FARMER FOCUS: James Read welcomes baby boy

It is quite astonishing what man and machine can achieve in this day and age. After starting our intensive four-month period of work more than a month late, we managed to compress it into three months. Thanks is due, of course, to our dedicated staff, Bill, Rob and Hayden, who have worked tirelessly. I must also take this opportunity to thank the farmers we contract for, including farm manager Ian Casey, for all their patience in a difficult year.

I am pleased to announce – should I need a spare tractor driver – the next generation of the Read family was born in mid-October. George Thomas Read, known to his friends as Tom, after Sally’s father. This may help his future school teacher, who will quite possibly have a class full of Georges named after the Royal baby. Hopefully he will want to be a farmer and take over the reins, but you never know, he may grow up to be the next Billy Elliot (no disrespect to the ballet dancers of this world).

I also have a young sheepdog called Tom, but hopefully it won’t lead to the same confusion as my two Sallys did a month or two ago (my wife and top sheepdog). One of my dear old trialling friends, Jim McBride, phoned to have a chat and get up to date with the sheepdog gossip. I announced that Sally was pregnant. Jim, being an avid fan of my dog Sally, replied in his strong, Irish accent: “Great, which dog did you line her with?”

I replied, “No, you daft bugger, the wife, not the dog!” We spent the next minute or two in laughter.

The ewes are all “dagged out” and fluked, ready to go to the tups. This will in early November, a week later than last year, as I am concerned about shortage of grass after a very dry summer on this eastern side of the country.

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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