John Davies: The ski’s the limit after scanning reveals a few empty ewes

LIKE many others, we began the year with Merthyr Cynog more like an Austrian village than a Welsh one.

The guests in Pentwyn - especially the children – were very happy with skiing and sledging an added bonus.

We had gathered the ewes off the nearby Epynt range just before the worst of the snow, so apart from the difficulty of getting about, the sheep were healthy and reasonably easy to feed.

We scanned in the first week of January. Our man plans his days very well and the only concern was whether we had to put a tractor on his little scanning trailer to get it here. As it turned out the snow stopped and he managed fine. The different bunches scanned well apart from the range ewes, with too many younger ones empty.

We will need to check the tups next year. Perhaps the soldiers weren’t the only ones firing blanks! The sheep shed has been cleaned out after being the calving shed and all ewes are now housed.

It was nice to see some green grass after having a snow covering for so long. However we did buy some skis and had some great fun with the kids and neighbours sledging and skiing. Two neighbours, who had never skied before, came to try one afternoon. As with all learners it’s great fun to watch.

We took some young cows to St. Merryn which had caused or were likely to cause problems (they were a bit mad!). I was pleased with their average of £920.

We also took some heifers the following week through drifts on the Beacons, but were a little disappointed with the average of £870. The store trade in Builth Wells market seemed better when I called by - someone must be getting a better deal than me somewhere.

Rugby has re-started after a month’s break. Both myself and the boys are a little unfit! Also we have been practicing a new venture for Breconshire Young Farmers. For the first time we are entering a drama in the Welsh speaking Wales YFC competition.

It’s based on the period 70 years ago when the Epynt was requisitioned by the Government for a military training area, which saw many farming families having to move at short notice. It was a huge loss to the language and culture of the area.

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