Getting set for Malton sales

I wish everybody would stop raving on about the book Fifty Shades of Grey. The only shades of grey around Hall Farm are the rain clouds above the Wolds and the colours in my hair from worrying if it will ever stop raining.

We have had to apply another ear wash of spray to the wheat for septoria and still have not cut a blade of hay or haylage. I decided to be brave and swathe some OSR after hearing on the radio that the jet stream was heading north. Let’s hope they are right.

On a brighter note, the shearlings look a lot better than the grass and the arable crops. As I speak, we are busy tarting them up for Malton sales on Friday. I still think prices will be firm for good-quality sheep.

I always try and sell some shearlings privately, but it’s hard work when trying to strike a price before the sales, farmer to farmer. As a fertiliser rep once said to me after having a bad day selling to a customer: “What’s the difference between a terrorist and a farmer? You can negotiate with a terrorist.”

Tom, my young dog, is doing the lion’s share of the gathering jobs. It is a myth that trial dogs are no good for farmwork – but a dog has to be an exceptional work dog first before even thinking about trialling.

I am really pleased with Tom’s progress, although he did un-pen the sheep the other day in his youthful exuberance.

James Read farms at Louth, Lincolnshire in partnership with his father. They farm 400ha of mainly arable land along with 200 breeding sheep and a pack of working/trialling sheepdogs

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