Farmer Focus: Producers seek out New Zealand-style sheep

July has been nothing but hectic. Lambs have all been weaned, batched according to weight and started a rotation on either the plantain or the silage aftermaths.

Cull ewes have been drafted and are leaving the farm. Breeding ewe lambs have all returned home after weaning and are being run together, allowing us to make selection decisions on a level playing field.

See also: Read more from our other livestock Farmer Focus writers

Our Stocktrace smartphone app is allowing us to monitor performance and record issues as we go along. Having individual animal information at the touch of a button is proving increasingly valuable as we make management decisions.

Interest in the breeding rams we have for sale has been good, with many leaving the farm now. Producers seem to be looking for a dual-purpose type of sheep, which our New Zealand Texel and cross-bred rams can offer with their mixture of excellent maternal traits along with growth from forage.

For the first time in recent years, I failed to make it to the Royal Welsh Show. But watching some of the highlights, it seems the event more than fulfilled its role as a shop window for Welsh agriculture.

It was also good to host a group of past Hybu Cig Cymru Scholars on farm for an afternoon to look at how the scholarship experience affects the way we farm. It was a valuable experience that has benefitted our business and it was good to get peoples thoughts on some of the things we are trying.

As this is my last contribution as a Farmer Focus writer, I would like to thank Farmers Weekly for the opportunity to air my thoughts, views and frustrations. And all of your feedback has been much appreciated. I leave you with a saying I often think about, which rings true now more than ever with such pressure on margins. “A farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.”


Tom Jones lives on a 200ha upland beef and sheep farm near Lake Vyrnwy, Montgomeryshire. He also has a contract shepherding business looking after ewes locally.