Our winter weather over the last few weeks has been pretty kind to us really. We have had a few reasonable frosts without anything so sharp that pig drinkers have been frozen. These will assist with the creation of good seed beds for the spring barley. Although my grandchildren would not agree, the lack of heavy snowfall will also help us towards a good start for the spring work. Any day now we will plough the stubble field we have left beside the A1120. This was left to provide a source of food for seed eating birds through the winter and has also attracted pigeons – much to the delight of one local pigeon shooter.
The saga of the new basic farm payment and cross compliance rules continues. We have managed to register using the rural payment agency’s telephone hotline so the first hurdle has been crossed. The approved online method for registering is still not functional. We can now access our online digital maps to check them for accuracy but the system is painfully slow at the moment. The old system took Charles 2 or 3 days to do on line. At the moment we are anticipating 2 or 3 weeks of frustratingly slow and painstaking work. Why oh why does the government – of whatever colour – feel obliged to change a system which, after several years of fine tuning, was at last working well. I have enormous sympathy for the education service and the NHS, they also could perform much better if they were only left alone for a while.