First, a happy New Year to all Farmers Weekly Farmer Focus readers and fellow contributer’s.


Although I write this article every month it still surprises me when people comment on past jottings; this means not only has someone read them but also remembered some of the content.

A prime example of this is when myself and Oli travelled down to Kent to look at some cows for sale, the farmer took one look at the crisp, sweet and McDonald’s wrapper-filled foot well and promptly asked “how’s the diet going?”.

This Christmas has truly taken our carpet farming activities into a whole new league with the arrival of a new stock building and a huge machinery shed promptly named “The Euro Shed”. We, or should I say Father Christmas, seem to encourage Matthews unhealthy enthusiasm for big kit – I really hope this doesn’t come back to haunt me in later life.

Our herdsman Mike has decided to go off travelling to the southern hemisphere for 12 months. This leaves me envious, if not slightly jealous, as it is just about a year since I was in New Zealand. I can feel my feet aching now as we will be putting more than 400 cows through our 24:48 this spring. Mind you, Mike will probably be putting 900 cows through a 40:80 and knowing those Kiwi’s it will be cups on for 4am.

The bulls are now in with the autumn calver’s; two Ayrshires, two Shorthorns and one fit Jersey. A lack of bull power was a problem last year, this time we, or should I say the cows, should be covered. Just to make sure, we are scanning at 10 weeks to assess the impact of AI.