Cae Haidd Ucha Farm Facts
- Cae Haidd is a challenging beef and sheep upland farm located in Snowdonia. Paul and Dwynwen Williams, along with their young family and uncle farm the 320 acre unit.
- They have three children, Brenig the eldest is 7, Briallen is 4 and Celt has just turned 1.
- Cae Haidd Ucha extends to 320 acres in total, 306 of which are owned.
- Land on the main holding ranges from between 900 feet and 1,200 feet, with 50 acres of off-lying land at less than 100 feet above sea level.
- Most of the land is within the Snowdonia National Park, and the mountain is part of the designated Hiraethog Special Area of Conservation.
- The farm is currently in the Advanced and Commons elements of Glastir.
Changes afoot at Cae Haidd
For many years, Paul and Dwynwen have been benchmarking their business in detail, comparing the two main enterprises, i.e. suckler cows and sheep. For some years, the suckler cow enterprise has been performing much better than the sheep enterprise in terms of income per Livestock Unit (LSU); and due to the decline in demand for lamb in recent years and the uncertainty regarding Brexit, they have decided to stop keeping sheep.
All the sheep have now been sold, and the new calf rearing enterprise, rearing beef calves from the dairy herd, has already begun. The first calves arrived at Cae Haidd two weeks ago, and they have settled in the old sheep shed, which Paul has been adapting over the summer. The calves are fed using an automatic feeder, which keeps track of everything and notifies Paul via text message if one of the calves is not feeding as it should. The business plan includes having three batches of calves on the farm, 40 at a time with two months between each batch. This means that they only need one feeding machine, reducing establishment costs.
The calves will be kept on the farm until they are 16 months old, grazing on a rotational system during the summer. Once the calves arrive at their liveweight target, they will be sold on to a finishing unit.
In addition, Paul and Dwynwen intend to increase the suckler herd to 60 cows. They can do this without additional outlay or infrastructure which means that costs per head will decrease further.
- The family have diversified outside agriculture in recent years. Dwynwen is running a marquee hiring business in the local area; and they have also invested in a 20Kv wind turbine – both business are independent of the farming enterprise.