Farmer Focus Livestock: Foxes and moles proving pests for Jolyon Higgs

The usual collection of friends, family and students turned up to help us at lambing.

The weather treated us kindly, but foxes were a headache. Going out in the morning to find headless lambs was depressing.

The biggest surprise of lambing went to the ewe who was settling down in a pen with her new born lambs, when a calf came flying over the wall to join her. We think he had annoyed the bull and been thrown out.

We passed our first 60-day interval TB test with an all clear. Cattle will be out by the next test, but I shall be happy to yard them again in the hope we can put this problem behind us.

Our first year in Tir Gofal is drawing to a close and we have been paid promptly. We are fortunate to have such a scheme in Wales, but I wish that it could be open to more farmers. We have held another school visit with the aid of the Tir Gofal.

The silage crops are growing well, but so are docks. Moles are another threat to silage quality and, despite hours spent with fifteen traps, there are always more to catch.

On both farms the annual challenge of filling in the single farm payment form is under way and, while a tedious task, the considerable sums of money involved means we have to get it right.

I understand an official website is open so that everyone can see who gets what.

My predecessors in this column, Neville and Margaret Stacey, have gone on to greater things and are now film stars.

Don’t miss their television debut on BBC Four’s series Mud Sweat and Tractors, at 9pm on Wednesday, 6 May.

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