Happy New Year to everyone and let’s hope for an improvement and some normality at some point this year.
Hopefully, with the Brexit deal finally done, some of the division and scaremongering – in society and in agriculture especially – can be repaired.
Time will tell if it is a good deal, but so far none of the threats of lamb trade crashing and the likes have come to fruition.
There has been talk around subsidies and environmental schemes and, although we have to be proactive with our businesses and thinking, we should also be measured because at the moment no one knows what the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme or the like will entail.
See also: Opinion: Getting it right with ELM crucial to farming survival
There will be winners and losers (hopefully there will be more winners), but it will be interesting to see what tack businesses take regarding pushing production or pushing towards environmental payments.
Personally, I see nothing wrong with either as long as it is done sensibly and without destroying either the environment or local heritage.
Since I last wrote we have lifted the tups from the ewes and turned the ewes back to the fell until scanning.
The ewes were in great condition and, although it was wet for the whole of December, we have had a nice cold and dry start to January without the snow seen elsewhere.
That means the ewes have not needed any high-energy tubs on the fell so far and I would now expect, unless some freak weather hits, they will not need anything until after scanning on 5 February.
Grass is holding up well for the replacement hoggs we have running on the dairy ground. At some point we need to pull out sheep for keeping, sheep to sell as stores and maybe sheep to run around to sell in the breeding sales.
Cow are performing better than expected on second-cut silage. Milk yield and solids, along with fertility, have increased since moving off first-cut.
Pregnancy rate for the past four months has sat at 28%, as opposed to 19% a year ago when we had a nutritional imbalance.
Patrick Morris-Eyton is a Farmer Focus writer from Cumbria. Read his biography.