John Davies

21 November 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 Speckledface

ewe lambs and 35 Welsh

Mule ewes.

A WET, dismal morning checking around the in-calvers and I dont believe it – another pair of back feet! I walked the cow to the shed, had an investigation and called the vet. If it wasnt for the fact that this cow was bought and not covered by our own bull, I would question his technique and wonder whether there was any connection. It was the most awkward caesarean I have ever been involved with followed, with a great deal of stress to man and beast.

The next day, I attended a conference on rural stress and somehow cows calving backwards did not feature high on the agenda. With the suicide rate as it is in our county I am not in the least surprised, and I can remember grandfathers saying that "problems outside the front door are manageable; inside they are more serious".

We turned in the rams on Oct 14 more or less on block, with only some which are going to a 100 Beulah Speckledface ewe lambs being held back. We were feeding the Bluefaced Leicesters with some ram mix just prior to tupping. However, one of them thought it would be his last supper for a long time and scoffed considerably more than he should have, or at least was good for his libido. Having kept him for the last 11 months, he has hardly looked at a female for the last two weeks. Thankfully, he seems to be getting better.

Off to Gwent for the Wales YFC Challenge Weekend. Young people from as far as St Lucia, Western Samoa, and GB all worked hard to build a childrens play area and renovate a pond to provide access for the disabled. It was hard work, but good fun, and I even had a Scotsman buy a round!

Were managing to sell lambs at the rate of 60 or so a week. The trade seems a bit mixed, but at least the Mule wethers weigh well and if we can get above £45 a head, it will help the cash flow. The third Mule ewe lamb sale held in Builth Wells for the first time was very successful, with trade up about £5 a head on the last sale. The latest policy with regards to clean livestock is causing some controversy. While the need for keeping E coli and the like out of the food chain at the earliest possible stage is essential, consistency is also required. How will markets without covered pens manage in the future I wonder?n

Rams were turned in by John Davies last month – with only some which are going to Beulah Speckledface ewe lambs held back.

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