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Another month goes flying by with only a few days left in July, which has been one of the wettest in living memory, even disrupting the 158th Great Yorkshire Show.  The organisers of the Show, which is a show case premier in the livestock, equine and farming social calendar, did all they could to go ahead, but even the 300hp tractors and crawlers couldn’t keep the vehicles going after the first day.  The car parks ended up being a mud bath.  However, the stock was still judged and many of the commercial beef exhibitors, who were judged on the Wednesday, commented on the eerie feeling with no spectators present that day.  One lady in the Wensleydale Sheep section had a most memorable show as it was the first time Mary Smith had ever won a first prize in 28 years of showing with her yearling ewe in full wool.  Not only did it win its class, it took the Supreme Champion and beat all other lustre wool breeds winning the coveted ‘wool on the hoof’ award.What a difference a week makes.  Haytime over and done with for now for me. 623 bales off five acres.  It’s all systems go around here.  Harvests just started with Winter Barley, haytime, silage 1st and 2nd cuts and even some 3rd cut.  Still a lot of sheep to shear and we’re nearly in August.PricesThe early breeding sheep sales are just about to kick off with prices slightly easier than last year, but a firm lamb and cull ewe trade has kept confidence in this sector.  The high cereal prices of recent weeks has seen store cattle prices ease as feed wheat and barley prices rose 25% - 30% in less than a month.  Hopefully the new crop prices will alleviate the pressure slightly, but margins are very tight in all sectors of finishing, especially pigs, poultry and cattle.EntitlementsThe Rural Payments Agency is now taking details for distributing RLE-1 Forms to allow Entitlements to be traded for the 2012/2013 period.  It’s early days but it does not take long to get around to another year of trading.  Land ValuesSales and rentals have seen a constant increase over the past five years, almost doubling in the sales sector, with rentals increasing between 10%-25% on average in recent rent reviews.  Good  Grade 1 and 2 arable land has seen sales in excess of £10,000 per acre with permanent grassland in the right location also achieving similar figures.  You can rely on the old adage ‘location, location, location’.  A lot depends on where the land is, who the neighbours are and the circumstances of the sale.  All in all it only seems to be going one way as investors still see land as a safe place to put their money.ShowsNext week I will be judging the  Wensleydale Sheep at the Ryedale Show.  I hope the weather is kind as it is one of the top one day shows of the north.  Looking forward to a good day out. Wensleydale Show is on Saturday 25th August.  I’ll be doing the Sheep Section commentary and looking forward to meeting many regular readers of this column.  It’s a great day out for all the family.This weekend I’m auctioneering in Barnsley at Watts and Associates.  Thousands of plant and machinery lots from battery drills to top of the range excavators will keep us busy the whole day.  Makes a change from livestock!  (If you have any topics you would like Ernie to include in his monthly column you can contact him on 07521 824724)Ernie Sherwin, BSc (hons) MRICS, ALAA is an Agricultural Surveyor, Valuer and Auctioneer.


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