I write this in mid October and winter has definitely arrived with temperatures of 3C, hail showers and everywhere flooding. All hopes of a settled spell have now faded after the worst harvest weather remembered in our area.
Cattle are now all housed for winter and with the ground being waterlogged since August we are heading into winter with our slurry tanks half full. Congratulations to the UFU for brokering a relaxation in the slurry closed period, for farmers in the same situation as myself.
Unfortunately this is to be my last copy after six years. I have actually surprised myself in enjoying writing this column although bookwork is my pet hate. It has been great to meet many of you who have spoke to me at different events.
On the farm the biggest change has probably been the move into dairying. Frequently I am asked how it compares to the beef and sheep world with one question being “Is it a lot harder?” My reply was “In many ways easier and more controlled but definitely more constant”.
In many instances I have both praised and criticised our DARD services, let me end with a criticism of a very good scheme brought in for NI farmers. The Countryside Management Scheme, which now being policed by daft individuals who are requiring things like, the fencing off, of bunches of whins, and delays of payments of up to two years. They are making the scheme unworkable for farmers.
All the best to Farmers Weekly and their readership. Over and out from me.
Farmer Focus: Victor Chestnutt