The Right Colour (a novel about a cow) by Andy Frazier
Andy Frazier has been writing books for two years now, from his base in South West France. He started life farming with his father and brother at Coningswick farm in the English Midlands, which in those days specialised in quality beef and pork. After a string of successes exhibiting commercial cattle and pedigree Bleu du Maine sheep, Andy left the family farm to set up a livestock supplies business dealing specifically in grooming products as well as supplying services to the pedigree cattle industry. Over the next 10 years his achievements in dressing and preparing show animals saw him being twice in charge of the supreme champion at the Royal Smithfield show, as well as cattle and sheep breed champions in a variety of pedigree breeds at just about every national and county show. He has also judged cattle and sheep at many of these events. For a 12 year spell Andy successfully bred pedigree Texel sheep under the prefix Menithwood until the flock was dispersed in 2004. In addition to this he continued to help and advise with the prominent Coningswick flock of Beltex sheep run at the family farm. After selling his grooming business to Ritchey Tagg in the mid nineties and progressing into the IT industry, Andy’s career somehow evolved into that of a freelance business analyst. For a number of years he then worked for blue chip clients such as Barclays Bank, Cable & Wireless and Cisco Systems, mostly writing detailed and highly technical documentation that few people ever read!
In 2006 Andy opted for a lifestyle change and moved to South West France with the objective of one day becoming an author. For a while he ran a small building business alongside renovating a large old farmhouse until, with the support of his partner Wendy, he started writing novels some two years ago. During that period he has now written no less than nine books, many of which are targeted at children and most of which feature farm animals of some kind or other. He shares the smallholding with Wendy, two dogs, half a dozen sheep and a small collection of wines.
The Right Colour
Andy completed his first novel called The Right Colour in November 2010. Set in the mid nineteen eighties, the book tells a highly entertaining story of Princess, a calf born in north Scotland in a pedigree Aberdeen Angus herd but by a Limousin sire. The tale follows the calf as she tells her own story of growing up in hard times which include her being subjected to bullying and racism. As the Princess overcomes these problems, she sets her sights on the winning the greatest accolade a cross-bred animal could ever win, to be champion at the Royal Smithfield Show. She also develops a bizarre desire to meet the Queen herself. The book is written with sharp humour and there are some laugh-out-loud moments as Princess gets into some quite unusual situations and engages in some curious dialogue with a few other animals.
Drawing from the author’s own cattle experience, many of the settings and the people that this animal encounters are recalled with extreme accuracy, including the sights, sounds and smells of those great December days in Earls Court, London. Some of the characters even bear an uncanny resemblance to people involved in the industry at that time. However, the passion with which this tale is told provides its real appeal. That appeal is not just to cattlemen young and old but to a whole cross-section of the public, many of whom are blissfully unaware that the languid world of livestock showing could be quite so exciting.
The Right Colour has developed a cult following through the British livestock world and has had some fantastic reviews. One review in a Scottish national paper said “The book is littered with colourful characters…..It could only have been written by someone with a great deal of knowledge in the industry…. The tale is also a great insight into animal psychology!”
The Right Colour is now being made available through a selection of agricultural traders throughout the UK as well as online in paperback or e-book form from www.andyfrazier.co.uk, published through Lulu Press.
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City Screen will be showing the pork industry documentary Pig Business by Tracy Worcester which compares traditional, environmentally sustainable farming with industrialised agri-business on Tuesday 11 May at 8.30pm at York City Screen.
I am going to watch this film on Tuesday night which has been organised by Slow Food North Yorkshire. As I myself was recently a pig keeper and breeder I am interested in looking at the welfare of pigs and how high-welfare pork products are marketed in the British supermarkets.
Ammonium Nitrate fertiliser prices have stayed firm at £390/tonne through December of 2008. It is not surprising to hear that fertiliser traders and manufacturers are advising farmers to continue buying to secure supplies – well of course it’s not surprising, they are trying to sell as much product as possible before the price crashes!
Ian Moseley (fertiliser manager for Wynnstay) was quoted in the Farmer’s Weekly as saying “Although the price of urea has collapsed, ammonium nitrate has stayed firm at £390/tonne for December.” And saying of urea prices “It’s dependent on the Asian markey, which usually starts buying in January”. He warned that if farmers delayed purchases, there was a danger that farmers could be left waiting for deliveries in spring, and talking of delivery said “If this suddenly gets pushed into February, then there won’t be enough stock or sufficient transport facilities to meet demand”.
Well it is the view of Farmingfriends that any fertiliser manufacturer or trader should take a beginners course in economics – simple supply and demand economics suggest that fertiliser manufacturers will have been producing product to maximum capacity to try and capitalise on the grain price 5 months ago. Now that the global grain price has fallen to less than half what it was at its peak, then demand for fertiliser will also fall. The fall in demand will be compounded by the fall in oil price, meaning that oilseeds will be in lower demand for biodiesel production (reducing fertiliser demand).
Farmers will look to reduce fertiliser application rates in the spring, possibly by as much as 25%. We all know that ammonium nitrate doesn’t store well from one seaon to the next, so if manufacturers do not move product in spring 2009, they will be left with deteriorating stock.
So the prediction is that prices will fall for AN as they have done with urea due to falling demand, falling oil prices (reducing production costs and demand) and stockpiles of product at plants, docks and distribution warehouses.
The supply industry has been feeding the media, scaring farmers into making purchases at inflated prices since early summer, which can only be described as underhand – as they must have seen the price falls coming. On this farm we predicted what was happening and have not bought any fertiliser yet for 2009. It is clear that any farmers who haven’t yet purchased will be holding out for an avalanche of price falls. We expect ammonium nitrate prices to fall below £200/t and comparing historic nitrogen and grain prices we could even see nitrogen sub £130.
It has been illegal to burn or bury waste plastic produced on farms since the introduction of the new Agricultural Waste Regulations in 2006. The majority of the waste plastic from the farm is from silage bales, with smaller amounts from straw bales, fertiliser bags and empty agrochemical containers. We have been sending the plastic to landfill using the local authority bin service, but obviously this is not the most desirable solution from an environmental stand-point. We have found some information from UK Waste Solutions which is recommending compacting the waste plastic by baling it and then selling the plastic.
There are several companies in the UK that will take farm waste plastic, but they all charge for this service. UK Waste Solutions suggest that by separating the plastic types and then compacting, it is possible to actually sell the plastic. This is something we shall be looking into, as currently the farm is paying to have it taken away. It may be necessary to collaborate with neighbouring farmers so that we have a sufficient volume of plastic for the recycling companies to collect.
Now that it is not raining, the land work has resumed. In the last few days my husband has been busy with the farm work. He has been:
It is important to get the wheat & barley crops combined before they ruin and the rapeseed needs to be drilled so that it will have enough time to grow and yield well.
I remember lots of this sort of thing happening on the farm, the bales were rectangular back then. Would you like to accept the Tree of Happiness, pop over to my blog to find out what an earth I am talking about! x
It is certainly a busy time at the moment now that the weather has cleared up abit. All the jobs have now come at once.
I will pop over now to check out the Tree of Happiness.
Sara from farmingfriends