CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

The Cotswold farming year with Adam Henson

PUBLISHED: 11:51 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:33 20 February 2013

Old Spot piglet at the Cotswold Farm Park

Old Spot piglet at the Cotswold Farm Park

Cotswold farmer and BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson tells us what's happening on the farm during January

I live and work on a beautiful 1,600-acre tenanted farm in the heart of the Cotswolds, six miles from Stow-on-the-Wold. Theres hardly a day when I wake up in the morning and dont appreciate how lucky I am and look forward to going to work.


Farmers generally work on a 100-day winter when they plan to feed their animals extra rations to compensate for the lack of grass and to fight off the cold, wet winter. At around 1,000 feet above sea level, the winter at home seems to last a lot longer putting more pressure on the feed bills.


Livestock need to be checked, fed, watered and bedded down as a matter of routine, even on Christmas Day and (blurry-eyed) on New Years Day. Winter is also a time for maintenance, fencing, building work and planning for the coming year. By the way, Happy New Year 2010 is upon us. Along with the wish for health and happiness for all my family and friends and peace on earth, Im looking forward to another farming year.


The ewes and cows are all pregnant and due to give birth in the spring, when hopefully the grass begins to grow nice and early so that the mothers produce plenty of milk for their young. Now is a quiet time on the arable side of the farm, apart from loading lorries with last years grain. The 2009 yields were good, but quality was poor due to the wet harvest. A lot of what we grew for beer and bread production has ended up as animal feed.


The autumn was kind to us so planting went well and crops were established with ease. Now all we need are favorable growing conditions and a dry harvest to reap the benefits.


Our pigs give birth all year round and we have recently had lovely litters of Tamworth and Gloucestershire Old Spots. Other sows have just gone to the boar so that we have piglets for our visitors to enjoy at the Cotswold Farm Park when we reopen in March.


I believe that farming has an optimistic future ahead of it. Sure, we will always be faced with the pressures of the weather, exchange rates effecting commodity prices, animal diseases and changing government policy, but potentially our land has a huge amount to offer.


If any industry was told that its customer base was likely to go up 50 per cent in the next 40 years, from six billion to nine billion people, then thats something to be excited about. Not only can we produce food but also fuel, use the land as an amenity for diversification and get government support to manage conservation.


The industry is packed with developments and innovation and offers some fantastic career prospects across the whole food supply chain and rural domain.


For those looking from the outside in, I am very conscious that as an industry agriculture needs to shed its out of date image of the overworked, under-paid, whingeing farmer. That may be a good New Years resolution: I need to stop moaning and make the very best of what I have!


Adam Henson is the tenant farmer of 1,600 acres in the Cotswolds, a TV presenter on Countryfile, appears on Radio 4 programme On Your Farm and also runs the Cotswold Farm Park.

0 comments

More from People

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

25 years in business is no mean feat – and the owner of Lauren’s Catering has lost none of his ambition

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Julian Dunkerton has moved his family’s cider-making business from Herefordshire to the outskirts of Cheltenham, where it boasts a state-of-the-art production unit and a stylish new shop. But don’t think the heart of the business has changed one whit: it still honours the core values Ivor and Susie Dunkerton held dear when they planted their first apple tree, nearly 40 years ago

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

If you want to spread some Christmas cheer to those in need, here are some fantastic charities in the Cotswolds to donate to

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Harnessing the power of social media, charity awards and dreaming up new projects - it’s all in a day’s work for Gloucestershire children’s charity Pied Piper and its corporate supporters

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Cotswolds’ very own Prince of Wales turns 70 this month, so we looked back on some of the highlights of his life and career, and wondered what birthday pressies we would buy for the man who has the world at his feet

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

When landowners are looking to sell their land, and want a transparent journey that delivers them best value, Rosconn Strategic Land is here to take them through the process.

Read more

Radio DJ Paul Gambaccini has secured a payout from prosecutors over unfounded allegations of historical sex offences. The presenter, 69, was arrested in 2013 over a claim he sexually assaulted two teenage boys in the early 1980s. Mr Gambaccini always denied the claims, calling the case “completely fictitious”. He spent a year on bail before the case was dropped. Two years later he gave this interview to Katie Jarvis

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Barn Theatre’s artistic director, Iwan Lewis, talks to Candia McKormack about a rather special project aimed at bringing the Cotswold community together in commemoration of the Great War’s fallen

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The environmental charity set up to protect Stroud’s industrial heritage now enhances the lives of its own volunteers. Katie Jarvis meets chief executive Clare Mahdiyone to hear about her Cotswold Life

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Alex Caccia was in two minds about setting up Animal Dynamics as a limited company, but a shark attack warning changed all of that. Tanya Gledhill meets a man on a mission to change propulsion, one animal at a time

Read more
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

He quit his job with a few thousand pounds in savings and an empty garage. In less than a year, Nick Grey’s technology company Gtech was flying. Tanya Gledhill meets him

Read more
Friday, October 5, 2018

How does it feel to interview Sir Michael Parkinson, the nation’s best-ever interviewer? Katie Jarvis takes a very deep breath – and finds out

Read more
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

When Charles Martell became the latest High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, he started discovering things about the county he never knew – not to mention things about himself, too. Katie Jarvis spoke to him about saw pits, walnuts, peaceable towns and pink-headed ducks

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search