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These FMD scares scare me, that’s for sure. I feel myself becoming relaxed, complacent even, then I catch a little snippet on the news about another, and, oh no, another suspected case.

I feel that horrid lurch in my stomach (I always listen to the radio in the truck where I hear these things), rush home to check the online news and hardly find it mentioned. Breathe a sigh of relief and feel myself becoming complacent again. There’s so much we need to get done on the farm at the moment it’s easy to forget any threat of FMD and become driven by the need to get on.

Yesterday I was working at Pavla’s shop, Crede, in Exeter. We were extraordinarily busy for a rainy Tuesday in August, which was good. We are also having large deliveries of autumn stock arrive which has to be unpacked, priced and merchandised. Exciting too, as we get to try on all the gorgeous new collections.

A couple of customers recognised me from a magazine I write for and asked questions about the farm and countryside issues. If I can do my bit to bridge the gap between town and country dwellers and encourage a better understanding, then that’s great and one of my ambitions. One of the questions was: why are farmers kicking up such a fuss at the ban on animal movements? The most obvious reasons, such as the lack of trading due to closed markets, weren’t puzzling them as much as not being able to move stock between separated parts of the farm.

 

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sudden realisation I’ve put forage out for them

Let me explain why that’s problem for me and many others. I have two parcels of rented land and at the moment all my cows and calves are on one and all my young stock on the other. We have run out of grass on the part where the cows and calves are and yet I’m unable to move them onto new pastures back at the home farm a mile away, they are stuck there until the restrictions are lifted. Now I’m quite lucky and have surplus forage from last year to feed them but some farmers have run out (maybe from having to feed during the very wet weather, or increased stocking rates due to TB restrictions) which causes huge stress and worry to the farmer and animals, easily turning into a serious welfare issue.

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feeding frenzy!

So, along with every other farmer I am praying that the end of this week sees Defra confirm that the disease has been eradicated and we can get back to normal.

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