Unwelcome return of 'farmer bashing'
There is only one thing on the minds of our political and economic commentators at the moment -- growth- or indeed the lack of it, at both a global and national level.
No matter what business you're in, growth is of the utmost importance and no one knows this better than farmers. Will we ever forget the cold harsh weather of the past few years, when grass growth virtually came to a standstill?
What a relief it was to witness the recent sudden rise in temperatures and a return to business as usual as far as grass supply is concerned.
This year, acting on the advice of a friend of mine who helps buy my cattle, I decided to stock a better type of Friesian store. So far it seems to be paying off and, even allowing for the harsh spell in April, my cattle appear to be doing well.
Of course the poor growth in April and early May has slowed down the thrive, but the question is, will the plentiful supply of early grass compensate for the loss of thrive during the "bare" period and what will the effect of the current burst of growth be? We won't know the real answer to questions until we start slaughtering cattle later in the autumn, but that's what keeps this business interesting.
The harsh weather also affected growth in my silage ground and it looks as if it will be early June before I get my first cut complete.
The growth in farm income, as shown in the recently published Teagasc National Farm Survey 2011 Estimates, is long overdue and most welcome.
There is, however, one unwelcome aspect to any rise in farm incomes and that is the inevitable resentment it causes in some circles.