FARMER FOCUS: Automatic shed lighting causes problems

Christmas is a distant memory now and seeing as neither Dad’s wish of an ivory back scratcher nor mine of a solid gold house were answered we move swiftly on.

With half the country seemingly taking a fortnight off for Christmas, a passport we were waiting for was late arriving. Now I can submit the details online and if I make a mistake or press the wrong number it tells me instantly. I can submit all this information and even print off a receipt to show this was all done correctly. Why can’t I therefore print the passport off at the same time? When the passport arrived there is no printed hologram so I would think most household printers would be more than man enough for the job. I realise that passports have recently undergone a major change. I would, however, genuinely like to know why I couldn’t print off my own passports.

Back to farming matters though. The recent warm spell (it is January after all) has been most welcome, but the rain that has come with it hasn’t been. Fields are looking very wet and there is a small stream going across our yard. At least it will be a useful indicator for when the ground has dried up and the cows can return to grass. There are a few heads hanging over gates in anticipation now, especially as daylight hours are increasing.

This is causing Dad a nuisance first thing in the morning. He hates winter because “it’s so dark and cold all the time”. The lights in our new kennel building are adapted to automatically turn on or off when the sunlight is poor or good. But with the lighter mornings creeping in, this is causing him problems scraping. He’ll be happily scraping along then all of a sudden he’s plunged into darkness and has to strain his eyes for the last bit. I can see next year’s Christmas wishlist being work lights on the scraper tractor.

Ross Symons farms 200 dairy cows, including his own small herd of pedigree Holsteins, with his parents near Truro, Cornwall. They are converting their year-round calving herd to autumn block calving.

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