John Geldard

19 December 1997

John Geldard

John Geldard farms 175ha

(430-acres) near Kendal on

the southern edge of the

Lake District. Stock

comprises 50 suckler cows,

with progeny finished

alongside 300-400 bought-in

stores, 1000 ewes plus 250

ewe lamb replacements, of

which 160 are pedigree

Charollais, and a 25,000

bird poultry enterprise.

WITH all cattle inside they appear to have settled to the winter environment. It would seem that the pneumonia vaccine has been successful as the cattle seem to have got off to a good start.

Lambing got off to a hectic start with the first batch of Charollais ewes almost completed although they scanned lighter than last year – 178% – there have been few problems, with lambs being generally good.

Last month I wrote of sticky markets. Well if last month was sticky, this month must be disastrous. The mood of farmers in the market is at an all time low. I have been to a number of meetings recently where there is nothing but doom and gloom.

The basic problem is the strong £ and that being the case the problem is not going to be resolved overnight. If we had a government that would support us in the same way as other European countries it would at least help the situation.

However I do firmly believe that there are two things that are very important at the moment. That is to support the NFU and secondly support our live auction mart system. We must not be driven down producer club lines by some of the supermarkets, which I believe would undermine our marketing ability, but at the same time a strong and united Farm Assurance Scheme will be very important to our industry.

We should not be critical of the multiples who have been extremely successful at purchasing their commodities. It is in our interest to be more successful at marketing.n

A government which would support agriculture in the same way as other European countries would help the current depressed situation says John Geldard.

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