We’re trying to get the overdraft down again

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Time to start getting some money in. Big artics are rolling into the yard as John is selling corn again. Plays havoc with my windows all this corn dust when the wheat is tipped into the back of the lorries.

Not that I am excessively house proud; I like the cluttered domestic look, or rather I cannot seem to achieve anything else. But I did spread the Windolene a bit last week and for why? It is almost as though John has decided to move corn out of sheer badness, rather than trying to get the overdraft down again.

The other significant piece of housekeeping that has occurred on the farm has been cleaning out all the yards. The weather has been milder of late and the build up of muck in the main yards where the herd is, contributes to raising internal temperatures to a point where diseases such as pneumonia could be a problem. You do not want it warm and muggy inside when there is young stock about.

The new cattle handling system has come into its own. John has found it much simpler now to contain young stock, bullocks, and the herd and followers into different areas of the yards so he can get in with the tractor and muck out. There was a bit of chasing around as the new bull sensed there was an opportunity to get near to that tempting gang of ladies, but 5ft of cattle pen soon stopped that. So he is back again to peering through his peep hole at the cows, and at a considerably lower level than previously. A true voyeur.

The next farm gang to step into the limelight will be the sheep. In less than three weeks the flock should start lambing.

However........what is this Schmallenberg virus? It was first spotted in the town of the same name in Germany, then spread across the border into Holland and whoops, jumped the Channel via a winged formation of midges. There is not a vaccine yet and it is spreading with alarming rapidity across the South of England and even into Wales. The significant worry for us as sheep and cattle farmers is the death or deformity it can cause to new born lambs and calves. Most of our calves are now born but, lambs are real harbingers of Spring and it must be heartbreaking if they are born unable to walk, or bounce about, because of fused limbs.

For the past year or two lamb prices have been on the up. Although if you take the long view it is more like catching up. Thirty years ago a lamb brought in £40, so the £80/90 cost now is more of a catch up than a price hike. I know John would prefer to not profit at all as long as we have a healthy crop of lambs.

Hopefully, as our tups did not go to the ewes until November, there will not have been a midge threat then. But who knows.

Mrs Downs