31 July 2023
A new network, Farming Connect Our Farms, is taking a lead on helping Welsh agriculture transition to a net zero future with the farms involved trialling novel innovations and technologies in their own systems.
Farming Connect officially launched its ‘Our Farms’ network at the Royal Welsh Show last Monday (24 July) when it unveiled the identity of those 15 farms.
From Anglesey in the north to Pembrokeshire in the south, they feature a diverse range of systems, from beef and sheep to dairy and poultry, but with a shared ambition to build resilience and sustainability amid a changing climate.
Over the next two years, the farms will host Farming Connect open days to share best practice and new ideas that originate from their on-farm projects and trial results.
Among the farmers recruited are red meat farmers Rhodri and Claire Jones, who farm at Brynllech Uchaf, Llanuwchllyn, Meirionnydd.
Among their ambitions in becoming part of the Our Farms network are to reduce their dependence on purchased forage and to find a pasture seed mix that suits their system, land and climate.
It follows on from advice they were once given: “The most useful bit of advice we have ever been given is to change if it suits you and to improve what you are trying to do,’’ said Rhodri.
Also recruited to the network are livestock farmers David, Eryl and Daniel Evans, of Tanygraig, Lampeter, who have already seen the benefits of utilising technology with a CCTV system that has transformed lambing and calving.
They aim to embark on projects that use other technologies too, to help futureproof their business, and to reduce costs without reducing output.
For Sian, Aled and Rhodri Davies, who run a mixed farm at Cwmcowddu, Llangadog, North Carmarthenshire, a key area they want to focus on as Our Farms farmers is how they can make better use of chicken manure to reduce their purchased fertiliser needs.
Improving the nutrition and fertility of their dairy herd is another aspiration.
“We also want to focus on increasing the amount of forage we grow, and making it more drought tolerant,’’ said Aled.
The other ‘Our Farms’ farms are:
- Chris and Glyn Davies, Awel y Grug, Welshpool, South Montgomeryshire (Red Meat)
- Marc, Wynn and Bethan Griffiths, Cilthrew, Llansantffraid, North Montgomeryshire (Red Meat)
- Jeff, Sarah, Enfys and Medi Wheeler, Clyngwyn, Clynderwen, Pembrokeshire (Dairy)
- Deryl and Francis Jones, Rhyd Y Gofaint, Aberaeron, North Ceredigion (Dairy)
- Robert and Jessica Lyon, Lower House Farm, Llandrindod Wells, Radnorshire (Mixed )
- Sarah Hammond and Robert Williams, Glyn Arthur Farm, Llandyrnog, Denbigh (Red Meat)
- Dylan, Gwenda and Gwion Roberts, Cornwal Uchaf, Gwytherin, Conwy (Red Meat)
- David, Heulwen and Rhys Davies, Moor Farm, Holywell, Flint (Dairy)
- Ifan Ifans, Tyddyn Cae, Pwllheli, Gwynedd (Dairy)
- Roger and Dyddanwy Pugh, Crickie Farm, Llangorse, Brecon (Red Meat)
- Gerallt Jones, Graianfryn, Llanfachraeth, Anglesey (Red Meat)
- Nigel Bowyer and family, Ty Coch Usk, Monmouthshire (Red Meat)
Introducing the farms to the industry, Siwan Howatson, Head of Technical at Farming Connect, said that through the projects and trials that will be taking place across the farms forming the Farming Connect Our Farms network, the hope was that farmers across Wales will be inspired and encouraged to try innovative ways of working and new technologies to increase the long-term sustainability of their own farming businesses.