Young Farmers profile: 18-year-old Alex Gathercole talks about her livestock ambitions
PUBLISHED: 09:56 12 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:56 12 July 2018
As part of our regular series of profiles on the region’s Young Farmers’ Club members, 18-year-old ALEX GATHERCOLE talks about her livestock responsibilities on the family farm.
I have grown up on a farm and my dad has always encouraged me – and he has often been glad of an extra pair of hands to help with the workload.
After leaving school I went to Easton and Otley College to do a Level 3 in Agriculture, but ended up going back home at the end of the first year because my granddad had died and my dad needed the help.
We meet up every morning to discuss the plan for the day but we usually both know what needs to be done and a lot of it is weather dependant – but dad is the boss at the end of the day.
I go to quite a lot of livestock markets during the week. Tuesdays and Wednesdays I get up at 4am to go to Melton and Newark livestock markets and I get up at 6.30am on a normal day.
At this time of year the first job is making the milk and feeding the calves, and then I have been shearing. This time of year is mainly sheep work; worming, weaning and weighing lambs.
There’s always something different going on at the farm. We ear-tag calves and chase sheep but essentially we buy and sell a lot of livestock from the north and the south as we mainly keep store cattle, graze them, and then bring them in to feed and fatten during the winter and then they go back into the livestock market.
I have my own flock of sheep and over the next few years I would like to increase my flock size and go into commercial sheep. I would also like to start my own commercial beef suckler herd.
My tractor work involves littering and feeding and I also drive my dad’s four-wheeler lorry. I have my HGV and so I sometimes drive articulated lorries for customers.
I am hoping to host some Young Farmers meetings at the farm in future as there is a lot for members to see. We have a lot of breeding sheep, a large range of store cattle from rearing calves to fattening, you can see the whole process from the start to the finished products.
Name: Alex Gathercole
Occupation: Cattle and sheep farmer
YFC Club: Wymondham
How long have you been a YFC member?: Two years
• Wymondham YFC meets at The Rugby Club, Wymondham, on Monday evenings. For more details about Norfolk Young Farmers contact the county office on 01603 731307.