Tell me how many cattle or sheep you have and I’ll tell you if you are a full-time farmer or not. One of my favourite parts of the Irish Farmers Journal, after the ‘Farmer Writes’ page obviously, is the ‘My Farming Week’ feature. It offers a personal insight into the operation of different farmers, the human side of real farming life that is often lacking in the more technical articles.

Among the details given will be the number of cows or ewes on the farm. You can immediately tell if they are a full-time farmer. While 50 milking cows might just about keep someone full-time, the same number of suckler cows usually implies an off-farm job. It is the same with sheep, where you can expect details about the farmer’s other job if there are less than 200 ewes.