Farmer Focus: Warm weather kick-starts crop growth

It has taken until the beginning of June for the grass and crops to start growing, but now with the warmer weather everything is away and we actually may now need a little drop of rain.

All the cows and calves are out, except two that are still to calve.

Bulls are due to be given an MOT and foot-trimmed prior to going out on 1 July.

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This year we will bull the heifers for six weeks as normal, but will pull back the cows to only seven weeks in order to tighten the calving up further.

Lambs have all been cut, tagged, scratched for orf and treated with pour-on for ticks and to stop flies bothering tagged ears. 

We have been pleased with the number of lambs, especially considering how bleak it seemed during the snow and icy temperatures at the end of April with lambs suffering in the cold.

It will be a relief for all that this is my last opportunity to bang the drum for voting to stay in the EU.

I was recently on the panel of a Question Time-style debate for the Northern Farmers and Landowners Group. 

Made up of farmers, an economist, an MP and an MEP, and ably chaired by Lord Curry of Kirkharle, it proved to be a heated debate with relevant and informed questions from an audience of well over 100 people.

The entry poll showed 44% for in and 29% for out, with the rest undecided. Exit polls were at 60% for in and 17% for out. I can only hope this is replicated on 23 June.

The question is whether I should be applying for a visa now to travel to the Highland Show on 24 June, as I suspect that if we leave the EU, Scotland will try to stay within the EU and the union will break up.

It may sound like a joke, but I may need to travel with a passport just to go half an hour up the road in the future.

Simon Bainbridge runs a 650ha organic farm in Northumberland alongside his wife Claire and his parents. With 150 suckler cows and 1,500 breeding ewes, healthy maternal livestock and quality feed are priorities.