Tom Corfield, agricultural partner at Arnolds Keys – Irelands Agricultural, explores how the Clarkson's Farm series has highlighted the harsh realities of farming. 

Eastern Daily Press: Tom Corfield, agricultural partner at Arnolds Keys - Irelands AgriculturalTom Corfield, agricultural partner at Arnolds Keys - Irelands Agricultural (Image: Arnolds Keys)

Jeremy Clarkson inspires love and hate in equal measure, but even those who can’t stand the man have been forced to admit that his Amazon Prime series Clarkson’s Farm has done more than most to highlight the harsh realities of farming. After series one, many said Clarkson had done more good for farming than others had achieved over many years. The second series continues to do the same.

It shows the difficulties in the pig industry including high feed costs, lack of processing capabilities and pressure from cheap imported pork. Input prices are also explored when fertiliser purchased at £275/T rockets up to £675/T at the time of the recording.

Jeremy investigates agritech when investing in the Moocall calving sensor, which will alert him to when cows and heifers start to calve. The series also discusses livestock husbandry: the importance of how human intervention in what is otherwise a natural process is sometimes vital to save the life of an unborn calf and perhaps also the mother.

The series highlights the importance of adhering to plans and planning conditions, such as where Jeremy should have fitted a slate roof to the farm shop when it was built and to only stock local items within a 16-mile radius.

The strength of collaboration is seen when Jeremy tries to bring a group of local farmers together to make use of their produce in the restaurant. Diversification is also important because farm incomes are squeezed and subsidies are disappearing. Jeremy’s idea is to create a new restaurant making use of the lambing shed. The raft of supplementary reports that are required to support the planning application is depicted, as well as the ability to use a Prior Notification application – or not in this case.

Health and Safety (how not to do it) is a key theme of the series. It talks about Bovine Tuberculosis (TB), when one neighbouring farm which has lost half its herd is down to milking just 60 cows, as well as Avian Influenza (Bird Flu), which requires birds to be shut inside. 

Yes – there are some silly antics and at times I have cried with laughter on the sofa (the chilli-making moment, for example), but overall there certainly is not diddly squat going on at Clarkson’s Farm. It’s a pity it's all over in just eight episodes. So I say: "Keep on troshin’, Jeremy."

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