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Rachel Lewis-Davies: Hill gathering, shearing, reseeding and a retirement make for a busy month

It is July and, for us, our hill gathering weekend on Epynt.

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The ewes have shorn well and the lambs are strong and healthy – we will waste no time getting them back out to the hill later this week.

 

Our walk is some three or four miles away from the farm, Spite Inn, and to watch the flock return to the hill is quite captivating I think. Turning left at the top of the lane they head at break-neck speed down to the village where they turn right and head out across the neighbouring farm, arriving on the open hill where they continue until they arrive at their destination, come to halt and then start grazing. They know the route so well they could get back there without shepherds or dogs – the destination is engrained into the flock’s DNA it seems.

 

Bob’s had a busy few weeks with 8 hectares (20 acres) of reseeding done at Spite Inn and 12ha (30 acres) of root crops in at Yscoedreddfyn. There is still plenty of shearing to be done, and the race is on to get up-to-date with the work before the Royal Welsh Show at the end of the month which the kids rate as their annual holiday – not to be missed!

 

Retirement

It has been a funny few weeks with our neighbours on the hill announcing their retirement. As an industry, it is perhaps understandable the plight of youngsters entering farming is an issue we are all very much familiar with, however, the ‘thorny’ subject of retirement, I observe, receives far less emphasis. The decision to retire goes far beyond straight business and must be impossibly difficult when it involves your home and a lifetime of hard work. We thank our neighbours for their considerable help and support over many years and wish them well for the future.

 

We were also shocked to see our old tenanted farm advertised for sale in the paper. While I know this was not our farm, it was still our home and there is, of course, an attachment and affection to the old place which is inevitable I think. However, it does no good to look back and I have learnt if you want to farm – you will farm anywhere. My experience tells me you go to where the opportunities are and when the bank says yes – thank you Barclays!

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