March 2024


Spring is in on the way, if only it would stop raining.

March brings us more rain to an already very wet farm. At least it is not April, we still have a couple of weeks to dry out before the cows go out to grass, of which there is a lot, just too wet to get out there in the field.

This now brings us to the British Cheese Awards, being staged down at the Bath and West Show-ground, in Somerset, March 22nd. Has the weather improved, NO, on the way down there on the Saturday morning we have to endure sleet, hail, rain and freezing wind. After a bumpy ride, post covid, and no awards in 2023, we are back up and running again.
A good set of results for us;
Lyburn Gold, Silver.
Winchester, Silver.
Old Winchester, Silver.
Stoney Cross, Silver.
Garlic and Nettle, Bronze.
Lightly Oak Smoked, Bronze.
Old Winchester (Export), Gold.

SFI stands for Sustainable Farm Income. It is the replacement for the old Single Farm Payment, that is being phased out over the next couple of years. When interviewed some two years ago about how it should be run, my parting comment was ‘Just keep it very simple to start with, and then build on it’. The final result is a hand book that runs to 160 pages, that clash with the 220 pages of the Countryside Stewardship hand book and inevitably overlap. I have spent a considerable amount of my valuable time trying to plough through this lot as we have been told it is easy for farmers to make their own application! The jury is still out. There will be more to come on this subject, the only consolation, is that we don’t live in Wales, and are not being told that we have to plant 10% of our farm up with trees, so that Ryanair can buy even more planes, and Gatwick can lay even more runways.