Single farm payment eases bank balance, Charlie Armstrong

Happy New Year and let’s hope it’s a better one than last year. It started off well as we have our single farm payment in the bank. In fact, it’s been in since 1 December, so the bank balance is looking the best it has in January for years, as is my stomach, according to many people’s observations.

So far this year it hasn’t rained every day, so things are looking good. It will take a prolonged dry spell to enable us to finish harvesting potatoes, but with a bit of luck we might harvest two crops in 2013.

The sheep trade seems to be balanced at the moment and with lambs on rape, grass silage and some extremely expensive pellets, I hope it stays that way.

With the tups all in, having hopefully done their job, they have been through the selection process.

Like everyone else, we have muck to spread, fields to plough, fencing, the list is endless, but we need some good weather and lots of it. With ewes coming inside and scanning due to start soon, the pile of work is just getting bigger and bigger and it’s almost impossible to reduce it.

Having moved into our new house we have peace at last. We still have no telephone line or Sky and a generator is going 24 hours a day as the power company is months behind schedule.

Charlie Armstrong farms 1,011ha with his wife Jane and parents Charlie and Sylvia at North Charlton, Alnwick, Northumberland. Livestock consists of 1,200 finishing cattle and 10,000 ewes.

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