Farming Connect Study Visit - Carmarthenshire Agricultural Forum
The following report has been written by the farmers and forester who took part in the visits. All views and opinions included are their own.
Carmarthenshire Agricultural Forum
Blackpool and Uttoxeter
25th to 29th of October
We arranged this study visit in order to broaden the group’s outlook on agriculture and different methods of diversification in the current agricultural climate. The group has a variety of backgrounds from dairy and engineering to beef and sheep farming. We aimed to tailor the visits in order to be of interest to all of the participants.
2.1 Day 1
Colley Farms Dairy, Ludlow
During this visit we learned all about the pros and cons of contract farming whereby the farm was owned by one party and the cattle were owned with another party. This business principle can have its disadvantages, but provides opportunities for people to get into the industry with minimal capital investments. This visit also gave us an insight into the alternative methods and materials that can be used for setting up farm infrastructure.
2.2 Day 2
On the second day we travelled to Proctors Farm Limited near Preston where we learnt the importance of genetics and selective breeding. This farm had unconventional financial backing where money was no object. Cost is generally a prohibiting factor when it comes to design of agricultural buildings, but it was interesting to see the options available when money allows.
This farm invested in an alternative feed method, involving the production of high value feeds using hydroponics.
The afternoon involved visiting Laund Farm, the main contributor to The Sheep Milk Company. During this visit the group learnt about milking sheep and how it is an increasing business. One aspect of the farm business was the export of embryos and tups to other developing sheep milking countries. There is an increasing global market for sheep’s milk, with many of the group taking a key interest in this as it could be plausible diversification. The farm also ran a pedigree and conventional flock of Blue Face Leicesters.
2.3 Day 3
Guy Machinery, Clitheroe
On the third day we visited Guy Machinery a main Valtra, Ifor Williams and Krone dealer. From a humble beginning of dairy farming to contracting and then to its current situation, Guy Machinery has become a major player in the region. The business has flourished and is currently aiming its sales at current market trends, as seen by the sales of ATV’s to the public as well as farmers, and also Ifor Williams trailers across a variety of sectors from construction to horticulture. Traditionally the business has aimed its sales of trailers at the agricultural market but is currently exploring new outlets such as ground and plant. This visit showed us all that by working hard, being determined and willing to take opportunities a successful business can be created.
2.4 Day 4
The final day involved a visit to the JCB headquarters in Uttoxeter, world leaders in construction and agriculture equipment. Following an interesting historical tour of the business we were guided around the modern state of the art facilities where the production of the JCB loadall is undertaken. Throughout the tour the importance of the customer was emphasised as a key element of their continuous business growth. We learnt that in order for a business to succeed it is important to keep investing in the future and explore new outlets for your products. It is important to remember that with no customers there is no market.
3 Next Steps
The individuals of the group will return to their businesses and implement various aspects and ideas from the trip to their farming practices.
Upon returning the group will discuss key aspects from the different businesses visited, taking on board the viability of some of the ideas.
Diversification was a key aspect in most of the visits; we shall now explore different avenues to diversify at home and possibly arrange local visits which would further enhance our knowledge.