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What a difference a week makes, after the sun came out we managed to combine all the oilseed rape including our contracting work, with a few minor problems from the combine – but our local green and white dealer has given us some first-rate service in keeping the combine rolling.


The shearlings achieved a disappointing price at the Malton and Louth sales – about £20 a head down on last year, but I suppose farmers have little confidence, with waterlogged fields and soaring wheat prices. I hope prices will rise as things settle down.


We managed to get a superb crop of hay and good nutritional haylage in the end. While wrapping the haylage the lads and myself thought of a good way for our apprentice, Rob to spend his stag night, with a few wraps around him at the end of the evening.


Another young lad has been drafted in to help us for the harvest in the form of the son of Thomas Longton (the internationally acclaimed sheep dog handler). Steven Longton is an extremely talented lad, just like our Rob.


Like a lot of young lads nowadays, Steven has the strength of an ox but the physique of a draw bar pin. Steven is going to be appearing on One man and his dog later on in the year, so he has been busy practising in between the harvest showers. I hope the old saying does not come true: “When you’ve got a boy you have got one, but when you’ve got two you have only half a boy.”


James Read farms at Louth on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds in partnership with his father. They farm 400ha of mainly arable land and are the main contractors on 700ha. He runs 200 breeding sheep and a pack of working/trialling sheepdogs.


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