Reflections on the year

We are well into autumn now, with leaves on the ground and we had the first frost of the year last night.. a reminder that we are starting the long period of colder weather where we have a different set of challenges to manage – cold temperatures, frozen pipes, power cuts… How short a time it feels since we were trying to cool the tanks down during a heat wave!

The change in the weather has triggered me reflecting on the year and also looking ahead to 2020.

This year has , once again, been very busy. The first few months were completing the expansion of Byer Koi Farm to a commercial scale, including building and then fitting out our sales room. And, digging 4 new 30m fry ponds. We took trade stands at the 3 largest koi shows on the UK calendar. And, had customers win 2 major awards (and several best in size overall, and best in size/variety) with our koi…. Our customers also won prizes with our Ogons! The first awards for Adam Byer Koi, but with a different variety to Kohaku. And, we finally made a break through with Showa… After 2 years of small test spawnings we have taken a step forwards and look forward to being able to offer a good range of Showa along-side our Kohaku’s (and Karashigoi) in the spring. As I write this, we are just over a week away from our autumn event which this year features Showa, and we have over 50 people taking part.

The late summer karashigoi spawning was so late… it was almost an autumn spawning! Nevertheless, we squeezed out just enough from the last warm days and got them up to harvest size…. , just! And, they are now in our primary growing on system and should give us a good range of karashigoi and chagoi for 2020.

The year has not been without challenges. They’re different each year, but as with other types of farming… they do present themselves! We’re heading into the winter with more koi than we have ever before… which puts us in a good position for 2020.

Looking ahead to 2020…. The main focus will be making use of the latest kohaku brood stock brought in a year ago that I gave a test run to this year.. and will give pond space to next year. We will once again be focussing 75% of our space and facilities towards kohaku, and with the other 25%... a re-run of the ‘LMC’ showa spawning and putting at least one pond to Beni Kikokuryu will also be a focus. Also, with our new outdoor facilities starting to mature.. I'd expect next year to be more productive too.

We have koi in all our growing on tanks, and there is still much to do over the winter period. There’s a lot of growing those koi need to do.. and, several rounds of selections. We have the ‘Hey Presto, Showa!’ event in just over a week’s time, and with over 50 entrants… it’s going to be busy. And after that, we will have time to clear up after a busy summer, do annual maintenance and attend to any winter projects. Thankfully, less winter projects this year compared to last! But, there are always improvements that can be made and I’d be surprised if I don’t build at least one more tank over the Christmas break….