John Davies

1 August 1997

John Davies

John Davies runs an upland stock farm in mid-Wales. The main holding at Pentre comprises 145ha (360 acres) of grass, with some short-term grass lets being taken, and hill rights extending to 97ha (240 acres). The farm carries 101 suckler cows, 975 ewes, 230 Beulah speckled face ewe lambs and 35 Welsh Mule ewes.

WHAT more pleasant activity on a wet day than a ministry inspection of steers after a recent claim for second premium was about to complete its retention period. Everyone was present and correct and contrary to some rumours, the ministry man was very helpful and accommodating. Half an hours notice was given of arrival and no doubt, if it was dry perhaps I would not have been in such a helpful and accommodating mood!

We have finished our indoor silage pit, but what an ordeal. Thinking the rainy season had set in for good, we kept going at every opportunity with pressure being on to arrive at a few other farms. Quality no doubt will suffer.

The hill ewes off the nearby MOD range were shorn in early July. They shore better this year due to it being a grassier season, and the lambs seem to have done well. Lambs were drenched with Nilverm Gold and sprayed with Youngs Vector.

The weather has finally changed and its now pedal to the metal. Apart from one minor blow-up, the forager is going well, but the Sanderson forklift used for buck-raking was overheating, and some re-routing of the exhaust system was called for. With less than 600 hours on the clock and not six months old, this is a little disappointing, but it seems better now.

Together with a few hundred other farmers, I went to see Frans Fischler speak in Builth Wells and was quite disillusioned and disappointed with what he had to say. I suppose it was unlikely that any announcements would be made, but at least he saw and heard for himself the desperate situation we are in.

We weaned all our Mule lambs and split the wethers and ewe lambs. They were drenched with Cydectin, and we generally gave them a good check-up. With the Mule ewe lamb sale to be held in September, they will get the best TLC possible on these upland pastures before they hopefully move to a warmer climate!

It has been a been a rush to get things squared up before the Royal Welsh Show starts. The show has something which in the Welsh language is called hwyl, and which I feel is unique to such a large show. Maybe a reason for this is the way it retains its feature county. This year the host county will be my own – Brecknock – and our president the Hon Mrs Shan Legge-Bourke has been an inspiration to us all with a large amount of money being raised towards a new sheep complex which will benefit our own and future generations.n

During silage making, the Sanderson forklift used for buck-raking was overheating, and re-routing of the exhaust system was called for.

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