Roger Evans: "It's a merry-go-round where one sector supports the other"

Roger Evans discusses the price of ewes, reminisces  about some of the mobile phone technology he used to have, and talks about the perils of coming into contact with a hornet

clock • 4 min read
Roger Evans: "It's a merry-go-round where one sector supports the other"

I know that the price of ewes is nothing to do with dairy farming but to me it has always been a barometer of where farming is.

The folk who buy ewes at the big sales in the autumn may have to sell some beef cattle to free up some money in order to buy those ewes. The people who buy those cattle have to take into considerations the price of cereals that winter, do they feed them to the cattle or sell them.

 It's a sort of merry-go-round where one sector supports the other.

Lamb imports

There seemed to be a good demand at the early sales which in itself defies all logic as the sheep industry seems to have the threat of cheaper lamb imports from the southern hemisphere hanging over it.

I sometimes think that the ewe trade is driven by the good demand for cull sheep. I often think that the cull ewe trade is the only one that the supermarkets haven't got involved in. That in itself is a story. Somewhere in this cycle is the value of the beef calves we produce.

I had an amusing message from a reader who like me struggles with modern technology. Just like me he enlists the help of his grandchildren to help him. And just like me, they fix a snag so quickly that he can't learn how to fix it himself for the next time it happens.

Blackberries

I was for many years on the board of one of the dairy co-ops. They used to loan us devices called Blackberries but mine was always going wrong.

We had an IT department so I used to take it to them. They were always intrigued that when they took my Blackberry apart, there was always a piece of straw in there.

They usually fixed it by taking the battery out and putting it back in again. Taking the battery out never worked for me.

If I had time I used to go an hour early to fetch the cows for afternoon milking and I used to take a long handled brushing hook with me. The idea was that I would cut off the weeds that the tractor and topper couldn't reach, along the boundaries for example.

We have a small stream that wanders down the one boundary and on the one afternoon I can remember I was cutting thistles that grew on the banks. They were very fine thistles and I was trying not to think if this was the same thistle that I had cut the previous year, and all the previous years as well.

My cutting didn't last long because in no time at all I was surrounded by cows. My cows were very nosey, wonder where they got that from, and they'd come to see what I was doing. It wasn't safe to continue using the hook.

Hornet

I'd never bought my cows one of those brushes that would scratch them. I always thought that they had plenty of trees to rub against. On this occasion they were rubbing against me, perhaps I look like one of those brushes. Then a hornet appeared and all the cows put their tails up and bolted.

The hornet had given me some space but other than that I didn't think if it.

A few days ago, as I went to bed, I switched the bedroom light on and there was a hornet there. I tried to swat it but it was too quick for me. I got into bed, I switched the main light off and put my bedside light on. By that time I had decided that my best defence was darkness.

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The hornet left the main light and landed on my bedside table. By this time it was only a couple of feet away. It seemed to be saying: ‘you can switch the light off but eventually it will get light and I will have you then'.

I switched the bedside light off but I could still hear the hornet whirring its indignation, at one time it landed on my pillow which was quite scary.

I must confess that I didn't sleep much but I must have dozed off and when I awoke it was light outside. There was no sign of the hornet so I got dressed. But the hornet was hiding among my clothes and it stung my foot. Not recommended.

I don't know much about hornets, do they die if they sting someone? Hope so.

Do you remember the warble fly that used to affect our cattle. The eradication of the warble fly was a triumph for common sense. It probably wouldn't be allowed today, it might effect some fine ecological balance.

There would be pressure groups dedicated to saving the warble fly and it would be a part of their rewilding programme.

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