James Powell: 'The newly wrapped bales were soon appreciated by a few unwanted guests'

livestockfarm lifeHarvest

James farms 180ha (450 acres) of uplands in Llanbadarn Fynydd, Powys. Married to Rachel with three sons, James runs 1,000 ewes, mostly Aberfield crosses, plus a 50-head suckler herd. An HCC scholar in 2014, he is involved with NFU Cymru’s Next Generation initiative and is passionate about rural affairs.


A few showery days in between warm weeks has seen harvest get underway without too much trouble. A field of quality one-year-old ley baled into haylage, harvested early in June, was a good move and the aftermath, along with its strong red clover, is coming along at speed helped by a few wet, warm days.


However, the newly wrapped bales were soon appreciated by a few unwanted guests in the form of hundreds of crows which must have come from miles around, fuelled also by the rather expensive blend I am feeding to the rearing calves in the shed nearby.


Everyone seems to have similar trouble and all have different methods of deterring these pests but one foolproof method would be much appreciated. Shearing has come and gone and was all finished in the space of two consecutive days, although a hectic two days of getting the sheep to the shearing team and also the wool into sacks.


But it is such a great feeling when the shearers roll out and the threat of sheep on their backs and fly strike are all but gone. It has been perfect weather for fly strike and all lambs are now treated with pour on and should be covered well into October if the treatment’s guidelines are to be believed.


We have not sold finished lambs for a few weeks while the withdrawal runs and we concentrate on harvest. I hope trade remains strong and with the economic uncertainty of the upcoming EU negotiations, plus the numbers of smaller lambs already passed through the market I am confident.


For this year, at least. This month we have also enjoyed our local village show which basked in the mid June heatwave, and also the YFC County rally.


It is great to see the time, work and dedication these youngsters put in to just one day of adrenaline-fuelled competing, and the support from all generations of their families and communities, with such a competitive but friendly humour among the different areas.


Well done to my home club Llanbadarn Fynydd for winning the overall shield.

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