Jolyon Higgs is still waiting for renewable payments

Well into the second half of May we endured below average temperatures and slow grass growth at Cwmfron. We continued to supplementary feed ewes so the lambs did not suffer a growth check. A stack of silage bales that was to be carried over to next winter disappeared.

The cold weather and above average rainfall meant that the micro hydro performed well but, three and a half months into production, we have not seen a penny of income due to slowness and errors from Ofgem and our electricity supplier.

On Gower, fodder beet germinated well and is at the second true leaf stage. A post-emergence herbicide was applied. Finished cattle are achieving pleasing returns. We have registered both farms as being “interested” in joining Glastir in 2013. However, we still feel that the scheme is far more about paperwork than it is about producing environmental benefit, and we can’t cope with any more forms and record-keeping.

I watched the Hovis “Farmer’s Boy” advert with interest. Whilst I felt the father’s role was rather overdone, life on a farm is all about being adaptable, working hard and staying out in all weathers. If I was employing someone and was presented with two candidates, equal in all other respects, and one was a farmer’s child and the other was not, I would employ the candidate with the farming background. They usually have a “can do” attitude that doesn’t come from sitting in front of computer games all day.

Jolyon Higgs and his family farm 130ha in Llanidloes, Mid Wales. His wife Alex and son Tom help at her parent’s 200ha arable and grassland farm, 90 miles away on the Gower. Jolyon keeps 20 suckler cows, selling the stores to his wife’s farm. He keeps a closed flock of 600 ewes, producing prime lambs for Waitrose as well as light continental-type lambs.

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