Breeding livestock is hugely fulfilling and rewarding, but it can also be heartbreaking and even traumatic when it goes wrong. Most smallholders will have experienced these highs and the lows. There is a real sense of achievement in helping to bring new life into the world, not to mention a sense of wonder and awe. When things don’t turn out well, however, we can feel a tremendous sense of responsibility, as well as sadness and disappointment. This month we launch a new series on successful breeding. It is written by Jack Smellie, who has a smallholding in Devon. Jack is passionate about her livestock, and thinks deeply about the many issues involved in breeding. This is very evident from her first feature, on pages 8-11. Jack goes back to first principles, asking why we choose to breed livestock in the first place. For smallholders, the reasons are often complex. She also asks what constitutes success in this context. Again, the answers are not that simple! We hope you enjoy this thought-provoking new series, and that it helps you as you bring new life into the world on your smallholding.
Simon McEwan, Editor
Jack Smellie with her two Boer goat nannies