Practices of past still have merit
There have been huge changes in farming practices during the past 50 years. Gone are the scythe, the hay knife, the horse, the reaper and binder, the ricks of hay and straw, the milk churn, and the hairy outlying Hereford cross store bullocks along with the fairs where they were bought and sold.
Farms are now larger and many are run as a part-time enterprise. Farm housing is greatly improved and you rarely hear anyone complain of chilblains now that most homes have good insulation and heating.
Perhaps the biggest change has been the disappearance of people from the land. The farm labourer departed once better wages in industry both here and abroad proved too great an attraction.
Mixed farming has virtually disappeared and stringent regulations governing the production of food have eliminated the farm housewife's sources of pin money which were primarily the sale of eggs and butter.
Current health and safety requirements have placed huge obstacles in the way of anyone attempting to sell home produce locally and it is no longer viable to keep even a sow or rear small numbers of chickens and turkeys.
It is, of course, easy to sigh nostalgically over the loss of so many traditional farm practices and yearn for more relaxed ways and a slower pace of life, but our living standards have improved beyond the wildest dreams of the rural population of 50 years past.
Gone is the drudgery and the hard, physical labour that was part of everyday farm life. The arrival of tractors with three-point linkage, PTO shafts and front loaders was perhaps the biggest bonus along with rural electrification, refrigerators, washing machines and mechanised milking parlours.