Farmer rumbles on despite a very harsh 12 months

John Tustian of Uplands Farm, Caldecote with one of this year's lambs
John Tustian of Uplands Farm, Caldecote with one of this year's lambs
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Despite losing a barley harvest and more lambs than usual, a south Northants farmer is counting his blessings as those worst hit by the weather appeal for help to dispose of dead animals.

This week farmers in areas of the country hit by blizzards and snow drifts which have killed many newborn lambs and calves, called for financial help to dispose of the remains.

John Tustian of Uplands Farm in Caldecote, near Towcester, said farmers in Wales, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland have had it far worse, but those in south Northants were still suffering from the harsh conditions.

He said: “We’ve all had a horrendous 12 months, an awful spring, last summer was incredibly wet and this winter doesn’t seem to end.”

Mr Tustian said he was more fortunate than other farmers who have lost valuable winter wheat crops which have rotted in the ground.

The weather of the last 12 months will also have a knock on effect throughout the year as it forces farmers to delay spring planting, and the resulting yields will be low.

He added: “It’s been very depressing over the last 12 months. But the important thing is, we’re still rumbling on and we’ve got to look to the future.

“We’ve got a nice lot of lambs this year, but it has been jolly hard work.”

During a meeting for rural professionals at Towcester Racecourse last week, Lloyds TSB presented the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution with a cheque for £7,400 collected by bank staff around the country to help farmers struggling as a result of the extreme weather.