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Young Farmer Focus - Chris Waters, Newport

Chris Waters works on the family dairy farm, milking 110 pedigree Holstein cows across 121.4 hectares (300 acres) of owned and rented land in Newport, Monmothshire.


As well as looking after the family’s herd, he also has his own personal herd of pedigree Holstein cattle under the prefix ChrisCross and a pedigree Simmental herd under the prefix GoldCross.


He also carries out seasonal work for a local contractor and is an active member of Bedwas Young Farmers Club.

 

 

Learning: It is all about learning at the moment – what is new, what has changed, and wondering what will change since the UK voted to leave the EU.


Last Wednesday I went to a talk about genomics at Tyndale Vets, Glamorgan, hosted by Dairy Co.


It was mainly an update on what had changed in the industry and what we need to look out for, which was really good and the information was valuable.


After a wedding at the weekend, I was straight back on it Monday morning, with cows doing the monthly fertility visit with David Preece from Tyndale Vets.


I continued sorting the silage on Tuesday, before heading home on Wednesday for the second cut.


Dairy: I work at home with my brother and dad milking 110 pedigree Holstein cows.


With the industry in the state it is, expanding is restricted because there is not much surplus money to play around with once all the bills have been paid.


We are on a Tesco supermarket contract so I guess we are lucky in some aspects, but it is still difficult being a dairy farmer in the current economic situation.


Money: I find the hardest thing for young farmers in agriculture is being able to borrow enough money to buy land, as it is so expensive.


When I speak to my grandparents, they would tell me of times when they could buy a 40-hectare (100-acre) plot of land for about £4,000 – which is seemingly unimaginable these days.


My thoughts are it is down to investors buying land and increasing the price, which makes getting onto the ladder almost impossible for new entrants.


Future: In the future I would like to be able to take over the family dairy farm with my brother, as well as develop my personal herd of pedigree Holsteins and pedigree Simmental cows.


I doubt we will be able to expand the herd much due to the restricted land we have, but the key will definitely be to keep costs to a minimum.


You have to make the best of what you have, instead of worrying too much about what you do not, or what you want to have.

 


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