Young farmers from Brecon and Radnor have come together for the county's first ever youth academy event to discuss farming matters and to see how different feeding regimes and rotational grazing can help improve efficiency.
The meeting was hosted by FUW member Keith Williams and his family at The Hendy, Hundred House, where the family have been farming since 1902.
Keith took over from his father in the early 2000s and the farm is just over 400 acres of upland and reclaimed hill land, stocked with 800 cross-bred ewes and 20 Welsh Black suckler cows. The farm is also in Glastir Advanced.
Keith was awarded an HCC scholarship in 2008, was awarded Farmers Weekly Sheep Farmer of the Year in 2013 and completed a Nuffield Scholarship in 2014. The Hendy was an HCC Demonstration Farm from 2008 to 2011.
Starting the event, Keith explained his Total Mixed Ration (TMR) feeding regime and how he feeds Sopralin, a protected Soya, to his ewes before lambing for protein, as opposed to untreated soya. His rations mean that he feeds 50g of protected protein, Sopralin, per lamb carried for the last 30 days of pregnancy plus 25g of powdered mineral/vitamins supplement, as well as good quality silage.
He said: “This regime has brought the cost of feed per ewe down by almost two thirds compared to using concentrates. Another benefit is that we have fewer prolapses due to better digestibility.”
Members then enjoyed a farm walk to see Keith’s rotational grazing regime and further discussed the cost benefits of his farming methods. A lively and engaged audience meant plenty of questions and discussions as everyone made their way round the paddocks and the tour ended back in the lambing shed where further farming matters were discussed.
Darren Williams, FUW Brecon and Radnor County Chairman, commented: “The next Youth Academy Event is being planned for early 2018 and I hope that we can build on the success of this one, particularly after all the enthusiasm displayed by those who attended. I would like to thank Keith and his family for making this event such an interesting one for all involved.”