Livestock Farmer Focus: Alistair Mackintosh is praying for rain

I know I will regret saying this, but we need rain. Areas where soil is thin has already burned out and some new grass seed is in desperate need of a drink, otherwise we might lose it.

Even with grass in short supply, ewes and lambs are doing well. Lambs have had a dose against worms and their second pasteurella injection given. We should be able to take advantage of the prices as some single lambs are well advanced.

As I write, shearing is under way and I’m delighted to say both Lee and number one son Alistair are faster than I am. However, I still have to remain willing to maintain the competition. Alistair is also supposed to be swatting for his exams, which we are all agreed (apart from him) is more important.

It appears wool has more value this year and so extra care has been taken when wrapping fleeces. Hopefully the upward price is an indication of things to come, and I believe it’s important to support the Wool Board. I’m in no doubt that without it there is potential for wool to become a waste product.

Recent moves by the EU commission to reopen talks with South American countries about re-establishing beef imports into the EU are frustrating. GB and EU farmers produce to the highest welfare and environmental standards which inevitably incurs cost, as well as protecting our consumer health.

The commission seems prepared to turn a blind eye to the potential to importing product from countries with inferior production standards. This is unacceptable and we should not compromise the integrity of the food our consumers have a right to demand. The commission would be better to encourage EU farmers and to encourage EU production rather than undermining home-grown product.

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