Shortlisted for the Farmers Guardian/NBA Beef Stockman of the Future 2012

Beef Stockman of the Future 2012 shortlist: Will Evans

  • Age: 31
  • Area: Wales
  • Organic beef challenge

WILL Evans is a fourth generation farmer at Hendreseifion, near Machynlleth, Wales. In partnership with his brother, Robert, he has been producing organic beef and lamb for the past decade.

Will looks after the family-owned main steading, while Robert manages a rented holding about an hour’s drive away. The pair have a 200-strong suckler herd, as well as 2,500 breeding sheep.

Pedigree

The cows are mostly Limousin and Belgian Blue cross, put to pedigree Limousin or Belgian Blue stock bulls, plus a small herd of pedigree Belgian Blue cows carrying the ‘Seifion’ prefix.

A Hereford bull has also been used with some success to increase meat yields from grass and add milkiness. The growing cattle are either sold as 15 to 20-month stores or finished, depending on market trends, but organic premiums on returns have been disappointing.

Calves are weighed at weaning and the brothers have recently started weighing the cows.

“I want to be able to look back and identify any cows with poor weight gains that also rear underweight calves, so I can cull the worst offenders,” says Will.

“I would like to use EID tags as part of this plan, but I would need support on the technicalities to start with, as I’m not sure how the systems work.

“Our aim is to breed an easy-care cow which will produce a calf with the ability to be finished mainly on grass and achieve high weight gain figures. I would also like a better cattle handling system to improve welfare and allow one person to carry out routine tasks.

“The other goal is to turn up the pressure and try and produce beef cattle as efficiently as possible. The suckler herd of the future needs to be able to make a profit without relying on financial support.”

 

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