John Walton: Heifers housed in a rush as rain forces a change of direction

I must be getting old because Christmas comes round far too quickly, the ‘Bah humbug’ moments are now more frequent and it seems my days as Santa Claus are over. I now only get asked to step in to the old red suit as a last resort.

Christmas will be over by the time you read this and the chimney will again be clean. I do a better job every year, getting closer to the sides each time.

It’s good to see John Gordon back in the swing of things after his scare, and it is good to hear whisky remains in the diet with the meat. Remember John, ‘all in moderation’ so maybe ease off on the workload.

I must also send my good wishes to Dominic as he ventures to pastures new. All I can say is good luck in the new job.

I am glad to say all cattle are comfortably indoors as wet weather sets in. It is remarkable the difference rain makes.

One day we hear how the population is growing then, the next day, the powers that be decide land needs taking out of production

With the way the ground was, I had decided the heifers would remain outside until after Christmas. Then 48 hours of rain changed the picture and in they came, with a bit of a rush. The sheep, however, continue to eat us out of house and home.

A topic to have caught my eye recently is the proposed CAP reform and how these decisions take so long to deliberate. We wait with bated breath just to be let down by short-sighted incompetence.

One day we hear how the population is growing then, the next day, the powers that be decide land needs taking out of production. I feel most farm businesses realise the importance of agri-environmental

issues and their practices have changed, but to be dictated as to what you grow, and how many different crops, is ludicrous.

On the other hand it was good to see Neil Darwent’s ‘free range milk’ initiative. I have filled in the questionnaire and if you believe in its ethics and practice them, I urge you to do the same. We need to get good messages out.

Would you believe 2012 is the 25th year of our open farm? How time flies. We are busy thinking of ideas for the celebrations.

I wonder whether The Queen fancies a day on the farm to celebrate 60 years on the throne?

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