Could lamb fill rice bowls?


Another year nearly over. They appear to get quicker as you get older and it is a good time to reflect on the highs and lows of the farming year.

The positives were the biggest crop of lambs that we have had from our Romney flock; the bumper yields from our wheat crop that all made the grade for milling; and the cattle staying free from TB even with the extra badgers that have taken up residence on our land.

The holiday homes were busier and the solar panels far exceeded their forecasted yield. On most normal years this would have been the holy grail of a lifetime spent farming.

Or beef!
Or beef!

Unfortunately not this year, as the negatives were that the rest of the world had bumper crops; the pound is far too strong and, even with all the extra mouths to feed around the planet, food is in abundance and far too cheap.

It appears that every tonne of wheat or livestock that is leaving our farm is going for less than the cost of producing it.

We realise that we could be in for a bumpy few years, but are also optimistic and realise that situations change rapidly. A weather or crop disaster anywhere around the globe would increase prices.

The Chinese may suddenly decide Romney lamb is the “best thing since sliced bread”, or in their case a “bowl of rice”; the Russians may stop starving their citizens and cease their trade embargo on European food ; and, all of a sudden, prices will rise to an acceptable level, or above.

In fact Rodney, this time next year we could be millionaires . . . !

Finally, I wish the Rye News readers a Merry Christmas. Once you have drained your taste buds from eating leftover turkey over the entire festive period, then a delicious meal of Romney lamb or Sussex beef is just the start you need to welcome in the New Year!

*Simon Wright is a livestock farmer at East Guldeford where he and his wife Anne also run holiday cottages. Visit their website here.

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