IT'S been easy to get away from the cycle of constantly moaning about things this past week or two – it's been a great spring and apart from a snottery couple of days at the traditional start to hill lambing, it's been a kind month for shepherds and cattlemen working outside. Rarely have livestock looked so well everywhere from the broad acres to the hill.

Then, of course, there's no better tonic than seeing stock released into grass parks after long winter months indoors and this year there might even be a hint of grass about! But for many, the best tonic will be to largely see an end to the seemingly never-ending winter cycle of feeding animals, with the added bonus that grass is the cheapest feed of all (even if you do have a substantial fertiliser bill yet to come out of your bank balance!).

But it can be a stressful time of year for livestock keepers as they face up to the time consumed and the sleep deprivation caused by job of lambing and calving. It can also be a dangerous job, too and we have heard of three people within the last week who have suffered serious injury when working with livestock. Two of them had 50 years of experience each, so a lack of expertise wasn't the issue – it was just one of those things and proves that you can never be too careful.

One of the take home messages about that was, had one of them not been carrying a mobile phone, then the outcome might have been very different. So if you, any family member or staff, are out working during unsociable hours – as they often can be at this time of year – then make sure that they have some means of communication with them. Better to be safe than sorry.

It's show time!

The first of the normal run of outdoor shows started last weekend and it was great to see an amazing turnout – there is nothing better for a day out, with good stock and handlers, and a bit of sunshine for your mental health.

It's understandable, too, that some people – having been literally locked down for the most part of two years – are a bit wary of venturing back out and might need a bit of encouragement, but not to the point of being forced.

There is no doubt that, as a profession, farming suffers more than most from all sorts of mental health issues brought on by the stresses and strains of business and trading, especially when quite a lot of factors are outwith their control – so all the more reason to be good neighbours to each other and keep a wary eye out for any signs that someone might be struggling. Always remember that it might be you one day that will be in a precarious position.