Wilma made us glad to be here

Alistair Mackintosh rents 259ha (647 acres) of mainly LFA/SDA land from the owners of Muncaster Castle and owns a Further 40ha (100 acres).

He runs 100 suckler cows, finishing all male progeny and 1000 North of England Mule ewes

Having been on my first holiday for 15 years, it was quite an experience to be caught up in the tail end of hurricane Wilma.

If nothing else, it made me appreciate how fortunate we are to live where we do.

We are having a welcome spell of dry weather.

Even though temperatures are below freezing at night, it is better than constant rain.

If raddle marks are to be believed, ewes have all been tupped in quick time.

Tups seem to be holding condition better than previous years, which may be down to there being 35 ewes for each ram.

Cows have been blood tested for brucellosis.

We checked ear-tags at the same time.

Although prices have increased for prime bulls, they could still do better.

Encouragingly, the first sale of cows at auction, since they have been allowed back into the food chain, have seen prices of up to 78p/kg, a considerable improvement on over-30-month prices.

But those making good money had good cover.

I am pleased to say the levy board review has thrown up some worthwhile recommendations.

I believe that if we are to have a profitable industry, the levy boards must be more relevant to their sectors.

With regards to MLC, as a levy payer I want to see value for money and accountability.

If this is not delivered we should have it abolished.

I am concerned about the process levy, which is inevitably passed back to the farmer.

I would abolish it, thus making the levy board only responsible to the producer.

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