Farmer Focus : Wilbert Girvan 11/02/05

I FEAR that I may be one of the grumpy old men being castigated in print at the moment. Both my wife and son reckon I am grumpy, so it must be true.

In the past week we have scanned our ewes. As luck would have it, we had one of those marvellous frosty winter days which make working outdoors a real pleasure.

I brought them in using my two obedient, well-trained sheepdogs. My dogs love working with sheep and I thoroughly enjoy working my dogs. Our sheep handling pens are state of the art, so running ewes up the race to scanning equipment was no problem. Our 450 ewes were scanned in less than two hours, showing us that come lambing time we can look forward to 289 twins, 60 singles and 69 triplets.

The information the exercise yielded is we only had six barrens and, due to CAP reform, we can sell them immediately and not wait until they come out of retention.

Due to mild weather, our grass has continued to grow throughout winter and ewes have been rotated round the fields, New Zealand style, without any additional feeding. With a condition score of five and carrying 199%, we just need our usual trouble-free run-up to lambing and as far as I can see there will be money in the job.

I foresee a bright future for all sectors, with all producers over the age of 50 retiring with their SFP and allowing keen young people to use their energy and enthusiasm to produce milk, meat and grain at less than world prices. Capturing 100% of our home market and still prospering.

I look forward to diversifying and enlarging my workshop to produce mesh covers for pig pens. In my leisure time I will sip from my glass which is eternally half full of my home-made, hallucinatory, mind-bending elixir. While I do, I will dream of the millions of pounds I will make as I sell the copyright for worldwide production.