This four day visit included beef, dairy and sheep farms in Wales, North Pennines and Northamptonshire!
Thursday 10 August 2017
Berryfields Farm, Northamptonshire
The first visit was to a beef finishing unit who also produce a complete range of cattle and sheep feeds manufactured using their own formulations. The CEO, John Bell explained the benefits of an integrated beef supply chain on this impressive 2000 head per year Dairy Beef finishing system. The group saw a complete supply chain taking 16 week old dairy bred calves arriving on farm at 120 to140 kg using their own high energy feeds to achieve a uniform 600 Kg liveweight ready to be sold direct to Dunbia supplying both the Co-op and Lidl.
Friday 11 August 2017
Ruthin Farmers Auction Company ( North Wales)
On Friday the group visited a livestock market in Ruthin hosted by Auctioneer Emyr Lloyd. The mart currently employs six full time and 15 part time staff and sells 3,000 lambs a week, 800 ewes and every class of cattle and sheep. It also runs machinery sales, a sheep dog sale and specialist Ram and Bull Sales. During the visit the group saw an auction of Prime Lambs and Cull Ewes
The market opened in 1992 and in 2015 they officially opened an extension which contains a new multipurpose hall for animal sales which can be used by the public for conferences and private events such as weddings. The extension also includes office space and extended the canteen.
The market webpage and Facebook carries an up-to-date diary of the specialist events and some useful livestock photographs. http://www.ruthinfarmers.co.uk
Jersey herd with Belgian Blue Cross
Richard Wynne, Company Chairman of Ruthin Farmers Auction then took the group to his farm nearby. Richard farms along with his two sons and has a 300 Jersey herd and uses a Belgian Blue cross to produce quality beef stock. Richard started the farm in 1960 with 54 acres and over the years has grown the farm to over 1000 acres spread across his own farm and tow farms owned by his sons.
He is achieving top price for his premium Jersey milk by selling it to a local cheese producer. Animals are housed and he was building a new open shed with cubicles and bedding using a sand, sawdust and lime mix. His sons were taking over most of the running of the farm which allowed them to try out new ideas in farming.
Limousin Cattle and North Country Hill Cheviot Ewes
The final visit of the day was to a hill farm owned by Glyn who is a Limousin Cattle Breeder. Glyn farms 486 hectares (1,200 acres) in partnership with his father, and runs a suckler herd of 140 head, comprising mainly of Limousin and British Blue cross home-bred cattle. The better type heifers are retained within the herd as replacements and the remainder are sold as store cattle aged between 12-14 months of age. Glyn purchases his stock bulls through Carlisle at the main Limousin and British Blue Society bull sales.
The farm also runs 1,000 North Country Hill Cheviot breeding ewes which are crossed with the Texel and with the same principal as the cattle, the better type gimmer lambs are retained as replacements and the rest are sold for finishing.
Glyn enjoy showing their home-bred cattle and regularly exhibit at many of the national events. Show awards include Reserve Champion heifer at Agri Expo, Reserve Champion and Best Home Bred heifer at the ILC in the same year with the same heifer; Royal Welsh Winter Fair winning Supreme Champion with a pedigree steer.
Saturday 12 August 2017
Swaledale Sheep and Limousin Cattle, County Durham
Tom and Kay Hutchinson are tenant hill farmers in the North Pennines breeding and Limosin Blue cattle. Tom is the son of a policeman but inherited his love of farming from his grandparents who had a farm nearby. Kay grew up on a smallholding but tenancy was the only way they could get into farming themselves. They rent their farm from the estate of Lord Barnard, the estate has many tenanted farms and a large number of houses and cottages in villages around Teesdale. There are 15 tenants on their fell alone where families have been tenants for several generations.
Kay had no knowledge of Swaledales until she met Tom who passed on his passion for the breed because of their ability to thrive and rear lambs in the worst possible conditions. Kay works for the local auctioneers and Tom does contract shearing to subsidise the farm income.
The farm family featured in the film ‘Addicted to sheep” whch captures a year in their life as north Pennines tenant farmers.