For 11 months of the year, there is a C-word that we dare not mention.
However, with the Late Late Toy Show on our screens tomorrow night, we can dare to mention it now.
Christmas, with its black Fridays and cyber Mondays, is slowly forcing its way into our mindset earlier every year, so it’s about time we spoke about presents for the farmer in your life.
We know they deserve something special, but some of them are a hard bunch to buy for.
Do they really appreciate the thermal socks, or the ice scraper we got them last year?
So let’s take a few minutes to look at what might be present options for the most hard working and well deserving among us, the farmer.
- Let's start with a stocking filler that every livestock farmer deserves.
It won’t break the piggy bank, at under €7, but they will thank you for it.
It’s a Tissue Sample Wristband from Cormac Tagging, which won the recent National Dairy Show’s engineering section Innovation Award, and it solves a frustrating problem for farmers.
Simply, it’s an effective way to securely hold tissue sample tubes while you tag calves, reducing the risk of losing them before you put them in the post.
By keeping them safe during the tagging process, and the subsequent period before placing in the envelope to post, it eradicates the delays in completion of calf registration caused by lost tubes.
The Tissue Sample Wristband is available to purchase on the Cormac Tagging website.
Sometimes it is the smallest and simplest presents that are appreciated most, this one ticks that box.
- The overall National Dairy Innovation Award winner at Millstreet last month was Herdwatch, and their product falls into a bigger present category, with pricing between €69 and €159 plus VAT, depending on farming type.
Their farm management application won the recent award at the National Dairy Show because of their new animal remedy feature that allows a smart phone camera act as a smart barcode scanner.
Farmers simply scan their farm medicines into the app to identify what medicine it is, what its corresponding VPA number is, automatically pulling in the batch-number, withdrawal dates, and also the expiry date.
- Speaking of smartphones, a rugged and robust Android phone may be the perfect present for the hardworking, outdoor person in your life.
Some of these are expensive, and head into four-digit figures.
However, a Doogee S60 is a cheaper alternative.
This Chinese phone is housed in a hard-wearing dust-proof body, and is water resistant, with a high spec, such as a 21MP camera and 64MB memory that any smartphone should be proud of.
- The ever popular Grassmen are true to form again in 2018, with a now annual pre-Christmas release of their latest DVD.
Agri is our Culture is a return to their roots. with a revisit to the characters from the 2014 edition called ‘Westbound & Down’.
The new DVD meets up with Killen Bros Contracting and McConaghy Contracts again, to see how things have changed over the past four year, as well as an introduction to one of Northern Ireland’s largest agricultural contractors, Wallace Contracts.
- Britain’s Farm Toys this year launched a model of Irish interest, with the Co Carlow-manufactured Keenans MechFiber 365 joining their collection.
Of course, for the adult farmer who wants one of these, it is called a model not a toy.
The green diet feeder was one of 11 new model releases in 2018 by the Tomy-owned brand.
The 1:32 scale model joins fellow Irish products like the NC Link-a-Sweep, and other popular models like the JCB 419S Wheeled Loading Shovel.
- The virtual farming world has a mass appeal, and make no mistake, Farming Simulator is here to stay.
The latest Farming Simulator 19 edition brings over 300 vehicles and tools, including leading brands such as John Deere, Case IH, New Holland, Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson, Valtra, Krone, Deutz-Fahr, and many more.
This computer game, available across most gaming platforms, offers the chance to gamers to specialise, as they develop and expand their virtual farm from one of three unique starting situations.
- There’s a new book on the success of the Irish Farmer calendar phenomenon.
Ciara Ryan founded the calendar six years ago, and now documents its success, with a full colour collection of 75 photos of young farmers naked from the waist up alongside their favourite livestock. The Irish Farmers Photo Book – 100% Beef follows on from the calendar which for the last two years was only beaten by the band, One Direction, in the Irish calendar sales charts.
- A more traditional package for book-loving farmers is described as Bridget Jones’s Diary meets All Creatures Great and Small.
This sums up Falling for a Farmer by Maura McElhone which blends amusing anecdotes with thoughtful reflections and lessons in love, life and farming.
It chronicles the journey of a returned emigrant coming back to re-discover Ireland, who transitions from a wide-eyed townie to full-blown farmer’s girlfriend.
- Let's wrap up with a great Irish children’s book, The Dingle Sheep Who Could Not Sleep by Mark Stratton with illustrations by Martine Moriarty.
It follows up Mark’s first book, The Dog from Dingle Who Lost His Bark, with a new story about a tired little lamb who can’t find anywhere to sleep.
It follows the problems that the tired little lamb has with his ‘sheeping bag’ and more.
The book is published by Naughty Bird Books and is available on their website or in book shops across Kerry, Cork and Waterford.