Why Tom would be an effective mentor

  • Tomos is a partner in the farm business that consists of 350 acres of land near Cowbridge where he runs a mixed farm enterprise alongside his dad.  Dairy, sheep, poultry, potatoes and firewood resulting in a lot of direct sales which keep him very busy!   
  • Tomos says that investing in a new RWAS award-winning solar-powered ‘off grid’ milking system in 2022, with pasteurised milk now sold from the vending machine at the top of the farm lane, has made a huge difference to the long-term viability of the farm. 
  • Despite his university thesis being on animal nutrition, because he’s short of time, he works with a farm nutritionist to ensure he follows an optimum feeding regime for all the livestock, but Tomos is already planning to invest in new software that will allow him to formalise daily rations and improve the current system of monitoring stock performance and productivity. 
  • Tomos is looking forward to sharing his knowledge and skills on behalf of Farming Connect, a role he is well used to, having always encouraged student placements at the farm, and as you’ll see from his list of specialisms, he’s got a lot of expertise to offer! 

Current farm business

  • The mixed farming enterprise currently comprises dairy, sheep, poultry and five acres of vegetable crops.  

  • The family bought a vending machine in 2022, located at the top of the farm lane.  They sell pasteurised milk, eggs and potatoes, as well as firewood, directly to customers.

  • 60 dairy cows and followers are milked daily on a Lely robot powered ‘off grid’ 

  • They have a flock of sheep, 100 pedigree Texel ewes and 350 Suffolk cross ewes.  Texel lambs are kept until shearlings and around 30 rams are sold each year for breeding. The Suffolk cross lambs are sold as fat lambs all lambs finished on farm. 

  • They keep around 200 hens which produce eggs sold from farm gate. 

  • All beef calves from the dairy cows are retained and finished on the farm.  Steers are finished and sold, and heifers will be sold with calves at foot. 

  • They also run a small herd of pedigree Herefords. C

  • Currently producing grass silage and maze, Tomos also has a contracting business offering forage harvesting and baling.

Qualifications/achievements/ experience

  • BSc (Animal Science) from Nottingham University, specialising in animal nutrition 

  • Was made a partner in his dad’s rented farming business in 2016

  • Worked for a year at a large local dairy unit, so understands the benefits of scale

  • Built up new business selling potatoes and firewood direct to consumers

  • Installed the first ‘off grid’ robotic milking system in the UK in 2020 during Covid, in a race against the clock, when they had just three months to convert a shed and get the cows installed.

  • Started up a milk vending enterprise in 2022, and won the gold award for whole milk at the RWAS in 2022

  • Involved in a Farming Connect discussion group for dairy which includes benchmarking

Top tips for business success

“Don’t ever get daunted, do your research thoroughly and seek all the advice you can whether that’s from other farmers or through training.   It will be worth it in the end!”
“Don’t rule anything out, look at all possible options that could make your farm more sustainable and more profitable.”