Farmer Focus: Hopes for new farm in 2017

Happy new year! It’s been a fairly cold start here, with our gritting enterprise starting to get busy and bringing in some much-needed extra income.

We have also started feeding silage to some of the ewes as winter grass is becoming less available. Ewes look to have gained condition over tupping though, which will hopefully lead to a good scan at the end of the month, fingers crossed.

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The introduction of a vaccine for foot-rot into the health plan also appears to be paying dividends as we are seeing a significant reduction in lameness.

It has been sad to see the last of the cattle go, but I still feel it’s been the right decision and will help free up time and capital to concentrate on our diversified enterprises, which I firmly believe are going to become more and more important to the survival of our business over the next few years.

It will also help us to fine-tune the sheep enterprise and improve things there too.

We now need to think of the best way to use our free shed space. This may involve some contract heifer rearing and perhaps even housing sheep at certain times of year.

Further to all this, Julia and I have started to apply for some bigger farms as we would like to expand the business together.

The level of support we have had for this from family, friends, bank managers, fellow farmers and other industry representatives has been quite something, with some very kind words written to go with our applications. We are very thankful for this.

Sadly, we were unsuccessful with our first application due to being outbid (by rather a lot), but we now have a great business plan should any other farms become available in the near future.

I just hope we can find a landlord who is prepared to accept a realistic rent from a newly engaged couple. Here’s to 2017!

Jim Beary contract rears 900 calves a year and has a growing flock of Aberfield-cross New Zealand Romneys on a county council farm. He also runs a contract gritting enterprise in winter.