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VSS

Country Smallholding magazine

Does anyone on here read my articles in Country Smallholding magazine?

(Don't all say "No" at once!)

Anyway, if so, I'd be very grateful for some feedback on previous articles (eg, were they useful, interesting, relevant etc), and a few suggestions for topics to cover in the future.

(This is me doing the "right thing" and engaging with the readership...)

Thanks very much,

Tim Tyne.
Colin & Jan

Tim

Don't get it that often but you wrote an article a couple of years ago on home slaughter, which was invaluable. Well laid out; easy to read and understand.

Colin
VSS

Any suggestions for future topics, Colin?
misty07

my dad just got subscription for xmas i bought about 8-10 last year yes i read them and do take advice from your articles but some i already know from either knowledge or you told me yourself when i msged you little small things but i do like what put. and im determined 1 day to meet the man in person to shake your hand on a job well done
Lorrainelovesplants

how about small scale home sheep shearing?

Im often asked if I know anyone who does it?
Sally Too

My sister used to write horsey articles for them. As far as I know they've phased out the horses now. I think orginally she was commissioned for 6 articles but ended up writing for them for years. Must ask her if she still writes....
RichardW

Not read it for a while so you might have done some of these already.

The smallholder pony & cart & how to get the best out of them.

Home dairying.

Smallholdings & permitted development & planning applications.

Smalholders, agri schemes & grants.

Medications & when to use them / when to call the vet.

Diversification

Just how much can I expect to make from my land?
Lorrainelovesplants

The gentleman who writes on rural planning (Clive Miller) has agreed to run some events for the Rural Business School at very good rates.
Watch out for the first one on May 5th at Wadebridge (Topics:Farm building diversification & agricultural ties).

Reduced price for eligible persons......see Rural Business School website for further details (this event isnt there yet...Im not that fast)
Andy B

As buying a smallholding is beyond most people because of costs, could you do things aimed more at the urban wanabe smallholder? Or if thats too small how about going into the rights, wrongs and pitfalls of renting smallholdings?
Paddington Bear

Love your articles, Tim.

They are informative and practical. I can't stand dumbed-down articles I need reliable, solid information.
bayandgrey

hi tim,
love the sheep stuff you have written and sometimes refer back to certain bits, like the lambing articles. liked the article you wrote on making your own lambing pens. more articles on making stuff like that and the equipment that you have found to be good or bad are always going to be a winner as far as i'm concerned. love the fact you are practical as well, really can't stand some of the flakey, tree hugging sh1te that others write.
good luck, andy
Rob R

I'd like an article on setting sheep nets out neatly without the advantage of GPS Twisted Evil Smile
Paddington Bear

As buying a smallholding is beyond most people because of costs, could you do things aimed more at the urban wanabe smallholder? Or if thats too small how about going into the rights, wrongs and pitfalls of renting smallholdings?


I agree with Andy that renting a smallholding could be a useful article but not articles that are less technical. I appreciate that not every one can afford to realise their dream of owning a smallholding but, with due respect, there are other magazines that cater more for this market. I would prefer CS to keep its identity by covering topics in depth.
Mary-Jane

We read them Tim! Very Happy
VSS

I'd like an article on setting sheep nets out neatly without the advantage of GPS Twisted Evil Smile


Hey, Rob, you should plough up your fields and re-seed them more often! Then the grass will all grow in nice straight lines that you can follow when you're putting the nets out! Laughing Laughing Laughing
VSS

As buying a smallholding is beyond most people because of costs, could you do things aimed more at the urban wanabe smallholder? Or if thats too small how about going into the rights, wrongs and pitfalls of renting smallholdings?

I agree with Andy that renting a smallholding could be a useful article but not articles that are less technical. I appreciate that not every one can afford to realise their dream of owning a smallholding but, with due respect, there are other magazines that cater more for this market. I would prefer CS to keep its identity by covering topics in depth.

I'm with you there, Paddington Bear.
At the end of the day, though, the mag is profit driven like all businesses, and they'll go with what the punters want to buy.
That's why I'm asking you guys what you want from my articles. Otherwise the only feedback that they get comes from the "armchair" smallholders, not the ones who've really got their feet in the mud.
Rob R

I'd like an article on setting sheep nets out neatly without the advantage of GPS Twisted Evil Smile

Hey, Rob, you should plough up your fields and re-seed them more often! Then the grass will all grow in nice straight lines that you can follow when you're putting the nets out! Laughing Laughing Laughing

Hmm, you could be onto something there...

Next question, how to stop the neighbours marauding cattle from crashing straight through them Twisted Evil
Paddington Bear

[quote="VSS: I'm with you there, Paddington Bear.
At the end of the day, though, the mag is profit driven like all businesses, and they'll go with what the punters want to buy.
That's why I'm asking you guys what you want from my articles. Otherwise the only feedback that they get comes from the "armchair" smallholders, not the ones who've really got their feet in the mud.[/quote]

The punters I know are those with their feet in the mud and we definitely want articles with substance. Other magazines have easy reading articles with few facts and I hope CS retains its identity as a serious magazine by not going down this route. It would lose a lot of its current subscribers. We do not want articles at the level of keeping two sheep as lawn-mowers, micro-pigs (I know they don't exist!) as house pets etc
Treacodactyl

I don't always read them and I'm not sure if it's your area but I'd like to know more about storage of muck heaps and muck spreading. I'd also like CS to have a bit more in depth articles about 2nd hand tractors and implements. Mardu

Think your articles are some of the best in this magazine. Keep them coming. VSS

I'd like to know more about storage of muck heaps and muck spreading.

Can you expand a bit on what you think is required here, Treacodactyl? It could tie in nicely with the next run of articles I've got planned.
I did do a bit on muck spreaders a couple of years ago, but the mag management questioned its relevance. I thought that a bit odd, as I reckon that muck spreading is one of the most important tasks on any smallholding where livestock are kept, particularly if organic principles are being followed.
alison

I would like the rural calender, of roughly things get done.

how many weeks of a fallow field for hay? hedging and ditching, etc.
Treacodactyl

I'd like to know more about storage of muck heaps and muck spreading.

Can you expand a bit on what you think is required here, Treacodactyl? It could tie in nicely with the next run of articles I've got planned.
I did do a bit on muck spreaders a couple of years ago, but the mag management questioned its relevance. I thought that a bit odd, as I reckon that muck spreading is one of the most important tasks on any smallholding where livestock are kept, particularly if organic principles are being followed.

From my point of view I'm moving from being a gardener to someone with several acres of land and I can get plenty of muck from my neighbours but I gather I'd have to store and compost it according to some regulations.

I'm also aware that you should spread when it's not likely to rain but don't know much about the exact requirements.

More generally, I'd like to know more about the hole topic because I'm curious what my neighbours are doing and because I expect I'll have animals so would like to learn.

Perhaps outside the scope of the magazine but I'd also like to know some details about how larger farms operate. For example I saw a tractor muck spreading at the weekend and it just had a large hose connected to the back and running all the way back to the farm.

It's all something I could look up but, as you say, it seems to be one of the most important things you can do on a mixed smallholding and I'm sure would make interesting reading.
Rob R

I think you'd also have to explain the EA rules as well as NVZ's too. Stonehead

I have to confess to not having read any smallholding magazines in at least two years and not bought one in even longer. Most of the content seems to be aimed at fairly affluent people seeking/dreaming of a lifestyle. Having said that, the one thing I'd like to see covered a lot more is the need for accurate and honest costings for smallholdings run as businesses.

Edited to be on topic.
Rob R


Anyway, I've just come in for breakfast and shouldn't get stuck, ranting and raving, on here!

It's good as a release though, maybe doesn't do you a lot of good personally but makes us feel like we're not the only ones struggling with adversity - and it's quite entertaining, the way you write it - perhaps you should be writing for the magazines?
Stonehead

Deleted, off topic. Rob R

Ooh interesting, what did you write? I'd definitely buy a book of your experiences as a pig farmer... Mary-Jane

So, back to the original thread topic.

I can't be doing with all the pets at home, gardening and Alpacas stuff that's invading Country Smallholding these days. Pets and gardening have their own magazines and I question whether they *belong* in Country Smallholding - which to me, should be practical tips and hints for errrr, running a smallholding. And Alpacas - well, I just don't *get* them, other than they ultimately appear to be pyramid shaped.

I'd like to see more on old farm/smallholding buildings in there though, along with articles on how to make money out of smallholding produce/livestock etc. I guess it must be difficult to keep coming up with new angles all the time. I wonder if the readership is constantly shifting? Do readers buy it for a couple of years and then move on?
Treacodactyl

Do readers buy it for a couple of years and then move on?

Possibly, I know we're thinking about stopping our subscription. I'm not sure if it's because we've seen most of the articles before or if it's because I'm no longer sitting in an office all day. I often find now that the articles are not sufficiently in depth for us or there's not many new ideas.

Other idea's of things to cover thoroughly: hay production starting off by explaining things for the absolute novice so types of grass, nutrient requirements, weed control etc and covering the options of baling, e.g. diy or getting in a contractor etc.

Also renting and letting land.
Mrs R

Country smallholding got very very samey for me and the emphasis on alpacas was just insane - can't they get their own magazine?

Like Stonehead I also get annoyed at complete ignorance of costings in the vast majority of these articles - it's all very well to buy bags of this feed and inject with this that and the other but that's all profit margin needlessly going down the drain. Interestingly though, whenever you bring that up - even on a smallholdery forum where everyone always wangs on about wanting to make money - everyone gets up in arms and starts justifying all these purchases, arguing it couldn't possibly be done any other way, so I can quite see why the magazine has to write this stuff in order to keep their readership.

There also seems to be very little thought to sustainability, which I perhaps stupidly thought was a lot of people's motivation for doing the whole 'good life' thing: sick of the rat race and consumerism etc. Yet they seem happy to swap one consumerism for another, keeping chickens in eglus and relying on a feedstore in the way they used to rely on tesco. I get fed up reading about people who are 'self sufficient'.....but their animals only eat what comes out of a sack?
Lorrainelovesplants

having written for CS and S I have to say a flick through CS seems to have an awful lot of ads in it.....much more than in the past (but im aware that costs are spiralling and need to be offset by advertising). I also feel that some articles are not in enough depth ( but this is good for first timers).

Alpacas - well you either love them or hate them - personally like has been commented on here before I think they are pyramid selling, but thats my opinion.
I think Id like to see more in depth articles and less emphasis on 'fluffy' articles.
Stonehead

Like Stonehead I also get annoyed at complete ignorance of costings in the vast majority of these articles - it's all very well to buy bags of this feed and inject with this that and the other but that's all profit margin needlessly going down the drain. Interestingly though, whenever you bring that up - even on a smallholdery forum where everyone always wangs on about wanting to make money - everyone gets up in arms and starts justifying all these purchases, arguing it couldn't possibly be done any other way, so I can quite see why the magazine has to write this stuff in order to keep their readership.

Or they tell you it's not reallly a cost and shouldn't be included. It's not confined to smallholding though. A photographic magazine had an article recently claiming it was possible to make something like 90 profit per image, but only be excluding almost all the costs of things like equipment, transport, etc.

I suppose I've just strayed off topic again. Rolling Eyes
Mary-Jane

I do take your point DWC, and I guess there's room for differing standpoints. What I still like about Kitchen Garden magazine is that the contributors are quite willing to have opposing points of view (organic vs non-organic etc) and argue them out across the pages - which I like. It's a pity that Country Smallholding doesn't do the same. I still find CS a bit twee - I'd rather it was more argumentative...I'm sure you'd find a slot in there then... Laughing Mary-Jane

...and the emphasis on alpacas was just insane - can't they get their own magazine?


Not 'arf. But I imagine their advertising revenue is very important.
Mrs R

I've written for CS before with the old editor, no wish to go back. At least, not until they 'man up' Laughing

I'm not really talking about arguing, or organic Vs non-organic. Going organic doesn't necessarily save money. Contrary to popular opinion, I'm not organic and never will be. But not being organic doesn't mean bathing things in chemicals, or ignoring long term sustainability - you can still make the most of your land rather than the feedstore, and take preventative measures rather than curative ones. or worse, using curative ones as preventative ones Shocked
VSS

hay production starting off by explaining things for the absolute novice so types of grass, nutrient requirements, weed control etc and covering the options of baling, e.g. diy or getting in a contractor etc.

.

I've covered this topic in quite a bit of detail, but it was a while ago now. How soon is it ok to re-visit a subject? Personally, I don't think readers like seeing the same thing re-hashed and repeated time and again. Lots keep back copies for reference purposes, so they don't need to see the same thing in the mag again. On the other hand, I suppose you also have to cater for the new subscriber, who hasn't got a stack of back copies.
Mary-Jane

Lots keep back copies for reference purposes, so they don't need to see the same thing in the mag again. On the other hand, I suppose you also have to cater for the new subscriber, who hasn't got a stack of back copies.

And I guess that's why it's so difficult writing for/editing a magazine.
Andy B

I stopped buying it for about a year but bought the latest issue because i thought it was very good again. The article on Micro holding was kinda what i was thinking earlier, so someone was well ahead of me their. I always think of mags being aimed at introduction to something. If you need to know more you buy a book or go on some courses, so peoples knowledge will, over time out grow the mag content, so you need to pull in the interested but not yet commited and give them some pointers. Rob R

One thing I have never got is why Smallholding magazines are predominately 'how to do x, y, z' instead of up to date content on the latest whatever, such as in farming magazines, to avoid the saminess and keep the readership? I know they don't manage it completely, as if you wait long enough they start telling you to do something that they were telling you not to do last year but the latest market prices, shows and new developments are still there. sean

At a wild guess it's because most of the readership for smallholding magazines is people who don't actually have a smallholding. Same as car/motorbike mags. Rob R

Same as car/motorbike mags.

And porn, I guess. Laughing

Perhaps, though I do wonder how many of the readership of Farmers Guardian/Weekly are actually farmers, as not many I know seem to read it.
Treacodactyl

hay production starting off by explaining things for the absolute novice so types of grass, nutrient requirements, weed control etc and covering the options of baling, e.g. diy or getting in a contractor etc.

.

I've covered this topic in quite a bit of detail, but it was a while ago now. How soon is it ok to re-visit a subject? Personally, I don't think readers like seeing the same thing re-hashed and repeated time and again. Lots keep back copies for reference purposes, so they don't need to see the same thing in the mag again. On the other hand, I suppose you also have to cater for the new subscriber, who hasn't got a stack of back copies.

I thought you might of done, I've not got my back issues to hand to check. I'll dig them out and have a read.
Treacodactyl

One thing I have never got is why Smallholding magazines are predominately 'how to do x, y, z' instead of up to date content on the latest whatever, such as in farming magazines, to avoid the saminess and keep the readership? I know they don't manage it completely, as if you wait long enough they start telling you to do something that they were telling you not to do last year but the latest market prices, shows and new developments are still there.

Yes, I've thought about switching to one of the farming magazines for that reason although they're often full of stuff that's not that relevant to me. Is there any user-friendly sites that would be worth looking at, i.e. not DEFRA.
Rob R

I find the www.farmersguardian.com one very good - most of the content seems to be on there. VSS

One thing I have never got is why Smallholding magazines are predominately 'how to do x, y, z' instead of up to date content on the latest whatever, such as in farming magazines, to avoid the saminess and keep the readership? I know they don't manage it completely, as if you wait long enough they start telling you to do something that they were telling you not to do last year but the latest market prices, shows and new developments are still there.

I think CS has moved more towards news content, reports etc in recent years, but I agree that market prices would be a good thing to have. Someone else on another forum (same topic) said the same. Trouble is though, there's lots of folk making stacks of money selling livestock, equipment, feed etc at vastly inflated prices to innocent newbies, and I don't suppose they'd want the readership to know the true value of, lets say, a Dexter calf (sorry Rob, couldn't resist that one Laughing )
Also, a lot of folk do look to magazines to find out how to do stuff. Certainly I always get good feedback on articles that actually give some practical instructions.
Rob R

A Dexter calf is worth more on the plate than in the field Wink 'Tis true though, some people do have some very funny ideas about what they have is worth - I think that possibly explains where it comes from!

Even I used to buy smallholding magazines years ago. Now I'm a hardened farmer I can't afford them. Laughing
VSS

I stopped buying it for about a year but bought the latest issue because i thought it was very good again. The article on Micro holding was kinda what i was thinking earlier, so someone was well ahead of me their. I always think of mags being aimed at introduction to something. If you need to know more you buy a book or go on some courses, so peoples knowledge will, over time out grow the mag content, so you need to pull in the interested but not yet commited and give them some pointers.

You sound just like someone who's worked in magazine publishing Rolling Eyes

You're probably right, but only if you think of readers simply in terms of numbers. Therefore, it doesn't matter if the "old" ones drop off the list, provided you're pulling in plenty of new ones. That way, it doesn't matter if you run roughly the same articles every couple of years.

My trouble is that I see the readers as people. People who I communicate with on a monthly basis, through the pages of the mag. Therefore, the content needs to move forward to keep apace of the folk who follow it on a monthly basis, while at the same time presenting the same facts in a fresh way in order to keep both the new readers and the old engaged.

As a case in point, I've managed to cover the subject of lambing in one of the spring issues for the last four years or so, without simply running the same piece again. Hopefully, each year there's been something for the newcomer, and, equally importantly, some additional interesting point for the old stagers who read last year's lambing piece.
In contrast, another long term sheep writer (in a mag that shall remain nameless) simply ran the same article each spring, with a few different pics.
VSS



Even I used to buy smallholding magazines years ago. Now I'm a hardened farmer I can't afford them. Laughing

Well, I've found out how to afford them ok. Paid to read them, more or less Wink
Rob R

Ah well, I've got it off to a finer art - I get someone else to do the writing! Laughing VSS

Ah well, I've got it off to a finer art - I get someone else to do the writing! Laughing

Yup, got that one sorted too!
Rob R

Either you've confused me with your 'i's or there's something I'm not aware of... VSS

Either you've confused me with your 'i's or there's something I'm not aware of...

There's something you're not aware of:
Two different magazines. Dot writes for one, I write for the other.
My allegiance lies wholly with CS, but that doesn't stop me reading her complimentary copy of the rival publication!
Rob R

Ah! Idea Smile Bodger

Being almost local, I enjoyed your articles on life on the island. clydesdaleclopper

One of the things that bugs me about the magazines is that when they do discuss planning issues they only ever seem to explain English law often without even pointing out that the position is different in Scotland. Fair enough they may not know the exact position in Scots law but they should make clear that there are differences (sorry - personal bugbear as a person who has taught Scots planning law for a long time Embarassed ) NorthernMonkeyGirl

Is it okay to resurrect an older thread?

I've bought the odd copy of various smallholder magazines.

What I'd like to see is less on "How to keep 3 pedigree hens in an Eglu", and something more like a halfway point to Farmers Guardian. I'm not from a farming background, so barely know one tractor implement from another. What would be good for me would be concise articles assuming the reader is intelligent but wet-behind-the-ears.

Some magazines don't seem to be in the real world - I can't afford all new this and that. What I can do is clear out a crumbling old pen and cobble together some hurdles. If I was shown the ideas and principles behind something, that would be more useful. E.g. tell me why you construct a lambing pen that particular size, and I can then decide if my version will fit the purpose. Sorry, rubbish example, but mind has gone blank.

Rules and regs always confuse me, but then they are always changing. Does this make them good or bad for magazine writing?
Have you written about your own experiences with new things/technologies/controversies e.g. EID?



[Completely off topic - I have your sheep book and think it's fantastic, thank you so much. I have only one query.... how to spray / mark management numbers on dark brown Hebrideans?! My lambing notes mainly consist of "Twins; ewe 1 blue tag 1 green tag. Single; ewe 1 blue tag, half a muddy green tag" Rolling Eyes ]
giveitago

Interesting post.

I have read smallholder a few times but do not want to see 5 pages on types of hen and the new eglu styles, or alpaca colours.

Id like more of make do and mend, how to construct a pen/fence from felled trees and branches. When and how to muckspread. How to treat pasture dependent on whats already there ie buttercup field. How to use a sythe and other tools. Companion animals, much like companion planting.

I would be particularly interested in some farming history, a sort of, how the victorians did it. Such as storing veg for the animals, down to earth medical care, how to move sheep. Im sure there is a wealth of lost knowledge that would be useful.
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