Farmer focus: Staffing issues put pressure on business

The silage is in, and the great news is that it was a decent crop.

The problem this year was when to cut the grass. The weather forecast seemed to be all over the place, so in the end I just decided to go for it.

Of course, there is always a difference of opinion in the family, but with good luck on my side it was the right decision.

We ended up filling our first- and second-cut pits. I had to seek help from my emergency assistant – in the form of friend and farmer – tractor driver extraordinaire Gary Simpson.

With all hands on deck we managed to get all the grass mowed and dashed out before the Arkengarthdale gang of WC Stones and Son arrived.

We have had a few changes this year with staffing and we are about to employ an apprentice.

The only problem is he cannot start until he has completed his GCSE exams. Good luck Callum with those and we look forward to you starting with us.

See also: Read more from our other livestock farmer focus writers

A big thank you to those who have been assisting in the meantime, namely Becky our milk recorder and now milker, and James Taylor from next door.

With the finances as tight as we have ever seen them, we are trying our best to be self-sufficient, but everything comes at a cost in some way.

I am still landscaping our garden (with a capital S for still). This has now been on the go since last year and it getting a little old, constantly nagging in the back of my head. The problem is fitting it in around everything else.

With the kids both being teenagers, there is always something to do on the calendar and the house resembles a mad house with lots of people passing through it.

Adding to the melee, getting building quotes (which is like pulling teeth) and trying to co-ordinate future building plans for the ice cream parlour mean it is full steam ahead with no room for illness or error.

Adrian Harrison farms 81ha in partnership with his father Maurice in Wensleydale, Yorkshire. He runs 130 pedigree Jersey cows with 70 followers. Milk is used to make Wensleydale cheese