Farmer Focus: Time to cheer up after doom and gloom

Time to cheer up. Life is starting to get a whole lot better.

Grass is growing, brassica crops are starting to really fill out, lambs are being sold, cattle are back on the thrive and our shop, Damn Delicious, is really busy, both online and in the shop.

Wholecrop is in and the lambs are now enjoying the young grass with red clover that was underneath. At the start of September, 20% of the lambs had gone at an 18kg deadweight average.

A small amount of very lush second-cut was made at the weekend, which I hope will turn out to be 11 ME (metabolisable energy) silage for sheep.

See also: Tips and advice for planning and building a new silage clamp

In a year like this, cashflow can be a real problem. Normally, we would be selling a lot of cattle to slaughter in July and August, but because of the terrible winter, a lot of my cattle started the summer in poorer condition than usual and were not ready when they should have been.

I ended up with a lot of big-framed cattle that really needed to be fattened on grain. I recognise that is not my skillset, so today I took the biggest to market and sold them as forward stores, ideal for someone to finish for the Christmas market.

It’s interesting how suppliers react at times like these. I like to pay my bills on time, but this year I needed more time.

We are told we should always keep our suppliers informed, which I did. Only one supplier let me down. 

I am now in debt to all those supportive suppliers and they have certainly increased my loyalty as a customer, but as for the one, it should never expect another order from me.

Our shop has had a huge change in the past month, when our longest-serving employee decided she wanted a change in career.

Along with our recent increase in sales, processing for smallholders and farmers for their freezers has allowed us to appoint some new staff with new ideas and new processes and there is a great new buzz about the place. Long may it continue.

Michael Shannon is a Farmer Focus writer farming in Lanarkshire. Read his biography