Haymaking gets under way

After a wonderful week of dry weather, we’ve got all the silage and hay finished. I was beginning to think this was not going to be a haymaking year.

My only sadness was the good weather meant I missed two of my favourite shows – The Royal Welsh and The New Forest. I can’t complain too much because I’ve had two trips to London, one being Christine Tacon’s women in agriculture dinner, which was a really enjoyable and informative evening. Then back with son George to collect an award for raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

Bulls are out with cows and have been split in to four groups – a time consuming operation, but one that pays dividends in the long term. At present we’ve got one Angus bull and I’m tempted to buy another; it’s a great cross with our predominantly continental cows.

The cattle barn is now well on its way to being finished. In the short term we’ve managed to get rid of our yellow-coated archaeological “expert”. In fairness, he was a very pleasant lad but his hands were lashed up so tightly with bureaucracy that he made progress painfully slow.

It’s little wonder that this country’s economic growth is still in decline. Having, budgeted for everything, agreed a price, then you leap into the unknown by being forced to engage someone, with no idea whether they’ll be working for two hours or two weeks. As an industry, we’re under enormous pressure to be efficient, but they don’t half make it difficult.

Minette Batters farms 120ha on a tenant farm on the Longford Estate in south Wiltshire. The farm carries 100 continental-bred suckler cows, with males finished as bull beef, some sold as stores and the others finished and sold to local butchers. The enterprise also includes a catering business and horse livery. She is NFU county chairwoman for Wiltshire and founder of Ladies in Beef

Read more articles from Minette Batters

Read more from our other livestock farmer focus writers

See more