Welsh Sheep will be staged at Graig Farm, Cross Ash, Abergavenny, on Wednesday, 23 May. The host farm, which extends to 248ha (617 acres) carries 110 mainly Mule ewes and 100 Aberdeen Angus sucklers and is run by Nigel and Bev Turner along traditional lines.
“We try to make life as simple and straightforward as we can, with as much feed as possible produced at home or on local farms,” says Mr Turner. “This is something we have always believed in, but it fits in well with today’s preoccupation with green issues and full traceability.
“This farm can grow grass so it makes sense to keep leys in good condition.” Visitors will hear that two events changed the management system at Graig Farm.
About 2300 sheep and 430 cattle were slaughtered in a contiguous foot-and-mouth cull and some land was sold when a partnership with Mr Turner’s brother was dissolved.
Instead of restocking with Speckled Face and Suffolk cross ewes Mr Turner switched to white faced Mules. “I am convinced white faced sheep are easier to manage. We now keep ewes until they lose their teeth, some have produced six lamb crops, which cuts replacement costs.”
Berrichon du Cher rams bred in the small pedigree flock owned by one of his two sons are used on Mule shearlings. Some of the best resulting ewe lambs are also retained for breeding.
All lambs are sold on the hoof, which Mr Turner sees as his contribution to preventing abattoirs and supermarkets having complete control over prices.
Event visitors will have the opportunity to tour the farm, including the highest point from which, on a clear day, nine counties can be seen.
Anthony Mears, NSA Wales’ chairman, claims the Graig Farm system demonstrates the potential for protecting the environment while reducing input costs.