Farmer Focus: 2019 was not a favourite of ours

Happy New Year! I hope everyone is well fed and rested. I like to commence each year with optimism and some focus.

Not so much on the resolution side, but identifying what areas we can improve or require change; what made me ‘happy’ last year; and what should be avoided.

I feel I have grown personally this last year. Having a child really does make you evaluate life and I find I am often reminding myself how blessed we are.

See also: How a Welsh sheep farmer slashed winter ration costs

Last year was not a favourite of ours and quite frankly we are glad to see the back of it – largely for reasons beyond our control, such as rainfall and rustling, to name a few.

We ended the year having recently taken on another new venture. We were approached at the end of the summer by a local estate to run a sheep flock over two farms that they have recently taken back in hand.

This commenced in the autumn with the management of 800 ewes on a contract basis.

We are looking forward to seeing how things progress this year with this.

We saw it as a great opportunity for expansion without the need for heavy financial investment or travelling too far.

I think one of our main objectives this year is to really look at consolidating our business into a smaller area.

Diesel does not get any cheaper and time seems to get more precious.

Short daylight hours at present and cattle being spread over three sites, sheep situated over several other locations on winter keep… you can soon find yourself getting nothing but the bare essentials done.

By the time this is published the first 600 ewes will have been scanned. We are hoping for similar percentages to last year.

We have recently completed a full circle on the pigs and it has been pleasing.

Mainly due to these reasons: it is black and white (there are no nasty surprises with how the system works); overall pig performance and growth rates; and it was a job in the dry in the autumn.

Now we have a majority government we have a clear direction regarding Brexit, which is what I hoped for.

Read more about Monmouthshire livestock farmer Livy Braid