Farmer Focus: The delights of country shows

Remaining lambs have been weaned, wormed and put on a new ley. Hopefully in a month’s time the lamb price will have improved from the recent drop. Try as we may, we can’t predict market prices. I get nervous this time of year, but it looks like I passed the teats, teeth and feet test, as Jim hasn’t put a blue blob on my back when sorting the ewes into keepers and killers.

Haymaking and silaging has been completed and the great weather resulted in good quality hay. We’re about a week off combining wheat and the spring oats are turning nicely so won’t be far behind.

The polytunnel is finally planted (better late than never) and with a bit of luck Christmas dinner will be home-produced as our day old turkey poults have arrived.

See also: Read more from our other Livestock Farmer Focus writers

We’ve bought more British Blue-cross Friesian calves for hand rearing. They sucked well from day one. This seems to suit our system, but we miss the suckler cows and often gaze longingly into other fields. I think a small, traditional herd might be on the horizon.

Well done to all YFC tug-of-war teams who pulled at the national competition at Tenbury Show. It is a lovely time of year with large and small shows across the country showcasing the best of British farming and rural life. We have just returned from one of our favourites – Llanthony Show. Set in stunning countryside, this old-fashioned show is one of the few still totally organised by local volunteers, with no major corporate sponsorship. Our nephew Dan won the rodeo last year, but was pipped to the post this year with the trophy going to Cornwall. The West Country always support Llanthony Show and we have been invited to their speed shear event in Yelverton, Devon, on 24 August. Maybe Dan will bring a trophy back to Wales.

Kate Beavan farms 200ha with her husband Jim on one of two family farms near Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. The main enterprise comprises 900 breeding ewes and 50 suckler cows. Meat is sold direct to the family’s traditional butcher’s. Kate and Jim hosted Lambing Live in 2010