Ear to the Ground Podcast

‘Ear to the Ground’ is a brand-new podcast, the first of its kind to be available in both Welsh and English, that will share technical information, advice, support and inspiration to the farming community in Wales.

Episodes are just 20/30 minutes long and will include interviews with farmers and industry experts on a range of topical themes.

A new episode will be published every fortnight, and topics for the Autumn months will include conversations recorded at the Innovation and Diversification Wales event, the Farming the Environment event and an opportunity to get to know some of our new demonstration farmers.





Episode 30 - Carbon neutral farming – the path to ‘net zero’

The government has set a target of reaching ‘net zero’ in terms of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and the NFU wants to see farmers reaching that target by 2040. But how are we going to get there? What is ‘net zero’ and what does it mean for farmers in Wales? To tackle these questions we catch-up with Hugh Martineau from Brecon, who is a part of a group of farmers who have come together to try and map out the path to ‘net zero’.

Podcast Transcript


Episode 1 - Rotational Grazing

Aled Jones and Jim Ellis will be finding out more about the benefits of rotational grazing with James Daniels of Precision Grazing and visiting Rhidian Glyn at Rhiwgriafol Farm and Irwel Jones at Aberbranddu Farm.


You can also watch this podcast on our youtube channel by clicking here.


Episode 2 - Innovation & Diversification

In this episode, Aled and Jim will be sharing some highlights from Farming Connect’s new event called Innovation and Diversification Wales. The podcast includes discussions with Daniel Sumner of Microsoft, Geraint Hughes of Madryn Foods, Wilfred-Emmanuel Jones (The Black Farmer), Cath Price of Upper Hall Farm and Eirwen Williams, Head of Farming Connect together with a number of the trade exhibitors and visitors.


Episode 3 - Farming the Environment

In this episode, Aled and Jim will be talking about the environment and how improving environmental performance can help make farming businesses more sustainable and profitable. Recently, they went along to an event organised by Farming Connect called Farming the Environment at the Henfaes Research Centre which is part of Bangor University and the podcast includes discussions with Prysor Williams, Llŷr Jones, Dewi Hughes, Teleri Fieldon, Geraint Davies and Catherine Nakielny.

You can also watch this podcast on our youtube channel by clicking here.


Episode 4 - John Yeomans

This episode comes from an area called Adfa near Newtown, the home of John Yeomans and his family at Llwyn y Brain Farm. John farms in partnership with his wife, Sarah, and the farm extends to 284 acres. They keep a suckler herd of about 70 cattle and a flock of 500 Beulah Speckled Faced Ewes.

The reason Aled and Jim have gone to see John is to hear more about his research project through Farming Connect’s Management Exchange programme, which enabled him to visit Ireland and Finland to broaden his understanding of how to improve grassland utilisation and to look at better grading systems for beef and lamb carcasses.

John’s opinions are his, not those of Farming Connect.


Episode 5 - Rick de Vor

This episode focusses on the new environmental expectations of farmers in Wales particularly around the management of nutrients. From the 1st January 2020, new rules will be introduced to control when nitrogen and organic fertilisers are spread on the land, how much storage capacity is required for slurry as well as the need to prepare detailed plans and records.

In anticipation of these new rules, Farming Connect organised an event (in partnership with the AHDB) at Gelli Aur College Farm. One of the main speakers was a Dutch Nuffield Farming Scholar, Rick de Vor. Aled caught up with him during the day to learn more about how he’s adapted to farm within some very strict regulations over nutrient management and how he’s seen some benefits to his business.


Episode 6 - Agri Academy Business & Innovation Group – Study Visit to Holland

Hear about the Agri Academy Business & Innovation Group  Study Visit to Holland, including their visit to a very unique floating farm in Rotterdam.


Episode 7 - Growing Christmas Trees with David Phillips

Growing Christmas Trees with David Phillips, Clearwell Farm, Cardiff, who has recently taken advantage of Farming Connect’s Management Exchange programme. Aled and Jim visit the farm at the busiest time of the year for them.


Episode 8 - Erw Fawr, Farming Connect's Demonstration Farm, Holyhead, Anglesey 

In this episode we visit Erw Fawr on Anglesey, which is one of Farming Connect’s new demonstration farms. We have the farmer Ceredig Evans and Farming Connect's Dairy technical officer Rhys Davies as company.   


Episode 9 - Junior Agri Academy Study Visit to Iceland

Follow the Junior Agri Academy as they take a look at agriculture and farm diversification in Iceland. Highlights include a visit to a farm hotel, a mixed dairy and sheep farm, a tomato farm, a slaughterhouse and a meeting with the Icelandic Lamb marketing agency.


Episode 10 - Genus' "Feed Face" technology being trialled on a robotic dairy farm

In this episode, we visit Hardwick Farm near Abergavenny to meet dairy farmer, David Jones, and Genus’ Technical Services Consultant, Patrick Spencer. David and Patrick explain the benefits of using the Genus feed face technology to monitor cow feeding and general behaviour. Hardwick Farm is the first robotic milking farm to install this technology in the UK. 

Our open day at Hardwick will be on the 7th of May, so come along to see this technology in action.


Episode 11 - Farm Diversification with Jeremy Bowen Rees

In the first of a series of episodes looking at farm diversification, Jeremy Bowen Rees, Managing Director of Landsker Business Solutions, talks through the key considerations when developing a new rural enterprise, the emerging trends and future opportunities.


Episode 13 - Magic Day and the value of spring grass with Rhys Williams, Precision Grazing Ltd

Listen to our latest Podcast with Rhys Williams, Precsion Grazing Ltd. Rhys highlights the value of spring grass and discusses how best to utilise it during the challenging spring of 2020.


Episode 14 - Safe Use and Application of Slurry

A new course has been launched to help learners develop their knowledge and skills in the safe use and application of slurry and farmyard manure. Aled went along to one of their pilot courses earlier this year where he met Chris Duller, a specialist in soil and nutrient management, Keith Owen, a farm infrastructure consultant and Kevin Thomas of Lantra Wales.


Episode 15 - Navigating your farming business through Coronavirus

In this episode, Dr Nerys Llewelyn Jones of Agri Advisor Solicitors provides an overview of the new rules and financial support measures in place to help farming and diversified businesses navigate their way through the Coronavirus pandemic. Also, Eirwen Williams of Menter a Busnes explains how Farming Connect is supporting the industry digitally through the current crisis and encourages everyone to stay connected.


Episode 16 - Diversifying into selling Biltong

In 2017, Michael and Rachel George, had the idea to take beef from their family farm and turn into biltong – a meat snack inspired by South African culture. Three years later, the production has outgrown their kitchen to a purpose-built premises and they have successfully developed the “From Our Farm” brand. Tune in to hear their story.


Episode 17 - Forage Crop Options with Marc Jones

In this episode Jim Ellis speaks to Marc Jones, a well known Forage crop and out-wintering specialist and farms 500 acres at Trefnant Hall on the Powis Estate near Welshpool. He grows 50 to 60 acres of Fodder beet annually. Marc runs through the pros and cons of out-wintering on forage crops and what to consider if you're putting in a crop this year.


Episode 18 - Ear to the ‘New Zealand’ Ground with Rhys Williams

Earlier this year Rhys Williams of Precision Grazing Ltd visited New Zealand to meet leading agribusiness consultants, to observe sustainable livestock productions systems and to asses how their agricultural industry in responding to the environmental challenges. Tune in to find out what he learnt.


Episode 19 - The pros and cons of a multi cut silage system

In this episode Aled is joined by farmer Hugo Edwards from Newport, Gwent, and Richard Gibb a Farming Connect Mentor that has been working to improve milk production from forage by implementing a multi cut silage system. Hear how the farm has achieved significant financial savings by producing more milk from forage.


Episode 20 - Gain a better understanding of your business by becoming a discussion group member

This week Aled interviews Iwan Davies, Hafod y Maidd, Corwen. Iwan is a member of the Hiraethog Beef Group and see's his involvement integral to the improved performance of his business. Geraint Jones, Business consultant at Kite Consulting has analysed the business performance of the group and strived to increase profit margins over the last few years.


Episode 21 - Farming Connect's Women in Agriculture week overview

This week we'll reflect on Farming Connect's Women in Agriculture week. In this episode we hand over the interview to a guest presenter to obtain the highlights from three that joined the week digitally. 


Episode 22 - Diversifying into holiday accommodation – the story of Plas Gwyn farmhouse

Despite the challenges the tourism industry has faced in recent months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a renewed interest in diversifying into holiday accommodation. With more people considering holidays within the UK, could this be an opportunity for farming businesses? In this episode, we hear the story of one our co-presenters, Jim Ellis, who’s family has combined farming with tourism for many years and Jim has recently completed a major renovation project of Plas Gwyn farmhouse. Tune in to hear more about his experiences and how Jim has put his skills in social media marketing to good use.


Episode 23 - The advantages of planting trees on your land

Have you considered planting trees on your farm? Are you aware of the multiple benefits and income potential? In this episode, Geraint Jones, Forestry Technical Officer for Farming Connect, explains the options and talks through the all important principle of having the right tree in the right location for the right reason.


Episode 24 - Marketing Welsh Meat with Food and Drink expert Mark Mc C

An unprompted interview with food and drink marketing expert Mark Mc C to discuss how we market our Welsh produce and how the food and drink industry in London see's the Welsh brand.


Episode 25 - Managing Winter to Maximise Spring

Planning your winter grazing is key to maximising your spring grass. In this episode, Rhys Williams of Precision Grazing Ltd talks through the process of creating a winter feed budget and explains the options for filling any feed gaps over the next few months.


Episode 26 - Stronger together- Neighbouring farms move from the conventional to set up a dairy joint venture

In this episode we meet two progressive farmers, Emyr Owen and Gwydion Jones who have decided to join forces and set up a spring calving herd on the hills above Llanrwst.


Episode 27 - Agriculture needs the Environment and the Environment needs Agriculture

Those were the sentiments of this week’s contributor, Prysor Williams. Aled Jones asks Prysor to share his vision for Welsh Agriculture for the next ten years and how Welsh Farming needs to grasp the opportunity to develop its brand of environmentally friendly and high animal welfare produce.


Episode 28 - Managing upland pasture for economic and environmental benefits

In this episode, we meet Farming Connect’s newly appointed Red Meat Technical Officer for North Wales, Dr Non Williams, who has recently completed a 3-year PhD study into the sustainability of upland cattle farming systems. In particular, she looked at ways in which pasture productivity can be increased whilst lowering any negative environmental impacts.


Episode 29 - All grass wintering system and building business resilience through grazing management

We recently visited one of our Prosper from pasture group members Bleddyn Davies, Blaenglowon Fawr, Talgarreg, Ceredigion to hear how his grazing management has evolved since enrolling on the programme and how this element now drives his business aspirations for the future.

Podcast Transcript