John Yeomans

28 September 2001

John Yeomans

John Yeomans farms 89ha

(220 acres) of mixed hill

and upland near Newtown in

mid-Wales. The farm is split

between hill and upland,

with the hill land in two

blocks running up to 426m

(1400ft). It is stocked

with 70 suckler cows,

including some Limousins

and 540 breeding sheep,

mostly Beulahs

WRITING this article without mentioning the terrorist attack in the US is tricky. It brings home the scale of our own problems when you see the suffering of others all over the media.

On a brighter note, I was involved in the difficult job of choosing this years Welsh Sheep Strategy Cymru/New Zealand scholars – a really tough task with some excellent applicants. It was pleasing to see, after all the industry has been through, the enthusiasm and zest for a future in farming these people have.

As I write, the last few days have been taken up with licence applications. We have finally sold Mule ewe lambs and store cattle which should have gone to Bishops Castle back in May.

It is rewarding to sell stock to other producers rather than to be thrown in a hole. If all goes well, this will free autumn grass for ewes coming off the hill for tupping and ease our cash flow.

I think Lord Whitty could do with a spell in our regional Welsh Assembly office in Llandrindod Wells. As a renowned whinger, I must break from my norm and give credit for how the staff there are handling the mountain of calls and enquiries, dealing with people like me going off our heads trying to sell and move stock.

But some bright spark in the upper part of the ivory tower has decided there will be no ram movements in Powys without blood testing, even though it is almost six months since the last confirmed case in our area of Montgomeryshire.

With the Farmers Union of Wales, we have worked out that a possible 20,000 rams would move in Powys at this time in a normal year. With some quarters informing us that premium will be paid on untupped ewes, sheep farmings future is worrying. As blood testing of rams will not begin until early October, ram sellers and buyers will be left in deep trouble.

We have had three-quarters of our winter straw requirements delivered at about £10/t more than last autumn. After the rest of this years events, the next lorry and trailer load could well be the final straw for us. &#42

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