John Davies: Welsh Blacks and dairying come up trumps
WE have had a number of Welsh Blacks (some twins) from Romeo, a bull hired from a friend, and achieved a good price for barren cows at Llandovery and St Merryn.
However, with some scouring problems, we had to blood test the cows, which revealed selenium and copper deficiencies.
All cattle were housed at the beginning of October and the last three cows to calve all got milk fever, which we have treated.
The ewe lambs have been dipped and the Speckles have gone to Pembrokeshire. We have not tacked any for a few years, but will need a bit more room this year in preparation for the Grassland Day, and possibly because our ewes were losing ground a little bit.
The ewes have been gathered off the range and the tups have been turned.
We have completed a couple of maize contracts and may plant some next year. Our one field of winter barley, planted on October 1, has got away well.
Members of Pontfaen YFC visited Alan Thomas’ dairy farm near Llangors and had a go at milking. He also grows some crops and fattens some calves.
One member asked which was the most profitable enterprise. Interestingly, he answered without hesitation - dairy.
We spent some time considering the options following the Glastir review. We opted to change to 75 per cent slurry injection, so we had to rejig some other options. But, having attended an NFU briefing on the CAP reform proposals, I am concerned how Glastir fits in with these new proposals.
It seems to be an incredibly complex set of proposals, without consideration for the marketplace and the challenges we face in feeding an ever-growing population.
As farmers, we should take a proactive approach in Wales and get some effective modelling done on the likely impacts of the reform.
Some officials in the Assembly Government are in favour of one flat rate for Wales. For many smaller and intensive family farms, this would be a disaster, which will impact on local communities.
One size does not fit all. At the very least we need separate payment levels between moorland and other ground, possibly in a similar ratio to the English model.