Opinion

IFA calendar for 2018 really hits the spot

Hats off to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) for producing such a wonderful 2018 calendar. The photography is splendid and there are ample tips on each month’s page to help every farming business along.

I was particularly delighted to see a very strong emphasis on farm safety featuring throughout the entire publication. Getting the number of accidents taking place on our farms down has to be a priority for farming as a whole.

And, as the little sentiment expressed on the January page, points out: New Year, New You, New View – Make Farm Safety Your No.1 Priority.

A brief perusal of the calendar confirmed to me that 2018 will be a year of wonderful happenstances. For example, Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day will take place on the same date (that’s February 14 by the way). And it’s ditto where Easter Sunday and April Fools’ Day are concerned.

So it would be fair to conclude that chocolates are off the agenda for Valentine’s Day while Easter Sunday 2018 will be a truly mad affair altogether, from a ‘fake news’ perspective.

The photo featuring on the front cover of the calendar is that of a Limousin bull and suckler cow cuddling up to each other. It is an absolute gem. Taken by Simon Lambert, from Co. Wexford, it also graces the July page.

A picture taken by Mary Smyth, from Co. Antrim, lights up the October page. It is also worthy of note. The photo features a close-up shot of some 30 ewes, all looking directly back at the camera.

It amazes me that Mary was able to get so close to the sheep without them heading for the hills, literally. But to have them all, in-synch, staring back at the photographer is an added bonus.

Adding to the attraction of the calendar for me is the fact that it doesn’t contain any photos of half-naked women or men.

Maybe it’s because I am a man of a certain age but saucy photos, in my opinion, should not be used to guide us through the calendar year.

Looking forward, what we really need is a return to normal weather conditions in 2018. A short window of opportunity to get the harvest completed and the silage or hay made with a degree of comfort are all that’s required. Is this really too much to ask for?