Jolyon Higgs battles with the cold

A cold December was followed by the heaviest snow falls and lowest temperatures we have seen at Cwmfron for many years.

The barley bin was emptied just before Christmas and fresh supplies were due in before the New Year holiday. However, snow caught us out and it was only good fortune, and good driving by our supplier, that allowed us to refill before the yard became cut off to all but four-wheel drive vehicles. Powys Council gritter drivers worked tirelessly to keep our local roads open and their work is much appreciated.

Despite leaving all taps running the water supply to the buildings froze and we then had to carry water to the cattle. Stock feeding in this sort of weather saps your strength and takes most of the day.

The New Year has seen the arrival of the electronic tagging regime and Food Chain Information forms that must be completed before animals go for slaughter. I believe neither measure will make any significant improvement to stock welfare, food safety or animal health. They are merely symptoms of our society’s obsession with “due process”. Farmers will have to fill in more forms that will then be stored for years and to spend money on tags that will bring few benefits.

Minister Benn tells us farmers must increase production and reduce emissions. He says the government will help us by carrying out relevant research. Is this the same government that has closed and sold our excellent experimental husbandry farms?

At some stage someone really radical will have to get a grip on our government and rid us of this irrelevant paperwork and inform civil servants farmers need support and encouragement and not interference and criticism. Let’s hope that someone is not too far away.