We are preparing ourselves emotionally for a difficult few days ahead as the cows are going through the market on Tuesday in Oban. They are being transported tomorrow to Oban in a big lorry and drag trailer. I am dreading it. I know Farmer is dreading it too. I won't write any more about it now, but I will write about it properly soon.
It would be great if we were able to get a fair and decent price for our lambs so that we wouldn't need any kind of financial support from the EU, but with the way things are we couldn't keep farming without it, and neither could most hill farms, particularly on economically disadvantaged islands.
We got £26 for some of the lambs we sold on Tuesday, which was roughly what we received for the first lambs we sold in 1995. Our costs certainly haven't stayed the same.
Our farm has been assessed as a Region 3 farm, (mostly unimproved grassland) so in order to receive our farming subsidy we have to prove we are actively farming by keeping a certain number of ewe hoggs over the winter. They must be homebred and ear tagged and we can be inspected at any time by SGRIPD. (Scottish Govt.) All this is fair enough - it is public money and we should be accountable - however farmers in other land regions (1 & 2) under the new CAP reforms don't appear to have to jump through any hoops to get their support. So we feel a bit disadvantaged, and although we are extremely grateful for the support we receive because it means we can keep on farming, if I am honest, we quietly resent the stress it puts upon normal farming activity.
Farmer and J are working away ear tagging and treating our ewe hoggs this afternoon so that we comply with this new scheme regulation.
The rest of the week in photographs...