Farmer Focus Livestock: Julian Ellis looks at expanding the family farm

I feel privileged to follow in the footsteps of the previous Farmer Focus columnists. I question whether I am qualified to take on such a task and those who know me are now questioning the future of their FW subscription.

Here at Boscarne Farm, we run a mixed farm typical for the area. Some would probably refer to it as old-fashioned, but I like to think of this type of farming as being sustainable and having a place in modern agriculture.

Over recent years, we have been fortunate enough to expand and increase cow numbers, with neighbouring farms being offered to us for rent. Now, with cattle sheds bursting at the seams and a work overload, we need to look seriously at the future of the dairy set-up.

Having committed ourselves several years ago to buying the farm, investing in buildings and concrete is not a decision we are finding easy. Of course, as with many other family farms, numerous board meetings have been held at the breakfast table, with mother sometimes having to step in as chairman/referee.

I was recently reminded how lucky we are to live where we do and how suitable it is for grass growth, when a rep from Devon stated that at home the temperature was -3C, yet when he reached us it was 10C. Admittedly, he couldn’t see his hands in front of his face for sea mist and fog, but at least he didn’t have to put mittens on them.

First aid and NROSO courses were on the agenda last month. Although they never seem a priority at the time, I generally find that if you go with the right attitude, you learn something, whether from the tutor or other attendees.

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