Farmer Focus: Accident as milk machine careers into shed

We have been taking advantage of the good ground conditions to clear out some ditches and repair broken clay drains on the land we have recently rented.

It is a very satisfying job, and I am amazed that some farmers will put up with wet patches, just for the sake of a few hours work with a JCB and some rods.

Autumn-born kids have done well in the fresh dry weather, although the heat lamps have been on constantly.

See also: Read more from the livestock farmer focus writers

Our automatic milk powder feeder is five years old and could do with replacing. We are reluctant to change to a simpler machine, as it does a full self-wash and regularly circulates milk around a pipe loop, preventing the milk going cold.

Nasty accident

Dai Green, the ace milk-machine engineer, has been a frequent visitor to maintain it, but he had a nasty shock on his last visit.

Dimitri was moving some muck and he hadn’t hitched the trailer on properly. As he went up to the goat shed it came off and careered down the hill crashing into the kid-rearing shed and narrowly missing Dai’s van.

Fortunately nobody was hurt, although one RSJ was badly buckled. Dimitri hasn’t done his Christmas-bonus cause any favours!

Brexit debate

Away from the farm, I travelled to London to appear on a Radio 5 breakfast show debate about Brexit. The concern for agriculture is that we need tariff-free access to the single market for products like Welsh lamb.

The food chain relies on migrant labour for jobs from fruit picking and milking on farms, to slaughter house and packing work. The NFU is working hard to make the hard Brexit camp aware of the massive contribution the food industry provides to the economy.

Avoiding a lynching

I also had a day out at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair where I was asked to judge the English Foxhounds. Thankfully, it was relatively straight forward and I didn’t get lynched.

The Monmouthshire Hunt had a joint meet with the Sennybridge Farmers Hunt up on the army ranges above Brecon. It was a beautiful day and the hounds ran superbly all day.

Gary and Jess Yeomans run a herd of 700 milking goats across 100ha and supply the herd’s milk to a local cheese factory. They also own a small pedigree Welsh Black suckler herd to graze permanent pasture