In this week’s Farmer’s Diary, sheep farmer, Clodagh Hughes, discusses rising costs at farm level, partaking in FarmerTime for a second consecutive year and a project involving raw wool from her sheep farm.
With breeding season well underway here, I have been focussing a bit more on the upcoming winter farm management planning side of things.
One thing I did not get sorted out earlier in the year was bedding.
I would normally have it in the shed by now, but what with making my own hay and being a bit short on shed space and finances, I have had to leave the procurement of straw a bit later this year.
Luckily, I have a farmer I buy from locally, so I will not be stuck. I may pay a bit more for it than collecting it out of the field, but, unfortunately, that is the way it goes. The expression, “robbing Peter to pay Paul,” springs to mind.
Rising farm costs
And that has been the way my farming year has gone so far. Like everybody on this island, I have been impacted by the significant escalations in the cost of living.
Nothing has escaped the price hikes. From; animal feed to bedding, veterinary services and medicines to all manner of hidden costs you do not even realise, such as; the pinch in your pocket at the diesel pumps.
Another thing that caught me out this year was, due to the fact that I have larger numbers on-farm, my day-to-day running costs have increased.
Naturally, I had allowed for these increases but, I could not have foreseen the extreme surge in costs across the board.
For example, a bag of animal feed 12 months ago cost me approximately €8. Now, that same bag of meal will cost me over €3-€5 more now.
What shocked me was how quickly and by how much everything increased! But, we must muddle on.
Animals have to be cared for, bills have to be paid, and without losing my own fleece, I will continue on.
Do you remember I took part in a nationwide initiative run by The Airfield Estate called Farmertime last year?
Well, I am delighted to announce that they are running it for a second year, and I had my first Zoom call with my new classmates this morning.
The school is called St. Joseph’s National School, Ballybrown, Clarina, Co. Limerick.
They are a fourth-class group, and along with their teacher, Mr. Seamus Barry, they were so welcoming and patient when I could not get my volume to work. I know it is going to be a fun season ahead.
Something else interesting happened recently. A lovely lady called Anne contacted me via the powers of social media, asking to purchase some raw wool from me to use in a project she is creating at The National College of Art and Design in Dublin. So, I was only too happy to oblige.
Moreover, I have mentioned in previous articles how there are efforts being made around the country to return Irish wool to some of its former glory, but there is a lot still to do.
I cannot wait to see what this creative lady does with my wool. I love how farming connects you with people from all walks of life.
See more of my weekly Farmer’s Diary entries on That’s Farming.