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Wales Farmer 4 NEWS

Stockman takes tip fromdairy rotation

■ Making the most of your grass system

By Debbie James

ADOPTING agrazing sys- tem more commonly associated with dairy farms will allow anorth Wales sheep and beef producer to increase his

stocking rates. Thomas Jones runs aflock of

850 ewesand 70 beef cattle at PenarfynyddFarm, Rhiw,near Pwllheli. Forthe last five years he has been contract rearing 100 dairy heifers too. It is the experience thathehas

gained from managing heifer grazing thathas made him realise arotational grazing system could work equallywell with cattle and sheep. “I want to be able to keep more

stock so by managing my grass better,bymoving the stock to newpastures every twodaysor so,Iwill be in aposition to do that,’’ Mr Jones told aFarming Connect knowledge transfer event at his farm. The event drew one of the

world’sleading experts on pas- ture-based systems,John Bailey. He advocates rotational grazing forall systems with benefits including better utilisation from increased grass growth.

NO DOWNSIDE: Rotational grazing will allow Thomas Jones to increase his stocking rates.

PICTURE: Debbie James Tight grazing management –

moving stock every 24 to 72 hours –will increase dry matter production by up to 50% through intensified tillering and better plant care, said Mr Bailey. But thereare also very impor-

tant rolloverbenefits. He added: “Good grazing

management equals morerespect forthe plant and thus enhanced root development.’’

This leads to better soil fertili-

ty,healthier plants with better balanced mineral content forani- mal nutrition, and an increased dry matter quantity to palatabili- ty ratio. Mr Bailey can see no down-

sides to introducing rotational grazing on beef and sheep systems. “The little time it takes pays foritself tenfold. The farmer gets

to see the stock close up on avery regular interval basis.’’ And better grass equals health-

ier animals. At PenarfynyddFarm, Mr

Jones and his uncle,Emlyn Jones, currentlyrun aset stocking sys- tem butwill adopt rotational grazing next season. To set the system up they have

invested well in reseeding pas- tures with medium termleys of

ryegrasses and clovermix. They will use electric fencing

to divide the fields and, although this will mean some additional work and aone-offcost forthe fencing, they said the benefits far outweighed anydownsides. “I am keen to takethe farm

forwardbygetting as much as I can offgrass.Grassland is the cheapest wayofproducing stock,’’ said Thomas Jones.

July 2012

£6.8m boost to aid hunt for new varieties

ARESEARCH facility capable of developing new plant and crop varieties to counter food security and climate change challenges has been unveiled in Wales. The new £6.8million National Plant Phenomics Centre at Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), is designed for the high throughput non- destructive phenotyping of awide range of plant material. It is also unique in the UK because it has the ability to provide high throughput phenomic information on plants grown under UK conditions. The system acquires measurements on plants grown in agreenhouse that are moved automatically by a conveyor system to a range of imaging systems that record their physical characteristics. Each plant container in the system is individually identifiable, allowing imaging, watering and nutrition to be individually programmed and recorded.

Broadband action urged

THE Welsh Government’s pledge to supplyfast broad- band to businesses and households

in Wales’

remotest regions by 2015 are being challenged by afarm- ing union. The Country Landowners




Association in Wales says it is sceptical thatthe objec- tivesand priorities can be realised. Last summer,the Welsh

Government announced it would supplyall households and business with next gen- eration broadband by 2015. But CLA Wales director, Ben Underwood, said very

little progress had been made while rural businesses were being severely disad- vantaged. This had been compounded by the recent increase in RoyalMail postal charges. “Each and every daythat

passes forthese businesses mean they arelosing out, especiallyasgovernment increasinglystrivestodigi- talise most formsofadmin- istration such as the Single Farm Payment,’’ said Mr Underwood. “A basic service forevery-

one else,the lack of broad- band in rural Wales is put-

ting Welsh businesses at a competitive disadvantage.’’ He said it wasamatter of

urgency thatcurrent ‘not spots’ were connected. “The CLA welcomed the

introduction of the Welsh Government’sbroadband support grant scheme in 2010, butfranklythis was onlyeverashort termfix, falling short of solving the problem head-on. “The scheme does not get

to grips with the overarching issue thatWales’ current broadband infrastructureis unsatisfactory,’’added Mr Underwood.

Honourfor RAS fellows

THREE Welsh farmers who became associates of the RoyalAgricultural Societies in 2007 have been granted fellowships fortheir continu- ing contributions to the farming industry.

David Trostrey

Morgan Court,

of Usk,

Monmouthshire, is well- known as aprogressive and innovative farmer and also as the founder of the family firm Morgans of Usk, which designs and constructs steel- framed buildings.

Mr Morgan playedalead-

ing part in the regeneration of the Usk Showand he has also been an active support- er and is aformer county president of the YFC.Heis

For the latest Wales farming news:

apast chairman of the Monmouthshirebranch of the

British Grassland

Society and is adeputy lieu- tenant forGwent.

John Phillips of

Whitland, Carmarthenshire, is anoted breeder of pedi- gree sheep and cattle.Inthe pursuit of his aim to contin- uallyimprovethe quality of his Grownherdhehas trav- elled extensively on fact- finding tours in Zimbabwe, Canada and France.

He is amember of the

council of the Limousin Cattle Society,aformer chairman of Wales YFC,a community councillor,dea- con at his chapel and aJP.

Bryan Williams of

Ruthin, Denbighshire, is for- mer head of agricultureat Llysfasi College,wherehe helped to establish the col- lege as acentreofexcellence forshearing.

He waschief referee dur-

ing the WorldShearing Championships at the Royal Welsh Showin2010.

He represents Wales on

the Shearing WorldCouncil and judged at the 2012 WorldChampionships in NewZealand earlier this year.

He has also become

renowned forhis skill as a sheep breeder and wonthe Lleyn Pedigree North/Mid Wales Flock Competition in 2010.

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