Farmer Focus: A farm apprentice pays dividends

I would just like to start off by saying my thoughts go out to those poor farmers who have had their farms and lives devastated by the floods. Hats off to Andrew Ward and his comrades – what a fantastic job they are doing.

The general public think us farmers are “as tight as a duck’s backside”, it’s great to see a bunch of farmers proving them wrong.

I’ve never known any other industry pull together like this in times of stress.

We’ve seemed to have got away lightly in this neck of the woods. The cereals as well as the grass still look green with little water lying on the land as you drive around. The land seems to be taking the incessant rain well due to a fairly dry summer last year.

See also: More articles from James Read

As a matter of course, with only a month away from lambing, I have brought the ewes carrying triplets into the comfort of the lambing shed at night.

I think my biggest problem this year will be overfit sheep with a risk of prolapsing. Being the novice sheep farmer that I am I can never seem to get my food rationing right.

At last we have found a new apprentice. His name is Luke. He’s quite a character (helpful on our establishment).

He puts maximum effort and enthusiasm into everything he does, including arriving to work at 7.30am on his scooter and sounding his air horns so waking the whole village up.

I would urge any farmer to take on a young apprentice. Just like a young sheepdog a little patience and time with a youngster pays dividends. Speaking of which I’ve two new pups on the way, one of these is from Wales, sired by Kevin Evan’s Jimmy and the other from the Derwent Valley, Derbyshire, from my good friend David Woods out of his bitch Sal. Future world champions of course. With Sally my wife on maternity leave I thought she might have a bit of spare time on her hands. (No hate mail please).

James Read farms in partnership with his father, in Louth, Lincolnshire. They farm 400ha of mainly arable land, run 200 breeding sheep and a pack of working/trialling sheepdogs

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