Hallelujah, the Kiwis are coming

With travel restrictions lifted, John Scott   is looking forward to a team heading his way to Hill of Fearn, Tain, Scotland.

In Home Block6 Minutes

With travel restrictions lifted, John Scott   is looking forward to a team heading his way to Hill of Fearn, Tain, Scotland.

WE’RE DELIGHTED TO HEAR THAT the borders are opening up and we have some awesome young Kiwis heading our way in the next few weeks – Kiwis who now feel comfortable enough to travel to complete their OE, which as many of you know is so important in terms of personal development.

So far we have three lined up to give us a hand over the coming months. It’s really satisfying to know the networks are still working after a two-year Covid hiatus. We look forward to hearing the accent while thriving on the energy they almost always bring to the team.

It’s going to have to work both ways, however, with our oldest, James heading out in early October to start his big adventure and yes I’m definitely jealous and would love to do it all again with the wisdom of age.

Looking ahead to summer it looks like we will have a bloody good short-term team to take us through to September. We have two placement students starting in July for a year and with our oldest two kids home from Uni plus the aforementioned Kiwis and some handy young Scots. Dare I say it, we might be over-staffed.

In theory this will allow us to get on top of jobs that we have certainly struggled to do. It should allow everyone including myself and our full time team to take some holidays, and alter the work/life balance in a positive way.

We are still on the lookout for high-quality long-term stock people. While we search, we will continue to offer those that are keen for short-term employment the opportunity so that they might return in the future for a longer period.

It’s been a tough spring weather wise. It was too easy in March with virtually no rainfall, then when we needed the weather on our side it just didn’t play ball and kicked us fairly hard when we were in the thick of lambing and calving.

We are nearly there now, though. We only have a handful of ewes plus the hoggets left to lamb and only a few cows to calve, so the end is definitely in sight.

With that in mind we are starting to think about selling the first batch which will be ready mid-May and with the price at £6($11.58)/kg and climbing, we are optimistic that returns will be decent.

You will notice I’m avoiding the subject of input costs. There’s a good reason for that, these lambs have had the proverbial kitchen sink thrown at them to hit the early market and their broken-mouth mums will all be on the one-way ticket come June.

Thankfully, cull ewes seem to be on fire at the moment with our local auction centre averaging £124($NZ239)/head last week with a top of £312($602) for a Texel ewe which maybe wasn’t the most maternal by the look of her. Our own models of similar nature will get a one-way trip ASAP and as soon as the lambs are off them we will cash the rest.

On the cereal front, barley, oats and peas are in the ground and forage crops will be shortly. Fertiliser was thankfully bought early before it took off – the highest price I heard was just north of £1000($1930)/ tonne for 33.5% N but it’s back to sub £800($1544) now, the only comfort that brings is that it’s going in the right direction.

With wheat futures for November at £298($575)/ tonne the last time I looked and feed barley trading at similar values, the world we operate in has certainly changed. Who knows what’s around the corner?

There’s no doubt it will be exciting and challenging, but to put things in perspective, our neighbour hasn’t just invaded our country and unleashed all sorts of horror upon us. So we are grateful for our lot and will celebrate the freedom we have to carry on our daily lives as we do.