Despite the doom and gloom of our current health problems there is some positive news across our farming sectors.
Signs of confidence
Craven Cattle Marts opening store lamb sale at Skipton last week is a real barometer for the season to come. A record entry,1,200 higher than last year, saw 4,302 successfully sold at an average of £73.54 a whopping uplift of £8.95/head on 2019. Auctioneers reported a high level of confidence among both vendors and buyers despite continuing Corvid-19 restrictions.
Similarly, at Holsworthy Market in Devon, confidence around the cattle rings shows no sign of abating. 320 store cattle sold to £1,567/hd, a record price for the new market which opened in 2016; in the calf ring 237 head changed hands to £490/hd. Auctioneer James Morrish FLAA describes Wednesday as another “red hot day” and in his market video stresses the rewards of presenting a stronger well-fed calf, which has been the focus of our FOLK2FOLK Champion Calf sponsorship over the past two years.
The national lockdown caused some problems in the milk supply chain as commuters who would normally pick up a latte on the way into work stayed at home.
Judging from the dairy cattle sales over the last few weeks, confidence is returning. Last week, Kingshay released their Dairy Costings Report. Figures from their 1,200 recorded dairy farms show the margin over purchased feed for conventional dairy farms has increased by 24.1% over the last decade to £1,704/cow. The report also shows that up to March there was a relatively stable milk price with an overall average fluctuation of 1.67p/litre.
In recent years, FOLK2FOLK’s Dairy Seminars have brought together experts to look at how we reduce the gap between the milk price received by our top and bottom producers. The Kinshay report suggests a current gap of 9.1p/litre, a marked improvement on 13.9p/litre in 2016, but still too high.
A common saying is ‘an early harvest is a poor harvest’!
However, the first wheats have been cut in the South, two weeks earlier than normal and results are very promising. A good friend in Berkshire records his first field coming off at 10 tonne/ hectare at 12.5% moisture-good enough for any year!
Rewards from diversifying
And finally, some more excellent news from Yorkshire. Farmers who have diversified into the hospitality and accommodation sector have had a bruising time. We were delighted to hear yesterday that FOLK2FOLK clients Roddy and Jane Hamilton have been successful in reaching the finals of the SME National Business Awards 2020 in the Best New Business Category with their luxury glamping site ‘The Private Hill’ www.theprivatehill.co.uk Congratulations Roddy and Jane from all of us at FOLK2FOLK.
By Ian Bell, Head of Farming & Rural Engagement
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