UK - Farmers are flocking to see an exciting new addition to the NSA Sheep Event programme on Tuesday 26th July, the day before the main event.
For the first time there is the opportunity to take a farm tour to visit two thriving farm businesses, both taking an innovative approach.
The first tour leaving the Three Counties Showground will visit Cwmwhitton in Knighton, Powys, where the family team of Colin and Phyllis Pugh and son Gareth run a 1,000-acre mixed farm and focus on adding value to their system by improving productivity and efficiency.
Gareth commented: “We run a flock of 850 Texel cross Welsh Mule breeding ewes and this cross has resulted in real improvements, with ewes holding their condition well on some of the farms harsher ground.
"But we still wanted to improve overall lambing percentage while keeping an eye on inputs, so we started using Aberdale genetics to produce more lambs per number of ewes.“
The Pugh family say they are looking forward to being part of the farm tour and showcasing their approach. Diversification has complimented their system and may provide some ideas for others, ahead of the main NSA Sheep 2016 on Wednesday 27th July. "‘Adding value’ is the theme of the event this year, and also a core business strategy for us,” said Gareth.
Also on the farm tour will be Stuart and Helen Morris, who run 1,000 pedigree Lleyn ewes. A significant change for them this year is taking on a full-time shepherd for the first time. Tom Richards took the job at the beginning of this year, around the same time that he was also selected as an NSA Next Generation Ambassador. In line with the couple’s ethos of ensuring the business remains profitable, Stuart and Helen have started working with another couple in the area who market local mutton under the name of Weobly Ash.
Stuart explained: “It really has been superb collaborating to promote local mutton. It ensures our meat has a market and that a quality product is sold. I’m hopeful this side of the business will continue to go from strength to strength.”
The business also sells roughly 250 ewe lambs and yearlings at five Lleyn Sheep Society sales each year, with the same number being sold privately, and the finished ram lambs going deadweight to Farmers Fresh, of which Stuart is a Director. “Although it’s a pedigree flock, it’s fundamentally a commercial business aiming to make a profit. It’s our livelihood and it needs to be viable,” concludes Stuart.
TheSheepSite News Desk