I remember having a conversation with a rep from a mineral company a few years back. For some reason, one of the farmers that I was dealing with was feeding a ration containing a lamb finishing mineral to in-lamb ewes, instead of feeding a ration formulated for ewes and containing the mineral properly formulated for the job.

Don’t ask me the reason but I’m sure it was a good one. The question I asked was would it be OK to do this or could it potentially cause issues in the ewes?

The answer I got was “it’ll be OK until it’s not OK."

I never forgot that answer as it can apply to any situation. No one ever knows what going to happen next and even with the best of planning and preparation things can always go wrong.


That being said, I’m still left wondering how the EU managed to leave us all so heavily dependent on Russia for so many of our inputs and the phrase “it’ll be OK until it’s not OK” springs to mind.

Now, before I start to complain I suppose I’d better say that no matter how much inconvenience and financial pain we experience in this country because of the Ukrainian and Russian conflict, it is nothing compared to the pain the Ukrainian people are experiencing and our thoughts and prayers are with them all.

I suppose the argument could be made that Russia is where the natural resources are, that’s where the gas is, that’s where the fertiliser mines are and so on, and it is hard to argue with that.

Dirty work

But was there a certain amount of “let them do the dirty work and we’ll pay them for doing it"?

Saves us getting our hands dirty and from an environmental point of view, it keeps us from being the polluters.

Maybe I’m just being sceptical, now that we’re all in the situation were diesel is almost €2/litre, fertiliser is anywhere between €700/t and €1,000/t and wheat, maize and barley, well don’t even go there.

Well, we are where we are now and there’s not a huge amount can be done about it in the short term, but surely going forward, a land mass the size of the European Union needs to get into a situation where it is at least close to being self-sufficient.

I have no idea how possible or impossible that is, but surely its where we need to be. Of course, trade outside the EU should be welcomed, but plan B also needs to be in place because as I’ve already said, “It’s OK until it’s not OK."