In farming, if you don’t see the glass as half full, you have to believe that it’ll be topped up the following day and everything will be rosy again.

It’s certainly not an occupation for anyone with a pessimistic attitude as you’d not last long on the rollercoaster which is a farming year.

Last year was a perfect example of this. While the cattle trade was excellent, input costs were rising, certain farm payments were delayed, and the weather was haphazard to say the least.

I don’t think there was a single farmer across all the sectors who wasn’t thinking that surely it would stop raining the following month.

Yet it didn’t, and we meet a new year with more wet weather, though at least this time it’s the correct season for it to be a washout.

Calving is almost upon us too, with the first couple coming close to their due date. There’s a couple of interesting new crosses I’m trying out this year, and the first is already overdue; a Salers in-calf to a red gene Belgian Blue, though as the lady in question is already quite a few days over, she’s probably carrying a lovely red bull instead of the heifer I was dreaming about.

We were lucky in that we got the majority of our fodder made early, though many did not get the same opportunity and with poorer quality feed over winter, I’m sure the full repercussions of a wet summer (and autumn) are still to be felt.

Our cattle still didn’t come away scot-free as we have a carryover of 2022 bales to be fed, along with the fresher stuff.

Despite us always adding an extra covering of wrap, this has turned into a lucky dip as one bale might be excellent quality, and the following could be sprinkled throughout with mould. Luckily for the cows, with these older bales they get an extra feed of hay each day to keep them satisfied.

For the last couple of years we had been stacking our used bale wrap in containers made up of used pallets.

However, this was rather unsightly and meant they were very messy to deal with when they had to be loaded up for delivery to the mart where it was weighed and collected.

Sometimes the simplest solutions can often be in front of our noses the whole time. An idea formed in my head when I read an advert for a bale wrap holder which recycled a used bale wrap into a ‘bag’ of sorts to store more black plastic.

Now while the actual product looked very smart, as a small suckler farm we can’t justify that sort of expense at the drop of a hat.

In true farmer style, we placed one in an unused corner of the feeding area and now can fire the folded plastic into it as we go along. It did take a couple of tries to learn how to slide the full wrap off with the front loader but after a bit of cursing and retrials, it’s now second nature to take off the bale’s ‘hat’.

We also had plenty of time to ourselves for practising as after nearly four years of avoiding it, COVID-19 finally struck our house over the holidays.

While none of us got too ill, it certainly made for a unique Christmas as we didn’t eat our turkey until 27 December, though we cracked open the pudding on Christmas Day. Without doubt, it was definitely my first time eating dessert two days before dinner.

Thankfully I’m now of an age where a night on the dance floor is about as appealing as a cow needing a caesarean so I was happy sitting in with a roaring fire and a good book.