7 June 2002

John Yeoman

John Yeomans farms 89ha

(220 acres) of mixed hill

and upland near Newtown in

mid-Wales. The farm is split

between hill and upland,

with the hill land in two

blocks running up to 426m

(1400ft). It is stocked

with 70 suckler cows,

including some Limousins

and 540 breeding sheep,

mostly Beulahs

YOUNG cattle were sold in Bishops Castle to average 128p/kg at 381kg for bullocks on blue cards and 112p/kg at 335kg for heifers. Bullocks were up about £40 and heifers, about £50, on year 2000.

Sheep and cattle have been moved out to their summer holiday resorts on the hills. This year, older cows and first calved heifers have been kept at home so we can give them better treatment.

As part of the Beulah Sire Reference Scheme, lambs were weighed before moving to the hills. This will save us one gather, although it means silage will be cut later due to sheep being at home for longer. The better twins were mid-20kg and the best singles ranged from the high 20kgs to low 30kgs at 7-9 weeks old.

Sheep shows and sales starting is a welcome easing of restrictions, but the 20 day standstill must go before autumn to enable people to buy replacement rams and ewes while still selling their own sheep. The sheep sale season is relatively short and if regulations arent freed up, the economic implications for many farms could be disastrous.

Dock control is going well, having fallen from the dizzy heights of 33,300 docks/ha (13,200/acre) on our champion field in 2000. I feel there has been at least a 90% reduction. This year, the worst fields will receive half rate applications of Pastor or Dockstar. I think we had the biggest impact from a split rate of 2 litres of Pastor in May/June and again in August. Rushes on the hill will be weed wiped again in late June, which should see them off for three or four years.

We have had our annual visits from both the accountant and our Barclays manager. After some of last years darker times, we felt it was an achievement to still be here. Unfortunately, despite tea with extra sugar and all my charms, we couldnt chip another 0.5% off our interest rate. But the bank manager recalled memories of our misspent youths of the late 1970s and early 1980s which were almost as good. I dont know whether our accountant would agree though. &#42

John Yeomans has moved most of his cattle and his sheep flock to their summer holiday resort on the hills recently.