Archive Article: 1997/12/12 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 1997/12/12

12 December 1997

Christmas primestock shows are in full swing around the

country. And a little merriment and mirth they offer, too, at

an otherwise gloomy time, with farm incomes heading

downwards. FARMERS WEEKLY stopped off on the big day

at Wooler mart in the north-east…

As elsewhere, this show last Wednesday was incorporated into the weekly stock sale. It was an eventful day – at the same time, in London, the government was announcing a ban on the sale of bone-in beef.

Judge Jimmy Ford (right) picked out this one as his champion – a home-bred Limousin bred and exhibited by David Robertson of Embleton Mill, Alnwick. It was bought by family butchers, R G Foreman & Son.

The champ weighed 470kg and made 165p/kg. All told, it was a good day for the Limousin breed, which took every prize.

The day also saw nearly 3000 sheep offered at the market, including 47 pens of show lambs. The prize for the overall champion pen was awarded to A B & F Gold for their Suffolk cross Texels. At 51kg apiece, they made £56 each. At this time of year, theres often more sheep entered than were seen last week. The present lacklustre trade was partly the reason, according to the auctioneers.

Weigh to go… medium and heavy steers averaged 101.4p and 102.9p/kg respectively. Heifers levelled 101.5p and 103.8p/kg.

Among the lambs, overall averages were 91p, 89.6p, 95.7p and 90.9p/kg respectively. Smaller cull ewes averaged £28.50/head, with the bigger ones at £37.60.

Action in the auction… Jack Dudgeon of County Auctions takes a bid.

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Archive Article: 1997/12/12

12 December 1997

Steve Dennis was in the judging hot-seat at Exeters primestock show last Friday. Taking top honours in the sheep class was a pen of two Texel cross lambs which, at 49.4kg, made £81 apiece.

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Archive Article: 1997/12/12

12 December 1997

From John Lovett-Turner, Cheltenham, Glos

THE first tractor I drove was an Austin bought by my father in 1921 – at the time it was only the second one in the parish.

I had to wait until I was 11 years old until I was allowed to drive it, although I cant remember what particular task I was asked to do.

The tractor was used for cultivating operations and for towing the binder – for this latter task the tractor was deemed to be marginally faster than horses, much to the disdain of farm hands who often commented: "Gaffers gone mad again."

John Lovett-Turners brother and father use the Austin tractor and binder to harvest wheat near St Albans in 1932.

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Archive Article: 1997/12/12

12 December 1997

AUTOMATION is here: Teddy the Tractor and his friends who include Carol the Combine, Dennis the Drill and Sally the Spreader – no sexism here – do their work without the help of a driver in A Beavers book* for children aged three years or more.

Teddy and Co have piercing eyes and work very hard to harvest the crops on the six-field farm and plant the fields for the following year. What the crops are grown for is also made clear in this book where one or two sentences sum up each of the farming activities which are illustrated in black-and-white line drawings. AR

*Teddy the Tractor and his Friends by A Beaver, Pentland Press (£4.99).

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Archive Article: 1997/12/12

12 December 1997

From Arthur Staniforth, Summertown, Oxford

The first tractor I drove was a Fordson "red-spot". It was fitted with spade lugs and belonged to the Somerset War Agricultural Committee.

A student at Reading University, my holiday job was to go round ploughing up grass fields that had been scheduled by the War Ag. I had the old road menders caravan to live in and steel bands to put round the tractor wheels for road travel.

It was good tractor and pulled a two-furrow Ransome plough. Petrol was used for start up with TVO being switched to when it had warmed up. Starting it in the morning was the hardest part – it took some swinging and had a kick like a mule: Never put your thumb round the handle.

By present day standards the seat was incredibly uncomfortable and I spent most of the time when ploughing standing up – there was just enough room for that.

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