Why Rhidian would be an effective mentor
- Coming from a non-farming background, Rhidian began his career in agriculture as an animal feed sales representative but had his heart set on becoming a farmer. In 2008, Rhidian started out by renting nine acres of poor grazing land for 15 Welsh Mountain ewes, and followed by taking on any grazing land which became available in the local area.
- In 2014, Rhidian secured a 10-year farm business tenancy on a 530-acre hill farm and also holds an 11-month grazing license on 160 acres near the main holding. The flock has now grown to 900 ewes and 250 replacements. Lambs are mainly sold to Tesco on a cost of production contract. Rhidian also started a new heifer rearing enterprise in 2014, receiving batches of 110 calves and rearing them for 16 months, meaning there are 220 heifers grazing rotationally over summer period.
- Rhidian puts great emphasis on improving efficiency within his business, using performance recording to maximise the production of his flock and rotational grazing to help improve the profitability and productivity of his land. He has been rotationally grazing heifers since 2014 and has set up an easy and effective system to graze heifers to maximize growth rates on a forage system while improving grassland and stock carrying capacity on the land.
- Rhiwgriafol has been a Farming Connect demonstration farm since 2016, running projects focusing on tackling ewe lameness, growing swede, and sheep wintering options and making better use of grass. Rhidian says that this opportunity has given him access to top industry information and advice, which has not only benefitted his business, but other ambitious farmers who have attended open days wanting to learn about working more efficiently or profitably.
- Rhidian believes that you should make the most of every opportunity and has been heavily involved in farming’s wider community over the years. Rhidian has benefited from many Farming Connect services including using the Advisory Service to create a business plan.
- As a new entrant to farming, Rhidian can provide guidance for those starting their farming career on how to grow a viable business.
Current farm business
- 530 acres on a Farm Business Tenancy, 160-acre grazing licence
- 900 Welsh mountain ewes and 250 replacements, crossed with Aberfield rams and breeding females sold at a premium
- 110 Kiwicross heifers, reared for 16 months
Qualifications / achievements / experience
- 2010: Chairman, Bro Ddyfi YFC
- 2008: BSc Agriculture, Aberystwyth University
- 2009-2019: Secretary, Bro Ddyfi Grassland Society
- 2013: Member of the Agri Academy Business & Innovation Programme, Farming Connect
- 2013-2019: Treasurer, Aberhosan Show
- 2016-2019: Farming Connect Demonstration Farm
- 2018: Gold Winner of the New Entrant Award: Against All Odds, British Farming Awards
TOP TIPS FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS
“Although new entrants bring new ideas to the pot, you have to be ready to listen to the experience and knowledge of others.”
“Try to learn off other people’s mistakes so you don’t have to make them yourself.”
“Be adaptable and have a fall back plan.”