Farmer Focus: Farming is hard but rewarding work

We welcomed a very early spring with an early turnout on 15 April. “Early?” I hear some of you ask. Well, it is for the Yorkshire Dales. The cows are currently grazing out throughout the day and are housed during the nights. Close-to-calving cows are still fully housed, while far-off-calving cows are turned out.

This month we have mostly been doing odd jobs. With most of the heifers outside, we have been mucking buildings out and having a good old sort-out of youngstock. With the good weather mid-April we got 4ha of spring reseeding completed.

The May bank holiday brings with it the Dales Festival of Food and Drink. This year we were exhibiting in the form of Wensleydale Ice Cream. It’s very hard, but rewarding, work. The run-up is a killer, as it is a bank holiday weekend, which means all our regular customers have orders to be fulfilled and then we need lots extra for the festival. This meant early starts and late finishes – 10pm each night to be precise – and it is only now that we have caught up.

New businesses require a huge input and staffing is not an option, well, at least not yet.

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It’s funny, isn’t it, how others see things. Apparently I don’t know how lucky I am and success comes to me easily. Firstly, this most definitely is not true, and secondly, some folks do not see the amount of hard graft and determination that has to go into food production. They don’t see the long hours of work, turning up rain or shine, working with illness and aching limbs. The Midas touch certainly is not there. It’s simply very hard work and commitment that brings success and those who get success without the graft are very lucky. I do hope for some luck however, and I will be buying a lottery ticket this weekend.

There is a rainbow over the farm as I write. I am considering setting off for the pot of gold, which, according to my estimation, is currently in centre of the muck store. So slurry spreading here I come.

Adrian Harrison farms 81ha in partnership with his father Maurice in Wensleydale, Yorkshire. He runs 130 pedigree Jersey cows with 70 followers. Milk is used to make Wensleydale cheese.

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