FINALIST FOR SHEEP INNOVATOR
OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by: Shearwell Data
Hendre Ifan Goch Farm, W.D. & J.R. Edwards, Mid Glamorgan
Rhys Edwards runs the 101ha family farm, near Bridgend in the South Wales valleys alongside his father. They run 550 ewes and 150 ewe lambs, mainly whiteface Mules.
For the last two years ewes have been single sire mated to top EBV rams to improve performance with AI used on 120 ewes achieving a 85 per cent conception rate as part of the AHDB and HCC’s Ram Compare project. This has resulted in more uniform lambs which are achieving better killing out percentages and carcase grades.
All lambing takes place inside with ewes fed a TMR which has not only enabled feed cost to be cut by £3000, but ewes are healthier and prolapses have been eliminated. As well as home-produced clamp silage which has been analysed it includes a blend for energy plus soya in the four weeks prior to lambing. It has also improved lamb birth weights which impacts on growth rates and finishing weights.
All ewes are EID recorded and lambs linked to sires and dams. They are weighed every two or three weeks from birth and DLWG closely monitored. Ewe lambs not being retained for breeding are sold direct from the farm using Facebook groups before the main breeding sales to achieve a premium price. Male lambs are sold both deadweight and through auction marts. Likewise, broken mouth ewes are sold early, before the market drops, to private customers with early lambing lowland flocks. Another source of income is selling a percentage of fleeces direct to local spinners.
Rotational grazing has recently been introduced to keep grass in front of the ewes and lambs at all times and potentially will allow more ewes to be kept. The whole farm has been limed and a reseeding plan is in place to improve grass growth rates.
The overriding aim of the sheep business it for it to be sustainable without subsidies and by controlling costs and constantly improving efficiency and productivity this is being achieved.