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Tony Shepherd and John Henderson: Share farming interest grows and a point about vintage tractors at shows

As Tony and family are off in (hopefully) sunny France, I am afraid you are lumbered with my musings this month, writes John.

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Craven is looking wonderfully lush and green; everyone seems to have conserved more grass than for many a year and still there is plenty ahead of all the stock, so there is much to be grateful for.

 

However, autumn seems to have come rather early, with some nasty heavy squalls and a distinct drop in temperature. No great problem this side of the hill for a week or two, but some of my corn-growing mates in the East are finding harvest, which started so well and early, is suddenly slower than they were anticipating.

 

Nevertheless, the regular caravan of straw lorries heading our way has started and prices seem similar to last year. Let’s hope we find the same with the bought-in feed or ‘proven’ as it is referred to – short from the old word provender, which I always think has a rather delightful biblical ring to it.

 

Tony is well organised with good people to keep an eye on things while he is away and that is his responsibility under the share farm contract. However, I find myself driving that way fairly often as much can be seen off the road, although that also means there is the danger of stock straying onto it if a gap forms in a wall or a gate mysteriously gets left open.

 

Since we launched the CLA share farm booklet at the Great Yorkshire Show the amount of interest generated has been very pleasing and I have a good list of speaking dates. It is also bringing to light there is quite a lot of it going on. But best of all is the good discussion about getting the young generations involved.

 

One part of that is explaining to those who don’t know just how sophisticated technically much of the equipment is which we now use and thus how well educated and trained those who use it must be. But we are still not really good at selling this point and the following always makes me chuckle as August is the season for several local shows, of which I am a huge fan.

 

Many people give generously of their time and effort to keep them going. They are a great opportunity to show our customers the lovely cattle, sheep, goats, hens and whatever else we produce, but one of the highlights of the afternoon is the parade of vintage tractors which hardly promotes the image of a high tech industry. And I will not acknowledge I only grump because I am so old I have driven most of them.

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