Gordon and Mary Capstick

21 December 2001

Gordon and Mary Capstick

Gordon and Mary Capstick

farm 230ha (569 acres), at

Milnthorpe in south Cumbria.

Stocking is 100 suckler

cows, with calves finished

alongside 100 purchased

stores, and 1200 Mule ewes

producing prime lambs.

About 10ha (25 acres) of

barley and 6ha (14 acres) of

soft fruit are also grown.

MY hope is that it is going to be Happy New Year. Let us think of nothing else and leave 2001 as a bad dream.

F&M got to within 10 miles on three sides of our farm and looking at stock became a daily ritual – every lame sheep got a second look. Now life has become a little more tolerable.

Obviously, bulls and tups did not have F&M on their minds earlier this year. Last week we had spring-calving cows and sheep scanned and every cow is in calf and only four sheep are empty. The first batch of early lambers scanned a lighter crop than usual at 177%.

We have entered some cattle as stores in to the digital livestock auction at Kendal. This is a whole new ball game. They have been photographed, so we will have to wait and see how it goes.

Is this the way forward? It seems to be one way of getting round the 20-day standstill, but it doesnt give you the same buzz as standing in the ring showing cattle with buyers all around you.

Lambs seem to have hit the £2/kg barrier. But I am hopeful they will go higher. Thank goodness we have seen a re-start of exports, which has brought more players on to the field. No matter what some critics say, we need exports to create more competition and give us a better return.

We have taken a deep breath and undone the purse strings a little, or was it a farm Christmas present? We have bought a new slurry tanker. The lads – Paul and David – have been scouring the papers for a second-hand one and went to see some. But they were either too old or badly abused, so we opted for new.

As this is my last Farmer Focus article for this year, I would like to thank all those readers who have contacted me in what has been a difficult time for us all. I have tried to approach serious matters with just a little bit of humour. Merry Christmas and a happier New Year from all at Park House.

Life is more tolerable for Gordon Capstick now F&M has receded and only four sheep have been scanned empty this winter.

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