Farmer Focus: Moving home for a fresh start

I’m resisting the urge to moan about the weather – the less said the better. At least those pesky slugs have drowned, as there’s no way they can survive underwater for this long.

January has come and gone in a flash and my list of to-do jobs has hardly been touched. It must be the combination of shooting, shows and training courses, ATV, UTV, abrasive wheels, working at heights – my team is now fully certified to do it all.

A recent trip to the Lamma show was a welcome day out for the whole team. I’m not sure about the new venue – only time will tell – and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the outdoor trade stands, as being ankle-deep in mud for two days can’t be much fun. I don’t remember it ever being quite that bad.

I asked the lads to keep an eye out for anything that would increase the efficiency of our business. I’m glad I didn’t ask for a list, as I think it would have been endless, although I have to agree with them – the big JCB loading shovel and 8m3 grain bucket did look pretty awesome.

The year 2013 was a rough one for the Challen family, so we decided a fresh start was required – a new project to get our teeth into was needed.

So in mid-January we packed our bags – well boxes anyway – and along with an army of friends, who incidentally I owe a debt of gratitude, and a fleet of 4X4s and cattle wagons we moved house.

Leaving the old family home was hard, but I’m sure it’s the right thing to do, although a week on I’m getting fed up with living out of boxes, but I’m assured it’s not for much longer.

Well, the shotguns have been cleaned and put away as another glorious shooting season comes to an end. It looks as if it’s DIY for me for the next few weekends. Let’s hope it dries up quickly and we can get on the land.

Keith Challen manages 800ha of heavy clay soils in the Vale of Belvoir, Leicestershire, for Belvoir Fruit Farms. Cropping includes wheat, oilseed rape and elderflowers. The farm is also home to the Belvoir Fruit Farms drinks business.

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