Happy New Year and I hope 2018 will bring good weather and good prices to you all.
For us, 2017 was the first time we had production restrictions in the 15 years we have been milking goats and caused our milk sales to fall significantly.
Our resolutions for the new year include looking for some new income streams and not being so reliant on a single product and customer. Although when I suggested to my accountant perhaps we should do some more mainstream farming, he held his hands up in horror and advised us not to.
“One New Year’s resolution is not to have any more insurance claims, the latest one being an accident involving our tractor and trailer jack-knifing into the hedge while hauling muck down the road, all but writing off the tractor. At least there were no injuries except to our poor farmworker Dimitri’s pride.”
The snow in mid-December caused a few problems in Monmouthshire but thankfully it didn’t linger for too long and we were able to get the milk tanker in and out safely, which is the top priority.
My children Tommy and Megan had a day off thanks to the snow and some of their friends came sledging in one of our fields. The only benefit of not having a flat farm.
Cattle were housed just before Christmas and we were lucky to be able to keep them out for so long on roots, saving a lot of straw.
We have caught up well on routine goat foot-trimming and cleaned the sheds out, but recent wet ground has hindered fencing. We are replacing some rotten stakes and double fencing hedgerows for the Glastir agri-environment scheme.
We usually host the Monmouthshire hunt children’s meet at the end of December, but were given a reprieve this year. The hounds have been going really well and the dry ground towards the end of last year allowed for some excellent days.
Jess and I had a great night out at the Harewood End Agricultural Society Ball, we were punching well above our weight partying with the big boys from around Ross-on Wye.
Gary and Jess Yeomans run a herd of 700 milking goats across 100ha, which supplies a local cheese factory. They also own a small pedigree Welsh Black suckler herd to graze permanent pasture in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire.