Our family holiday in France was very relaxed – beautiful weather, siestas, wine, scenery to die for, vineyards, sunflowers and lavender fields. Gemma is suddenly very keen to move to France after having returned to the monsoon season in the UK and a wet, cold, sorry looking Greenwell Farm with no end in sight to this rubbish weather.

Spring and early summer is always a lean time with regards cashflow on any farm and even more so in the hills where your options are much more limited. For several years we have received our ESA payment in the spring of each year which has been a welcome injection of capital when large bills keep coming. As we have turned over to various HLS agreements these payment dates have been moved to the back end of the year with quite severe consequences. RPA are effectively holding our money for six months extra and exposing so many businesses to major cashflow problems. More consideration and a basic understanding of how farming businesses operate would surely avoid this problem which would be easily solved by returning to spring payments.

Our bulls are all now on and the constant worry of where to keep them when you don’t need them is over for another year. My new Belted Galloway bull turned up his toes last week with red water disease, and after some frantic ringing around a younger replacement has been found. Let’s hope this one will live longer at Greenwell than the last.

Mathew Cole, his brother Neil and parents Arnold and Bridget, farm 728ha acres on and around Dartmoor. They keep South Devon and Galloway suckler cows as well as Scotch and Swale ewes on the hills with mule lambs bred to sell. They also have pedigree flocks of Bluefaced Leicester and Whiteface Dartmoor ewes.

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