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Federation of Welsh Grassland Farm Open Days

The Federation of Welsh Grassland Societies is celebrating its Golden Jubilee. To commemorate this milestone, five open days have been organised at venues across Wales, focusing on meat and milk production from grass and forage based systems.

The first open day was held at Stackpole Home Farm, Stackpole, Pembrokeshire, a large-scale dairy enterprise farmed by brothers Chris and Nigel James. The spring calving, 550 Jersey cross New Zealand Friesian milkers are averaging 5,300 litres per year, mostly from grazed grass. The farm is also the current holder of the All Wales Grassland Management Competition Award and runner-up for the UK title.

On May 25, at 10am, Rob Powell hosted a visit to the family’s Rhosferig Farm, near Builth Wells, Powys before going on to Blaenbwch Farm, mid-way between Brecon and Builth Wells, Powys. The main attraction was finishing lambs off grass and roots on upland holdings.

June 29 sees the focus switch to the management of upland suckler cows and ewes on land rising to 1,400 feet by the Tudor family at its 283ha (700 acres) Llysun holding, at Llanerfyl, Montgomeryshire (SY21 0EL).

The following month, on July 13 a farm walk will commence at 11a.m at (please note change of venue from original poster) Bodysgaw Isaf, Llanefydd, Denbigh (LL16 5DS), hosted by Arthur Owen. Arthur Owen is a member of Betws yn Rhos Grassland Society and has been successful in winning several grassland competitions, including the British Grassland Society National Grassland Management Competition in 2007. The 285 acre farm carries 350 New Zealand type Friesians, calving in a 10 week block Sept/Nov, with milk yields averaging at 7200 litres per cow, 3600 litres from forage.

The final event on August 25 is at Brysgyni, Capel Uchaf, Clynnog, Caernarfon (LL54 5DL) where Harri Parry and his parents, Richard and Rhian, run three holdings totalling 293 ha (725 acres). As one of the main multipliers of Stabiliser cattle, the 210 strong suckler herd is fully recorded and embryos from America used to maintain fresh blood and improved herd generics. Some 320 Lleyn ewes form a nucleus flock, with 500 New Zealand Suffolk cross Lleyns also going to Texel tups. All lambs are finished by the end of August from grass and some swedes through February and early March.

The FWGS are producing a commemorative booklet in honour of their Golden Jubilee. The FWGS AGM will be held at IBERS Gogerddan, Aberystwyth on Thursday, 1st September 2016 during the morning, followed by a visit to IBERS and thereafter Innovis.

All events are open to all and we would very much welcome current and non members.

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