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Storms, cars and being in demand

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The Young Farmer column, by Joe Rabicano, Friday, February 21, 2020

It’s most certainly been a month of the unexpected one could say, I certainly don’t believe any farming consultant however good could predict a few weeks like we’ve had.

Only a couple of weeks back I was found literally grinning at my phone like an excited school boy, though not due to messages from a pretty girl or any of the other reasons why a 19-year-old may grin at their phone.

Difficult weather for farmers. The Young Farmer column, Picture by: Matthew Walker FM2494764
Difficult weather for farmers. The Young Farmer column, Picture by: Matthew Walker FM2494764

Rather it was a weather forecast promising high winds and sunshine, perfect drying weather which might have just turn my sopping land into something useable.

It seems my land had underlying drainage issues, and sorting these is essential but has produced a hefty cost not previously factored into my business plan, the first big hit of the month.

The drying weather did come of course, closely followed by two horrendous storms making the situation even worse, and as we know devastating farmers in other parts of Britain.

Once again it’s frustrating to not be able to get on locally, but I’m still thanking my lucky stars that no real damage has been done.

On occasion crops can be far more profitable than stock, but as always when it comes to priorities the welfare of living animals must always come first, and thoughts of money do go out of the window.

I have attempted generally to keep discussions of the B word to an absolute minimum in this column, but the happenings of this month really cannot go ignored.

Everyone has been expecting lamb prices to drop dramatically the moment we leave and lamb producers have been going to huge lengths all winter to fatten lambs as quickly as possible.

When we did leave, prices of course shot up, and are now at the highest they’ve been for months, leaving me and many others wondering what other curve balls can be thrown at us this month.

Unfortunately for me it came in the form of my car sadly becoming unusable and me being left without transport. A mad rush ensued, of course, to find a replacement and my car does need to do quite a lot.

A 4x4 is essential, space for tools and dogs, it also had to fit into the tightest of budgets since I’ve been forking out on the drainage of my land for a couple of weeks now. It was an additional expense I really didn’t need, truth be told, but what can you do?

They do say to leave room for disasters and the unexpected in a business plan, but that only works to some extent when you’re young and banks appear worried that any ‘spare’ cash borrowed seemingly with no purpose is going to lead to a mad spending spree and me blowing my farm in Ibiza.

Anyway, with a replacement sorted, and another cheque written we are now mobile again.

Lucky as I had to find time to run out and meet a writer from the Sunday Times where I was honoured to appear a couple of weeks back, a fantastic opportunity to once again promote my business and young farmers in general.

Hopefully next month this will be less of a moan, with a few more positive stories to tell.

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