Farmer Focus: Fear tree-planting concerns fell on deaf ears

We’ve just got back from the Royal Welsh Show. It was another fabulous show where everyone connected to farming, from Wales and beyond, came together to celebrate our existence.

In a recent survey carried out with the show society, participants made it clear that “socialising” was one of the most important activities during the show week. 

See also: Unions reward farmer’s achievements at Royal Welsh Show

About the author

Dafydd Parry Jones
Dafydd Parry Jones and wife Glenys, Machynlleth, Powys, run a closed flock of 750 Texel and Aberfield cross ewes and 70 Hereford cross sucklers cows on 180ha. Their upland organic system uses Hereford bulls, Charollais terminal sires and red clover silage, multispecies leys and rotational grazing.
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Like many others, we sell most of our livestock through an abattoir. And now people can buy and sell through social media, a lot of folk barely visit a livestock market at all during a calendar year.

So the opportunity to meet friends from all over Wales in a relaxed environment and have a good laugh is priceless and good for the soul. 

Many issues were raised during farming union seminars during the week, mostly around the final details of the Sustainable Farming Scheme. 

The message was given loud and clear to the politicians about the long-term effect of mandatory tree planting on communities, food production and fire risks, among many others.

But, with so much pressure placed on politicians to fulfil their environmental targets, from the powers above, I do not see their agenda being changed. 

With our girls’ school term ending earlier than usual, having finished their exams, they returned home in mid-June to work on the farm – among other jobs including working for a local catering firm and hotel. 

During this period, we’ve being shearing and silaging, and appreciating “all hands on steering wheels” to get the job done. 

The weather has been very challenging over the past few weeks to get the silage in.

We typically need two days to complete the job with our own machines, but very often, the weather forecast has not promised more than one dry day.  

We still need to get our arable silage into the pit, along with silage from another two fields on the top, to create a sandwich effect of grass, arable silage and grass. 

On the flip side, the damp conditions have been ideal to grow grass.

And that, in turn, has equated to a few loads of lambs being sold, which is good for the bank account at this time of year.