FWGS Grassland Management Competition 2009

FWGS Grassland Management Competition 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Final Round Judging - 24 and 25 June 2009

High quality swards reap competition success

Excellent grassland management resulting in high quality, weed free swards enabled the winner and runner-up to stand out amongst the five finalists for this year's Federation of Welsh Grassland Societies Grassland Management Competition. A very worthy winner was Bryn - Rhydd, Edern, Pwllheli, the family farm of Dylan Tudur Jones a member of South Caernarfon Grassland Society. The 120 hectare (297 acres) farm carries 150 Holstein dairy cows, 143 followers and 205 ewes (pedigree Texel, Suffolk and Berrichion). The herd averages 9200 litres per cow with an impressive 4300 litres produced from grass and forage. Concentrate use is just over 2 tonnes per cow.  The ewe flock produces 80 breeding rams for sale annually with the rest of the lambs sold as finished lambs.

Some 2500 tonnes of silage is made annually comprising of 1800 tonnes of clamped grass silage, 300 tonnes of grass silage in big bales and 400 tonnes of clamped whole crop silage.

The farm has a South to South West aspect and is some 120 feet above sea level on the northern coast of the Lleyn Penninsula and as such is prone to burning in dry years. Of the total farm area there are 39 hectares of wet land, which restricts the area for grazing, particularly during the wet years of 2007 and 2008. Some 24 hectares of good quality grass is rented in as grass keep.

A notable recent development has been the construction of 2.5 kilometre of cow tracks using construction stone and dust only (some 10, 000 tonnes in total), which has certainly improved the running of the farm.

Runner-up in the competition was Gorslwyd, Senny, Sennybridge, the family farm of Ken Morgan a member of Brecon Grassland Society. This is a 142 hectare upland beef and sheep farm at around 1000 feet above sea level within the Brecon Beacons National Park. Stocking comprised of 50 suckler cows and 900 ewes with some 45 younger cattle, 230 ewe lambs and 26 rams. Some of the Brecnock Hill Cheviot ewes are crossed with Blue-Faced Leicester.

The other three finalists were all dairy farms namely:

  • David Phillips, Fferm Trebared, Gwbert Road, Cardigan. (Cardigan and District GS).
  • Simon Richards, Little Hasguard Farm, Dale Road, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire (Cleddau GS).
  • Ben Beddoes, Common Piece Farm, Churchstoke, Powys (Powys GS).

Lead judge, Arthur Davies, IBERS, Bronydd Mawr remarked that this year's finalists were a good bunch and all five farms had some very good features both from policy and management point of view, but that the winner and runner up both stood out due to the excellent state of the grassland (both grazing and conservation areas) at the time of the visit. This was also the opinion of his fellow judges namely, Bryn Edmunds, HSBC bank (sponsors of the competition) and Emyr Jones, Rhiwaedog, Rhosygwalia, Bala, last year's winner.

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