A trip to Durness in Scotland is about as far north as you can get and the 800-mile trip was fantastic, especially for ragwort enthusiasts. Both sides of the road supported an excellent crop, which most certainly hadn’t been hampered by this year’s rotten weather. No doubt if it was on my farm, we would fall foul of cross-compliance and our single farm payment would be deducted.
A quick stop at Lairg lamb sales revealed a packed ringside with many lots selling over 100gns. Unfortunately, these were just about the only sheep we saw, as like England, they seem to have been removed from the hills in Scotland by ill-advised government bodies.
One highlight was seeing a Cheviot ewe rearing twins, something they never did at Middlemoor. On returning home we have all the lambs now weaned wormed and put on to fresh grass, leaving us to sort out ewe lambs and tups.
But do we sort by using weights, figures, looks or just our knowledge? Well, I have watched plenty of sheep judging up and down the country and it seems it is the judge’s knowledge that dictates the decision. However, I do wonder if we will soon see a computer in a show ring checking figures and handing out the winning ticket.
You can have all the boffins, all the figures and all the budget but Mother Nature will win in the end, as it has this year. Every agricultural crop, not just in this country but around the world has been affected and there is nothing we can do.
Last Friday I thought I had won the lottery as I had a great experience. We passed our annual organic inspection with no non-compliances.
Charlie Armstrong farms 1,011ha with his wife Jane and parents Charlie and Sylvia at North Charlton, Alnwick, Northumberland. Livestock consists of 1,200 finishing cattle and 10,000 ewes.