Local Farmers Count the Cost of Harsh Winter
“But it is not just farmers who are suffering, it is the same for any business; these are not the easiest of times.
“We are praying for an early spring so we can get the livestock turned out.
“On a more positive note, although cattle prices could improve, sheep prices are quite reasonable.”
Tony Garside, whose family has farmed the 100 acres at Westwood Farm, Bolster Moor, since 1874, agrees that the freezing weather has caused headaches on the farm.
“This winter has been exceptional. I can’t remember having such heavy and prolonged snow in November before,’’ he said.
“We have had more problems with frozen water supplies this time. We have had to find a well or defrost a tap. Water is one thing the stock can’t live without and it’s not until you get problems that you realise just how much they drink.”
In a normal winter cattle may stay out in the fields until December, but this year Tony had to fetch his stock inside at the end of October, six weeks early.
“The winter feed situation has been compounded by a very dry spring, with growth rates being way down on normal. We used fertiliser to get some late summer grass growth, but this increased our costs.
“Some farmers are now getting desperate for haylage and sileage.”
Tony did add, however, that there may be some initial signs that an early spring it on its way.
Other local farmers will be hoping he’s right and their prayers have been answered.