit. I’m none the wiser now but I’m expecting the worst. When that worst should come I will have to react to it, make the best of it, come what may.
That, in a way is a positive thing, half the time, as a farmer, reacting to adverse conditions is part of what makes the challenges that come at you bearable.
A similar negative in my farming life is TB. With that too I don’t know what to expect.
But in some ways TB is worse. Brexit, whatever it should bring with it, will eventually resolve itself. I can’t see much going on that will resolve the TB issue any time soon.
There was a lot of talk about this area becoming a cull area, but I don’t think we will make it, which makes it seem like it is policy that things have got to get worse before anything is done about it.
At least with Brexit I will be able to react. With TB, you just have to take it on the chin.I wrote all that yesterday and I was trying to communicate how I felt. Today we had the reading of our latest TB test. And we passed!
This is the third clear test we have had and now we go back on to 12-month testing. I didn’t think that we would pass the last test, and I certainly didn’t think we would pass this one, so the anxiety that TB brings is still there, and still very real.
For what it’s worth, I don’t expect to pass in 12 months’ time either, as there is plenty of TB around here with plenty of woods and plenty of badgers.
Passing this test came as a complete surprise to me. I had a good horoscope in last Sunday’s paper, so perhaps that did it.
The irony is that a good horoscope is just as likely to see you pass as anything else within the locus that is TB.
Not that I am in any way superstitious, but I have noticed that I’ve started putting my right shoe on first. I wonder where that came from?
We’ve got this Longhorn bull that we run with the heifers, and he must be two years old now. Longhorns were not designed to be TB tested. They have to manoeuvre their heads in order to get their horns down a race and through a crush. Our bull has given this up as a bad job.
When we were injecting on the first day of our test, the vet went to her car to reload her syringes. The bull, who was standing loose on the yard, wandered across to her car and she injected him, top and bottom, and he just stood there.
This is an important move forward. If he could just teach all the other cattle to do likewise we would not need to be present at any future tests.
I was reading advice to mitigate the effects of a hard Brexit. One of these was to avoid machinery purchase. It may seem obvious, but it’s not always as simple as that.
Some advisors would have us all driving Fordson Majors and that isn’t the answer either. The costs of repairs, particularly to tractors and loaders, can be so great that they can catch your cashflow out.
A friend of mine had to get the brakes fixed on his tractor (not an old tractor) and it cost him £6000. That’s 24,000 litres of milk you would need to sell to achieve a margin of £6000.
The trouble is that tractors and loaders have become so sophisticated that you can no longer fix them with a hammer and an adjustable spanner. And if you spend that sort of money, the machine is not worth any more, so you tend to hang on to it to get your money back, and then another big repair bill looms and you wish you had swapped it in the first place.
A long time ago, I was discussing cholesterol levels with my doctor. He told me that if everyone had a day without eating meat, once a week, they would be okay.
He went on to say that most of his patients never had a meal without meat, let alone a day. It’s quite easy really as once a week I have beans on toast for breakfast, sleep in the chair for lunch, and have fish in the evening.
I raise this because I don’t think there are as many vegans as vegans would have you believe. I think a lot of them have a vegan day occasionally.
At the start of this year, when vegan publicity was at its height, meat eating went quiet.
Newspapers often print a recipe of the day and these were usually vegetarian. But over the last few months, especially on TV, meat eating is back. The burger outlets are advertising more and supermarket adverts invariably include a scene of a family sitting down to a roast.
All these so-called “milks” on offer have made inroads into the sales of soya milk and not into
I don’t understand why vegans won’t consume my dairy products. After all, the cows that produce them are vegans as well.