Neil Thomson calls it a day for this season’s vegetables

Happy New Year, I suspect I am not the only farmer to bid good riddance to 2012. Although 2013 didn’t exactly get off to a good start when at about 2am on New Year’s Day we returned home to discover 50 cattle had escaped from their shed and were wandering happily all around the steading.

Most of them were easily contained, but of course there were 17 who had made it out to greater freedom. My wife and family were surprised by my apparent lack of fury, and I can assure you I wasn’t drunk, so I must be getting more mellow, the older I get.

The following morning it was apparent that thankfully, they hadn’t eloped on to any neighbour’s land and I am glad to say we got them back to where they belong in remarkably good time.

Wouldn’t it be nice to put 2012 behind us and move on? But sadly the consequences of the year will be felt for a very long time. Our ground is saturated and I am not alone in wishing I could get hold of a digger to mend some drains. Straw is still lying in the swath and I have been scratching my head at what the cheapest way of getting rid of it. I have hired a forage waggon and I will let you know how that works.

The biggest headache has been the vegetables, of course. Fortunately, I only had two-thirds of the area I had in 2011, but the volume harvested is down by a half and it took twice as long. I finally called it a day the week before Christmas and I am eternally grateful to my remaining foreign staff for their dedication in getting crops harvested in some atrocious weather. I had to call on some locals to help, but it reminded me exactly why I have the foreigners.

Roll on a good 2013

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