Monday, 11 April 2016
Slow Spring, Livestock Markets give Vital Social Contact
This lovely picture of some of our ewes & lambs was taken by the Lady Artist who is staying in the cottage. Although we are almost halfway through April it is proving to be very slow spring, probably because it is still very cold. We had flurries of snow, sleet & hail a couple of days last week and very strong winds last night. Despite the cold the daffodils are amazing this yeear. We had noted last year that they did not put on they usual flamboyant display and clearly they were having a rest and are making up for it this year.
During the Easter holiday we took our small grand-daughter to the livestock mart in Carmarthen. She had never been before and she was fascinated to see so many calves in one place and to hear the auctioneer rattle at top-speed his selling patter. After seeing the calves we went and had lunch in the mart cafe...always a good meal, fresh, well-cooked food for hungry farmers. We then went to see the dairy cows going through the ring. It wwas quite shock to see how low prices are, clearly reflecting the current difficulties with the milk price. The calf trade, however was very good.
We realised that having been under movement restrictions due to TB and therefore unable to sell any of our stock in the marts we had not been for over a year and this is an aspect of the TB crisis that is not ever mentioned. For many farmers the weekly visit to the mart is a chance to meet up with friends and catch-up with local goings-on and with so many farms being under restriction this important social contact is lost. Farmers live isolated lives as it is and without the regular meeting up at the mart they can become even more isolated and lonely.