When it comes to farming fashion I find practicality wins. Jeans are the go-to trouser choice accompanied by a t-shirt, hoodie and a jacket.

Topped off with a beanie hat, that would be my main farming apparel as winter eases into spring from late February through to early April as daylight lengthens and conditions warm up.

It was also my choice through necessity last Wednesday morning as a north wind blew across the farm ahead of baling. There were days in December when the jacket wasn’t needed but the same can’t be said of the first week of July.

The bit of rain along with strip grazing has eased grass concerns for now on the home ground but there’s no question that having to hold stock longer there in spring had an impact.

It’s proving to be another year where you have to resort to the bag of grazing tricks. There’s real action in all groups of stock at home and they’re grazing heavier covers rather than resorting to feeding silage at grass.

Most of the silage ground is away from the yard so that still means grass can be conserved without putting pressure on grazing allowing silage stocks to be built up ahead of the winter. Regardless of what that great uncontrollable that is the weather does, the show must go on.

Speaking of uncontrollables, the reaction is to the possibility of the Dutch joining the Belgians and French in purchasing cattle only from countries that have IBR status is going to be interesting.

There’s every chance that only for the emergence of the Bluetongue virus in the Netherlands this year that this restriction could have come in sooner.

The move by the country that has consistently purchased the largest number of Irish calves, to exclude countries that don’t have IBR free status could force our hand in that regard.

Given the kickback to the inclusion of a small-scale IBR test in the suckler welfare scheme in 2023 it will be a hard sell. When it comes to eradication schemes, there’s a wariness among farmers and I think that was what drove the resistance to the IBR measure last year. Once bitten, twice shy, third time a fool was probably the main feeling and it’s easy to see how that kickback came about.

The three-year BVD programme that began in 2013 (or 2012 for those who wanted to start early) rolls on. Casting a bigger shadow still is the TB eradication scheme.

In Mary E Daly’s book, “The First Department. A history of the Department of Agriculture” it states that in November 1952 Cabinet approval was given to begin a pilot TB eradication scheme initially in Co Clare but American ERP (European Recovery Program) funding wasn’t cleared until 1955.

In autumn 1953, a separate pilot for Co Limerick was announced but a change of Government saw incoming minister James Dillon make some changes.

Apparently following representations from the Irish Veterinary Medical Association, Limerick was removed as “the incidence of TB in the county was so high that it was feared farmers would be discouraged from participating.” Counties such as Donegal or Sligo where incidences were lower were suggested instead. As a result it was to include Clare, Sligo and the Bansha area in Co Tipperary which incorporated some of east Limerick.

A voluntary nationwide programme of TB testing began in 1954 and the rest as they say is history.