Well, well, well, who would have thought that we could be on the brink of a major world conflict? The world is certainly a very daunting place at the moment, and with tensions ramping up between the west and its antagonists in Russia and China, fears are now developing that proxy wars could develop into wider armed conflict.

“A no-fly zone” has become a catchphrase that I’m not sure a lot of people understand. Unfortunately it’s not a rule that you pass and everyone must abide by; it’s the willingness to shoot down aircraft of the Russian federation, which is basically the beginning of World War III. Having come out of one of the world’s worst pandemics in history we are now entering completely unchartered territory. The world has officially gone mad, or have I?

The price of fuel is at heights that have never been seen before. The cost of running a tractor, ploughing on a daily basis, is nearly £1,000 per day. The cost of wheat would seem to be extortionate at present but if the truth is known, is it? If you were selling wheat last year at £200 per tonne when the fertiliser price was £225/tonne, in today’s market you would need to be selling wheat at £595/tonne as fertiliser is now £950/tonne.

The milk price has been on the increase but so have all our inputs, water, electric, wages etc, which effectively means farmers are still financially treading water. Successive governments have been asleep at the wheel, and now, within a few short weeks, our food and energy policies seem to be in tatters. With Russia and the Ukraine being 30% of the world’s breadbasket, changes need to be swift and accurate. Being paid to farm trees and butterflies may have to take a back seat for a while; we have a nation to feed.

In the last few months of 2021, a successful campaign by Greenpeace, supported by Nicola Sturgeon, led to Shell deciding to pull out of pursuing the development of the Cambo oil field development off Shetland, a newly discovered oilfield with the potential of up to 800 million barrels of our own oil. This was shut down by the “green” agenda. Within three months this would appear to be a little short-sighted. It is the responsibility of any government to ensure that their citizens are fed, warm and safe. This Government certainly has a job on its hands.

The world is going mad…or so it appears.

In 2007 the farm sold two worn out telehandlers and purchased three new ones; the cost to change was £81,000. In 2018 we sold two telehandlers and purchased two new ones and the cost to change was £85,000. In 2022 we have been quoted £86,000 with no trade in for one machine. In an age where the average cost of a first-time house is £330,000, where is the next generation going to find the cash? Surely there must come a time when it will all come crashing down around us.

The era of cheap food is over. It’s time people got their priorities right, but it’s going to hurt and we have not been raised in a world where food is scarce. Being self-sufficient is going to be key. In our preparation for being self-sufficient I have purchased six new point of lay chickens. Four weeks on and we haven’t even had one egg. Good job our trusty old chickens still produce an egg or two. I’m trying to persuade the kids to start growing potatoes or even rear a few pigs, but as yet I haven’t had any success.

Spring is here and the lighter evenings are such a blessing; the crops are looking well so far. Silaging is just around the corner and the machinery will be serviced in the next week or so. Dunging will commence in earnest as soon as the weather allows. Lambing is now well under way and the children are on Easter holidays. Yippee – no school runs for a while and the diesel bill goes down.

We are in the process of offering accommodation to a family of Ukrainian refugees. I’ve been trying to explain to the children how they will feel upon arrival but am failing miserably at the moment so we shall offer them all the support and love we have.

I’m sure by the time this article goes to print the world will be a completely different place from when I wrote this article. Here’s hoping it’s for the better.

All that remains is to wish Fergus a very happy 21st birthday and to say how incredibly proud we are of all that he has accomplished and all he has yet to achieve.

Until next time stay safe and take care.