Farmer Focus: Crime forces farm back to basics

Almost all spring barley has been sown and the sprouting beans are providing a tasty snack for the pigeons. Winter crops are looking well and the recently applied fertiliser has greened them up nicely.

The boys have been home for half term and are proving to be a huge help with all the spring work.

We were graced with not one, but two former world-ploughing champions, Andrew Mitchell senior and junior, as they spent a few weekends setting up their match ploughs on the grass leys, in preparation for the world championships in France.

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The weather has been bitterly cold with very few opportunities for the new lambs to get the sun on their backs. The Newhouse lambing has finished, with two-thirds of the lambs born being ewes.

The Glen lambing has started, with some older ewes put with the Blue Faced Leicester early, hoping to breed some mule ewe lambs, but they seem to be spitting out mostly tups.

The remainder of the neeps have been lifted and are feeding the hill ewes until the grass starts to grow.

The cattle are still inside, but hopefully we should get some young stock out at the end of the month.

Again, we have been culling bulls that are not good enough for breeding. They have been coming to very sensible money and we may decide we should have culled more.

Rural crime has been on the increase and our local blacksmith has been kept busy with customers needing new yard gates and gadgets to secure diesel tanks. Our latest commission was a set of branding irons for the Blackface ewe hogs.

We are putting our initials and year number back on the horn, and the cheviots will get a new keel letter mark and lug marked. Modern ear tags are all too easy to cut out, so maybe the old fashioned way of sheep identification was the best and hopefully we will be prepared should sheep rustling ever bother us.

Bob and Kay Adam run 100 pedigree Limousin and Charolais cows on their 222ha farm in Angus and rent a 728ha hill farm running 640 ewes and 30 suckler cows