It seems as if the worst that the Scottish winter can throw at us, might be behind us; and with the lengthening days, farmers are keen to start their spring crop work. Sodden ground is still an issue in many areas, making ploughing conditions difficult with only the lightest of soil being accessible at this stage.
Over the winter months, when the weather has been either too wet or too cold to work outside in the evenings, there have been some very well made television programmes and events to keep us all informed and entertained.
- The Mart, featuring Aberdeen & Northern Mart in Thainstone, Inverurie has been a great success in showcasing all that goes on before and during the livestock sales. It also makes the valid point that the farmer can only sell their livestock once and the money made, is the equivalent to their annual salary!
- Another, more gritty programme was “Addicted to Sheep”. This showcased a year in the life of a North of England hill sheep farmer and again has been very well received as being a true portrayal of the highs and lows within the farming calendar.
- There have been the usual round of Seminars, AGM’s, Workshops, Agricultural Shows and Conferences; all designed to showcase particular products, processes and new innovations. Many of these give the farmer the opportunity to consider what else is out there and how they may be able to improve productivity and efficiency and reduce overheads – whether that be on the quality of their fodder crops, ewe conditioning or arable contracts.
But back to the matter in hand. Calving and lambing will be starting on many farms in the next few weeks, if not already. The livestock do not care what the ground conditions are like or if it is raining, snowing or bright sunshine. Along with this comes extra hours of livestock monitoring and animal husbandry. There will shortly be a lot more tired farmers trying to do their best under what can be very trying conditions. Then the sun shines and the young stock are all healthy. The lambs are gambolling in the fields and all is right with the world – at least for that moment!