Since taking over their upland beef and sheep farm just four years ago, Paul and Dwynwen Williams have made huge steps forward, expanding the beef herd to 42 cows and starting a new dairy calf rearing enterprise.

A big focus has been placed on investing in infrastructure and technology and data, which is paying off in profit.

Farm Business Survey results from the last two years show they are well placed in the top third of financial performance for suckler cow production.

See also: Read about all the Beef Farmer of the Year 2017 finalists

Paul and Dwynwen Williams

Caie Haidd Farm, Conwy

© Richard Stanton

Investing in new slatted cattle housing has taken the feeding and bedding time down from 2.5 hours for 28 cows to 30 minutes for 40 cows.

Winning ways 

  • Increasing efficiency and profit through data and technology
  • Proactive and innovative approach
  • Knowledge of market and how to hit it
  • Passionate contribution to wider agricultural industry

And they have successfully used heat detection collars to pull the all-year-round calving herd back to a block window, tighten the calving index from 420 to 370 and lift conception rates to 74% of cows in calf after first service and 96% in calf after a second service. Their system is an efficient one.

As part of their herd expansion, they have been using sexed semen from high maternal EBV Limousin bulls and the ideal cow for their system is being bred from some of the bucket reared British Blue cross Fresian heifer calves, bred at 15 months to the maternal Limousin sire.

Paul and Dwynwen put a lot of effort into knowing their market well across the business and sell reared and homebred calves as stores at 16-20 months.

They have a really strong sense of direction and the stockmanship and business acumen to follow it.

Their plans to build a profitable multi-tier expansion for their business, including agriculture and tourism, will no doubt be a success.

Beef Farmer of the Year 2017 is sponsored by ABP

The finalists were:

  • Ian Willison, Williamwood Farm, Nottinghamshire
  • Steve and Jo Pile, Cats Hill Farm, Wiltshire