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Tony Shepherd and John Henderson: Annual financial discussion throws light on some interesting points

At a recent regular meeting we discussed the financial outcomes from our respective share of the farming business at St Helen’s farm for the past year.

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As we have said before, our share farming contract is between our two separate businesses and while John’s year end is January 31, mine is April 30.

 

Obviously from the 100 per cent figures in the shared trading account we are well aware of how we are each faring and the outcome was respectable. However, John explained he had had unusually high owner’s costs for which he is 100 per ceny responsible; over and above the normal maintenance there had been repairs to the Grade II listed barn and wiring in the buildings had been brought into a state fit for the 21st century.

 

As a result, the final outcome for him was just break even but, as he says, in other years there has been a healthy profit and that is just what happens. In an ideal world John would receive a rent equivalent figure plus a return on the capital he has invested in the livestock, but this shows unfortunately not every year is ‘ideal’. Also timing of sales and purchases has a bearing so hopefully next year will be better.

 

Silage

With the recent run of fine weather looking like it is coming to an end, the silage contractor is hopefully going to get our silage grass in the clamp before normal Yorkshire weather returns and although cutting 10 days sooner an extra 12 hectares (30 acres) of pasture, which was getting ahead of the stock, should help fill the clamp.

 

We have just sold a bunch of 20 feeding cattle farm-to-farm through CCM at Skipton, which will finance the next delivery of suckled calves from a regular vendor due shortly depending on transport.

 

With fewer fat cattle moving North into the local abattiors due to the lacklustre trade, finding shared transport for 30 calves has proved more difficult, although not really an issue as the cattle are coming directly off farm and can be moved when transport is available.

 

I have recently been talked into taking part in some of the local fell races by cattle dealer John Thompson, who has been running for many years. Apart from the obvious of running/climbing up a steep hills, across moorland and finishing somewhere near the back, the area where we live – especially on the hills on a fine day – is unrivalled, with views for miles around of unspoilt countyside, although as we ‘puff and pant’ in the course of a run we see very few livestock, which is not a good sign.

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