My condolences go to fellow farmers who have lost stock in the snow, writes James Read.

As I write this – with the whole of the British Isles’ farm animals struggling for their next blade of grass – there are arable units close to our farm that have stewardship strips that would feed stock for weeks. Although I am a big believer in conservation, this country will go hungry before it realises what it’s doing to itself.

I’ll jump off my soapbox now. Lambing has gone well, apart from a high percentage of triplets. This situation would have been hard work without the use of an automatic milk feeder, which has kindly been lent to us by a good friend Mr John Palmer. John is a well-respected sheep breeder and successful sheepdog handler, and will quite rightly be awarded the Wilkinson Sword at this year’s International for his services to sheepdogs. Congratulations, John.

There is never a good time to receive a nuisance call, especially when you are tending to a problem in a lambing pen. The other day the phone rang – it was a gentleman called Dave from the other side of the world wanting me to swap my mobile phone contract. As there was a lamb bleating its head off for its colostrum in the next-door pen, I passed the phone over to the lamb so Dave could share his sales pitch with it. I noticed Dave was a full one minute and forty seconds before he realised he had another species on the other end.

jimreadfarmer@hotmail.co.uk

James Read farms in partnership with his father, in Louth, Lincolnshire. They farm 400ha of mainly arable land, run 200 breeding sheep and a pack of working/trialling sheepdogs

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