|ANDREW M BULLIVANT HEYFARM WINSHAM CHARD SOMERSET TA20 4EF
Vat reg. no 185 5437 30 Tel: 01460 30287 (home) Tel/Fax: 01460 30446 (office)
I bought Hey Farm and Bere Chapel Farm in May 1966 at auction for what seemed then the huge sum of £63,000. For this sum I had 302 acres, two farm houses, cottages and some farm buildings. At that time Winsham had two pubs, one hotel, a butcher, a baker / general stores and a post office/general stores.
The village had its own district nurse and a resident policeman. There were two garages, both of which still exist today, although neither sell petrol. The mail and newspapers were delivered by bicycle.
I started off with 30 cows and grew 150 acres of corn and employed a dairyman and one tractor driver, both living on the farm. The weekly wages bill was £21..10..6d. In 1974 two extra farm cottages were built at Hey Farm.
In 1980 a very modem milking parlour and other ancillary buildings were installed; this had the capacity for 1 man to milk just under 100 cows an hour. In the early eighties, milk quotas were introduced through out the dairy industry. This had a severely adverse effect but did eventually make the industry very much more efficient and more profitable. In 1984 I bought adjoining Ashcombe Farm having sold Bere Chapel Farmhouse. This increased the farm to 450 acres.
Over the years the cow numbers increased and the corn acreage decreased until eventually in 1989 the herd had built up to almost 300 dairy cows plus 100 head of followers. I employed a dairyman, 2 tractor drivers and a maintenance man/relief milker. The weekly wages bill had increased to approx £1000.
At the end of 1989 because of a car accident, the dairy herd and followers were sold. The milking parlour has been mothballed and will probably be used again in the future. Since then and at present, the farm remains all grass and our income is derived from leasing milk quota which has proved to be an enormous bonus, looking after other people's animals and selling silage during the winter. We have one part time employee. Farming fortunes have suffered very badly during the last three years affecting every aspect of the farming industry. Hopefully rock bottom has now been reached and things will improve.
Fortunately our son, now aged 31, has no wish to be involved in the farming industry; I would never advise a young person to go farming at the moment. I think most of the enjoyment has gone out of farming and the whole industry is completely overwhelmed with record keeping, paperwork and appalling red tape. Ministry officials now have the power to insist on inspecting records with no notice and if they discover perfectly genuine mistakes there can be swingeing financial penalties. I refer to them as "the Spanish Inquisition"!
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