2020 has been a weird if not momentous year and, for once, we cannot blame anything on Brexit!
With coronavirus, which I will not recognise with a capital C, rampaging throughout the country causing devastation to people, families and businesses, it’s currently impossible to best guess any likely end point to the crisis!
Farming has continued unabated! We have turned everything around in a relatively short, dry timescale and thankfully, means spring barley and bean planting has been completed and already these crops are growing well. Incredibly, a drop of rain would go down well, which is a complete reversal from the woes of a few weeks ago when this farm was waterlogged!
Lambing seems a distant memory and was completed by early March. Unfortunately, the sheep had to be kept inside much later than usual due to the wet conditions and poor grass growth at the time.
Throughout the country, many farm businesses rely on their diversification or non farming enterprises for their major income stream, and undoubtedly the covid-19 saga will have a major impact on financial well being and viability.
Our farm is no exception! We have many tenants, some dealing directly with the public, all with supply issues, shortfalls and problems keeping their operations going which will inevitably lead to cash-flow difficulties later. There is a need to stay flexible during this period, make contingency plans and batten down the hatches for a long haul!
For many years, we have been the ‘go to’ people for getting things done within the community. Now we are classified as vulnerable and roles are totally reversed. Not only is this a salutary wake-up call but suddenly makes us realise our ages!
It is very important to be positive and optimistic that things will eventually return to some form of normality!
Technology allows us to Facetime and Zoom our families and catch-up with grandchildren by remote intervention. Marvellous stuff!
Farming-wise, the sheep enterprise will now be on a minimum cost regime for the rest of this season with end-point marketing of lambs yet to be decided.
Hopefully, our revised spring cropping plan will work and provided we get reasonable growing conditions, will produce average financial results – we can wish for nothing greater!
Our workshop tenants are very positive but may need help to get through the crisis especially as things start returning to normal. Opportunities will arise!
But with the sunny weather we’ve all been having, the incredible ‘pink moon’ a few days ago and the swallows returning to the farm, we can only feel encouraged as we look ahead.
Even the old ‘weather lore’ signs are pointing in the right direction for those of us relying on a good growing season – ‘ash before the oak and we will have a soak,’ I hope it’s not too much – we need ‘just right’.
Our little grandchildren will have to miss out on their traditional chocolate egg collection from our magical chickens this year, but have received other surprises as consolation! Grandpa and Grandma will eat them instead!