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Young Farmer Focus - Dan Pritchard - Gower Peninsula, South Wales

Young farmersBrexit

Autumn: The end of autumn is a strange time on the farm.

 

The sheep are grazing on the common and all the machinery is not in use, which leaves me to finish the exciting jobs of cleaning and fixing the machines and general upkeep of the farm.

 

On dry days I tend to be driving around the fields with stock wire and posts in the tractor bucket to see which posts have rotten away over the previous year and to discover how much of the fence has been ‘nibbled’ by the hedge-cutting contractor.

 

Amongst the maintenance jobs I will get the dogs on the back of the quad and go for a spin to check on the lambs which graze in the fields near the house and the ewes and rams on the common.

 

All our lambs are put in one bunch after weaning and are quickly moved from field to field. We then move them to a central point once a week for them to be sorted and any prime lambs to be removed from the group and sold.

 

Opportunity: This year I have been lucky enough to be chosen for the National Sheep Association (NSA) Next Generation Ambassador group.

It is a group of like-minded sheep farmers from all over the UK, who meet five times throughout the year.

 

We learn new ideas which help improve the efficiency and productivity of our farm businesses through farm tours and expert knowledge from leading people in the industry.

 

I found this a very worthwhile group to be involved with and would recommend that any young farmers looking to improve should apply for next year’s intake.

 

Brexit: I think I am in the majority of farmers who have not got a clue what effect Brexit will have on UK agriculture.

 

Lamb prices did improve as a result of the exchange rate, but if it will stay is anyone’s guess.

 

The one thing I think all farmers should aim for is to be flexible with their business models, because then when prices are low we can adjust to survive, but push on when prices are better.

 

Turkeys: This year should be quite a bit quieter than normal. The majority of the lambs will have been sold and the ewes will still be grazing the common, as there are low tides expected so they will not have to come inland.

 

I will be continuing my Christmas tradition in helping a local farmer pluck his Christmas turkeys.

 

But my main highlight over this period will be watching the local rugby with the Ospreys playing the Scarlets just after Christmas. Come on the Ospreys.

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