Farmer Focus: Tough month as house flooded and sheep stolen

It never rains but it pours. This has literally been the case from our perspective over the past few weeks. I try to be an optimist, but we seem to have had a run of misfortune of late.

Our house flooded two weeks ago – despite being 260m up. Not from freak weather, but due to a plumbing mishap.

Thankfully, the dry and warm weather is allowing me to do chores outside for most of the day. The house will likely take a good three months or more to dry out, so I can’t envisage being back in before the end of summer. It’s not ideal with two young children in tow.

About the author

Livy Braid
Livestock Farmer Focus writer Livy Braid farms with her husband as first generation tenant farmers in Monmouthshire. They currently lamb 1250 ewes, grow 200 store cattle annually alongside a small herd of suckler cows and will start fattening 2,000 pigs a year. Focus is placed on optimising soil health to support a forage based system. 
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See also: Strong demand bolsters liveweight lamb prices

Anyway, to focus my thoughts away from personal dramas onto the business, what has been going on since I last wrote?

We decided to creep our singles this year. We don’t usually cake them, but we felt it was the right decision this year, what with the strong lamb price and lack of grass earlier on.

Thankfully, this paid off and we have just drawn our first 100 fat lambs out from the March lambers.

Cashflow is often trickiest with us during late spring, so this will help give us a good cash injection moving forward into the summer. Hopefully, the strong trade will continue for a month or more, and we can keep trickling a few lambs through.

I have been making doubly sure I’ve locked all the gates at the farm we rent down the road. We have had ewes stolen from there recently, something with which we have become all too familiar in the past few years.

We were discussing this with a loss adjuster, who came to assess the damage to the house after the flood. The problem is rife and is really pressuring insurance companies.

I guess it goes hand in hand with the strong demand and price now, but it surely won’t be long before the insurance companies want to put a stop to paying out to farmers for this loss. Either that, or our farm premiums will rocket.