Despite the atrocious weather, we’ve kept two cows out on our drier patches of land.

One cow is almost reaching the milestone of her 15th year here and, because of this, she gets a bit of special treatment.

Due to her age, she’s getting stiff, hence leaving her out with a previous daughter of hers.

We always say on this farm that we’re not supposed to have favourites, but everyone is guilty of giving old ‘Maxy’ an extra ration of nuts or silage when we think nobody else is looking.

These two will also follow the quad halfway around the county if they’re allowed, so they are very easy to move around to different sheltered spots when needed.

One evening as I went out to feed them, I noticed our quad wasn’t switching gears as swiftly as usual and the screen display had disappeared.

Turning it off and back on again

The first thought which came to mind was the usual solve-all for anything electronic. “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”

Unfortunately, this only succeeded in completely killing the quad and I found myself stranded in the middle of nowhere with only two cows for company, who merely seemed puzzled as to why I hadn’t already left them to enjoy their feed.

One quick phone call and a scolding from dad later, I was limping home on the quad in first gear, with a torch to light my way.

Driving ahead of me in the car was my father with the hazards on, as if to proclaim to every oncoming car that there was a big eejit behind him who couldn’t work a quad.

Thankfully, it was an easy fix and after a few days away, it returned better than ever.

Before we had a quad, we wouldn’t have missed it or even thought one a necessity, but when you become acquainted with something that makes daily jobs easier, it’s hard to go back to the old way of doing things, especially when it’s pouring with rain.

With the year-long extension for both GLAS and the BDGP schemes rolled out, we signed up again to both.

Making plans

While it would have been nice to review a few of our options in GLAS or at least change our wild bird cover to a different field, it’s quite pleasant making plans for the coming year at this early stage.

Nothing new needs to be done, but there’s always maintenance work to be carried out and, as always, we must ensure to abide by the rules.

One eye also has to be kept on our nitrogen output, as we chose to partake in the BEAM scheme earlier in the year.

With so many different acronyms being bandied about, it’s sometimes hard to keep tabs on just what has to be done for each and which deadlines go along with them.

Cross compliance inspection

We got notice of a cross compliance inspection during the month and while I’ve yet to hear of anybody who looks forward to these visits, thankfully we were assigned a very pleasant gentleman who was quite happy with everything he observed.

Bar a few missing tags, which were already here, just not in the cow’s ears, we passed with flying colours.