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Farmer John’s November ’15 blog

Farmer John’s November ’15 blog

27 Nov 2015

Each year the South Berks Agricultural Association swaps judges with another association for their summer classes.  Summer had turned to autumn and nobody had toured South Bucks to inspect their best stock farms. They were desperate.  With 6 farms to look at and a land agent with standard BMW 4×4 the job looked quite straight forward. Our first farm was one of UK’s top Limousin herds. Everything was top, the Porsche, the electric gates, the lawns and flower beds, brick buildings and magnificent stock.  The young man in charge had just seen his dad off to Australia and clearly knew where he was going.

Next was a 200 cow beef herd.  HS2 was about to ‘steam through’ his valley, cutting the farm in half, and propelling his rural solitude into the 21st century.

His 22 year old son was only down the road.  A graduate from Harper Adams he was now managing 2000 acres.  This was all organic and the South Devon cows and calves looked a picture.

After a high speed chase down the M40 we arrived at a 210 cow Jersey herd.  Assembled in the milking yard it was difficult to inspect all of them, but proof that we had tried was obvious to our next stop the pub.  There they quietly took our money and pointed us to the otherwise empty beer garden.

Renewed and refreshed, we glanced at a top Guernsey herd producing award winning cream and run by a 28 year old who was the 8th generation on the site.

Last of all was a farmer who had built his business and was now farming a large acreage with fattening cattle, suckler cows and sheep.  I encouraged a quick look round. It was late. He was determined to show us every detail. “You must see the rams, the yearling heifers on National Trust land, and the turnips. And we mustn’t forget the huge crop of fodder beet, and by the way here is our campsite.”

Could they all be first?  Not if I used the Corbyn Factor! Which farm would most impress a vegan shadow Minister of Agriculture?