Tom Jones in a field with his dog(c) Richard Stanton

With lambing well under way, things are starting to get busy, as is the case on most sheep farms at this time of year. Lambs have arrived without too many problems so far, and we’re hoping this trend will continue into April, with the majority of our flock left to lamb.

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Social media is full of pictures of newborn lambs, still wet from birth and often having their first drink. It’s a great time of year for us to interact with the general public and show them the efforts we put into the welfare of our stock.

The last of our ram hoggets left the farm at the beginning of the month. It was later than planned, but the price had increased slightly to help offset the increased finishing costs. We’ve taken the decision to castrate all of our ram lambs this year to try to give us more options for finishing come next autumn.

I was fortunate to be able to attend the NFU conference last month and would like to thank NFU Cymru for the opportunity. It was an excellent two days and left me with a lot to think about. The pre-election political debate, chaired by John Hymphrys, was a particular highlight.

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I’d imagine Labour’s representative wasn’t the most popular person in the room by the end after his comments on TB. And it sounds as if the possibility of a Labour government is going to be nothing but detrimental to British agriculture. It’s something we already have to deal with here in Wales.

TB and the slump in milk price were the main topics of the event. It left me thinking that for the majority of the year beef and lamb sell for well under the cost of production for most producers, and with the outlook for the coming season nothing to sing about, it is about time we as a sector raised our voices like our milk producing counterparts. But would that only strengthen the stereotype of farmers doing nothing but moan?

Tom Jones

Tom Jones lives on a 200ha upland beef and sheep farm near Lake Vyrnwy, Montgomeryshire. He also has a contract shepherding business looking after ewes locally.