From farm to farm by air!

50 July 16 1968 by air SM Farm

A country running in area to some 5,000 square miles but with a population of just over 2,000.

Farms ranging from 40,000 to 160,000 acres with planes providing the normal transport.

Tens of thousands of sheep slaughtered regularly for the wool and hides but with the carcases thrown to the gulls.

These were some of the many memorable highlights of his recent five year stint in the Falkland Islands of 23-year-old Derry man Mr William Cunningham, Grillagh, Maghera, right.

FarmWeek recently carried a report that young men from all over the country and from practically every walk of life were queuing for two further vacancies on the Falklands for the period 1968-1972, and certainly Mr Cunningham’s on-the-spot report will not dampen the current enthusiasm for the trip.

“After a few weeks settling down I completely accepted the life,” Mr Cunningham told FarmWeek, “and I have no regrets about taking up the offer of a five-year contract in 1963.

“Perhaps I had certain advantages in having a brother already on the Falklands but overall I would not advise anyone against going.

“I have not decided whether to make a second visit but conditions and the money are tempting and I may well make an application for another contract.

Comparing conditions on the islands with “farming in Ireland on a mammoth scale,” Mr Cunningham said that sheep farming was the major enterprise with only sufficient cattle to meet local requirements for beef and milk.

“I was employed on a 160,000 acre holding which grazed approximately 40,000 sheep with a few acres of oats the main cropping programme,” he remarked.

“Horses are used for rounding up the sheep and the people rely almost exclusively on small aeroplanes for transport between farms or for the journeys to Stanley – the only major town on either island.

“Sheep are kept solely for the wool and to a lesser degree the hides and after slaughter the carcases are strewn over the fields where they are devoured by the gulls.”

Climatically conditions are similar to Ireland with few extremes experienced “despite the rather foreboding tales that are often written about the Falklands”.

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