Ceredigion dairy farmer Eurig Jenkins has won this year’s British Grassland Society’s (BGS) Grassland Farmer of the Year competition.

The announcement was made at an awards evening held in Belfast on 31 August, jointly hosted by BGS and Ulster Grassland Society.

Mr Jenkins’ 400-cow herd of New Zealand Friesian cows at Pentrefelin Farm, near Lampeter, is managed under a spring-block calving and grazing system.

(From left) Paddy Jack (DLF), Colin Boggs (the 2015 winner), Eurig Jenkins, head judge Glasnant Morgan and John More (Yara) at the awards evening

(From left) Paddy Jack (DLF), Colin Boggs (the 2015 winner), Eurig Jenkins, head judge Glasnant Morgan and John More (Yara) at the awards evening

Finalists were judged on their:

  • grassland and forage policy
  • grazing and forage management
  • livestock production and welfare
  • how they approached environmental issues.

Two other finalists also made it through the tough regional rounds to become finalists in the competition.

See also: Pre-mow grazing helps cows yield 70% of milk from forage

The first finalist was Richard Fryer, a dairy farmer from Cheshire, and the second was William Ingram, a sheep farmer from Aberdeenshire.

Head judge Glasnant Morgan summarised the difficult decision made by the judging team, saying all three finalists had strong elements in their favour.

Plugging financial holes

In the end, Mr Morgan explained it came down to picking the winner whose farm had closed all the gaps through which expenditure can leak.

Mr Jenkins had done this by focusing on using home-produced grass and forage in the most efficient way and ensuring the business could weather external pressures, an ethos all farmers need to be aware of.

“Mr Jenkins’ farm in mid-Wales demonstrates not only excellence in grazing-focused dairying, but also other aspects relevant to all livestock sectors, including adoption of new technology for nutrient management and energy saving.

“His farm is also a good example of how to sustain good working relationships on a family holding.”

The 2017 competition will begin next spring.

Entry details can be found on the British Grassland Society website.