It’s proving to be another difficult winter. I’m definitely ready for some lasting sunshine, and I think the stock is too.
As some ewes enter the critical last six weeks of their pregnancy, it’s an important time to reduce stress and get nutrition right. Scanning results were similar to last year, with more than enough triplets.
When I visited my accountants recently a small exercise demonstrated that increased costs and decreasing lamb prices can swiftly change your business’s outlook. Even when bearing bad news, having a good accountant is worth every penny I spend.
I enjoyed watching First Time Farmers on Channel Four. Its mix of characters and situations brought a smile to my face. Although not an entirely realistic portrayal of day-to-day farming, the programme highlighted a few things really well: to be a farmer one has to make several sacrifices. And you have to be prepared to work unsociable hours, but always keep a good sense of humour – something my family tells me I’m short of at times.
After three years of having the privilege of writing this article, it’s time to let someone else share their own experiences. Looking ahead, it’s difficult to see a future without some form of subsidies, particularly if the public continues to demand cheap food. Our vulnerability to climate changes as well as diseases such as Schmallenberg will also continue to challenge us.
So, it’s goodbye from me. One thing I’ll be glad not to see are the less-than-flattering photos that go with each article.
John Bainbridge farms 600ha of rented MoD hill land near Richmond, North Yorkshire, along with 21ha of family-owned land with his sons Lance and Reuben. His 1,400 sheep, plus followers, along with 70 suckler cows, are the main farm enterprise.