Dominic Naylor: Farm tours bring useful exchange of views followed by welcome fall in futures

I’ve conducted several farm tours this month, which are always enjoyable. While it makes for a long day, the exchange of views is useful and entertaining.

The secret to their success is to follow the polite society rule and never talk about sex, politics and religion. I’ve added wheat prices to this list now as, depending on whether you’re horn or corn, debate becomes a little lively.

I was delighted this morning to hear wheat futures had dropped by £10/tonne. If this continues, I’ll book my feed for the coming year. With an annual spend of £500,000 on feed alone, any price fall is welcome.

I don’t get to many shows, but always look forward to North Sheep. It was a good day and the farm was a credit to the host. There were some excellent stands and I tackled Intervet about last year’s lack of abortion vaccine.

My intentions to be confrontational were dispelled, however, by the offer of a free pair of red and yellow socks with ‘Footvax’ written on them. Judging by their high nylon content, I wondered whether I’d need the footrot vaccine having worn them, but early indications are pleasing.

I was disappointed there was no dog trial at the event and equally that handling forms no part of the young shepherd competition.

Great emphasis is placed on shearing, which, for most of us, is for but one week, whereas we work our dogs every day of the year. As the old saying goes: “There is no good flock without a good shepherd, and no good shepherd without a good dog.”

Our pig enterprise has received an award from Compassion in World Farming. It is a credit to the principal, governors and pig staff, who have worked hard to make the unit a success.

The cows are milking well, with an average of 29 litres per day. We’re buffer feeding the herd with lucerne bales. Despite the drought, the crop is ready for a second cut, thanks to its good root structure.

I was disappointed to hear the Welsh Assembly’s decision to delay the badger cull. Decisions such as this should be taken away from politicians.

Students graduate this week. I wish them all the best for the future. Celebrity sports presenter Gabby Logan is coming to give a motivational speech, and she certainly motivates me. I think I’ve just broken my first polite society rule.

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