Mathew Cole finds its all a bit emotional…

As we break the seal of 2011 on Dartmoor, the countryside has been transformed once again from a winter wonderland with all its associated problems to the more familiar damp, muddy place we are used to. But as we trudge through these dark winter months and associated weather, we will try and focus on things we can do something about as opposed to those we can’t.

That said, with all our costs soaring and apparently nothing we can do about it, we are in for an uncertain time. There has been a lot of talk about expensive suckler cow numbers being slashed on many farms, and the question is about what actions we take as individuals. With our expansion last year at the prison farm we have increased our cow numbers, but we are fortunate enough to have the space in cubicles and the feed in the barns to cope. As 2011 plays its cards, let us hope stock prices rise to help soften the blow of these costs.

We started scanning last week, with our Old Blackfaces and Whiteface Dartmoors being first into the crate. Scotch ewes scanned 145%, carrying mule lambs with the Whiteface Dartmoor ewes disappointing at about 140%. The push is on now to sell the last of the 2010 lambs to enable us to focus on this year’s crop.

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to my 14-year-old Border Terrier Mabel who passed away this week. We were all upset as a loyal trusted companion left us. The fact that my pregnant and hormonal wife Gemma is reading Marley and Me didn’t help. Needless to say, there was not a dry eye in the house this week.

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