Our case study this week is in many ways an average farmer. Tommy O’Brien has an average size holding at 32ha in 2002 when we meet him. He has an average-size suckler herd – 14 cows, and an average size sheep flock with 100 ewes.

Twenty-two hectares of Tommy’s land is lowland and mostly decent ground. The other 10ha is a one-thirtieth share in a commonage of 300ha, where his mountain ewe flock spend their summers.