Young Farmer Focus

Dafydd Davies, 17, lives at Penbryncoch Farm, Parc, Bala, Gwynedd, North Wales. The Family Farm is an unit of 182 acres plus a challenging mountain farm of 750 acres in Trawsfynydd, they run a herd of 30 pedigree Welsh Black Cattle and 1,150 Welsh Mountain ewes between the two farms. He studies Agri‐culture at Glynllifon Agriculture College.

by Anne Birkett, FUW press officerI’VE just finished my first year of college and will be starting my second year in September. Since I’ve finished college for the summer I’ve been working on the family farm with my father catching up with essential jobs such as shearing our flock of sheep and starting on our silage harvest.

To earn myself some money I’ve also started going out shearing with a contractor a few days a week and I’m currently able to shear a little over a 100 per day. I hope to gain more shearing work and more experience next year.

Our family farm is a 182 acre hill farm and we run a herd of 30 pedigree Welsh Black cattle which are split into two calving blocks in the autumn and spring. We finish our heifers which we don’t keep as replacement and sell them to our local butcher. The steers are sold as strong store cattle at our local market in Dolgellau.

We also run a flock of 1,150 Welsh Mountain sheep. Half of which are put to a terminal ram to produce butchers lamb and the other half to breed replacements. We have just started selling our finished lambs at our local market and we will be selling lambs weekly until December. We try and finish our lambs off grass to cut feeding costs.

Since I’ve started at Glynllifon College I have had lots of experiences and opportunities. Over the course of the year I have travelled to see different types of farms plus an educational trip to Holland. It was interesting how farmers in other countries used technology to produce food cheaper.

Back in May the college entered us to compete at the Welsh NSA sheep event in the ‘Young Shepherds’ competition, under 21 age group, and I came joint first and now I will be representing Wales in the UK Sheep Event in Malvern next year.

After I finish at Glynllifon I hope to go and study agriculture at Aberystwyth University and after that I would like to travel to New Zealand to shear sheep and work on farms to gain more knowledge and experience about the industry. After that I hope to come home to work on the family farm and bring new ideas on how to improve our business with me.

Let’s hope that there will still be a bright future for young farmers in the farming industry for years to come. There are a lot of challenges facing young farmers like myself. One thing I see challenging is to try and persuade my father to take on new ideas to potentially develop our business instead of following the same routine every year.

I’m a firm believer in trying out new ideas and not to be afraid to take a gamble. But there are a lot of challenges facing the whole industry. The uncertainty of lamb, beef and milk prices from week to week makes it hard to plan for the future and think of ways to expand our business.

With Brexit casting a shadow over the whole industry, who knows what will face British farmers after 2020. One thing is certain, we will just have to wait and see and hope for the best.

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