FIRST, I WOULD like to thank everyone for their concern over the extra duties I mentioned last month. Normal service has now been restored.
The mole trouble has also been resolved, and I now have a professional mole catcher who is doing an excellent job. I could do with persuading my neighbours to do the same.
Lambing is well under way as I write. We lamb outside, so weather plays an important part in its success. Unfortunately, we have had cold nights with on a couple of occasions over an inch of rain. I often consider myself lucky to be a farmer, but at times like this I have doubts.
I lamb with help from my shepherd, Bill. Everyone should have a Bill. He is particularly good at marking up ewes and lambs and would be an asset to DVLC with his ingenious combinations of letters and numbers.
Bill is steady, lets nothing past him, has an excellent memory for ewe faces, twining skills are second to none and I would be lost without him. On reflection, I think I help him.
I have taken an afternoon off from lambing to fill in my SP5 form. As this is the most important piece of office work I am likely to do for a long time, I felt it had to take precedence over everything else. Having never had set-aside before, I despair at having to set aside some temporary pasture and the costs it incurs.
I have received my digital maps; surprise, surprise, some land was missing. After waiting in a long phone queue and after a 30 second conversation, I was told I can use maps I used for the 2004 IACS application.
Thirty acres of spring barley has been planted, but, unfortunately, one of the heavy April downpours caused a beck to overflow and I will have to replant about 1ha (2.47 acres) of it.