Sheep shearing has been a stop-start affair this year thanks to the weather, but by the time you read this we will have finished. Although number one and number two sons are studying for exams, they are keen to show dad that they are better and faster, and I’m glad to say it won’t be long before they are. However, studying has to take precedence at this time.


It must be a tough life being a stock bull, no matter how few cows each has, there always seems to be one that needs attention at any given time. Strained muscles and sore feet seem to be the most common ailments; as soon as one recovers another has a problem. It would be great to have them all fit and well at once.

The EU commission announcement of zero tolerance on sheep EID is a major concern. It is inconceivable that the technology can deliver 100% accuracy 100% of the time. It will be impossible to achieve 100% accuracy with manual reading all of the time. Without the recognition of tolerances, individual recording of sheep can’t work, and as usual, the buck will stop with the farmer when it comes to penalties under cross-compliance. It is clear to me that if traceability is to be improved, the commission bureaucrats need to recognise reality and act accordingly.

I had a great day at the Royal Cornwall show, it must be one of the most well-attended shows in the country, and the organisers should be congratulated for putting on such an enjoyable day out.

Alastair Mackintosh