Matthew Launder, 23, farms 142 hectares (350 acres) of upland with a flock of North Country Cheviots and Cheviot mules. He is also growing a herd of sows to sell locally alongside his shearling rams.
Experience: As the breeding season is once again upon us, I find myself looking back at how it all started.
My farming career began when I was 13 with six Jacob ewes, earning money selling boxed lamb to my teachers and working for neighbouring farmers.
The 10 years since have presented a steep learning curve but the result is a growing flock, currently standing at 650 ewes.
My family are not farmers, so for the first few years I spent as much time as possible with those who had farmed all their lives and had a wealth of experience to share.
Target: My current focus is getting the ewes in the correct order for tupping, gathering them and putting them through an MOT.
Those animals which are ‘troublesome’ or not pulling their weight will be moved on to be replaced by a home-bred ewe lamb.
I am working closely with my vet and we aim to improve the flock scanning and rearing percentage.
We have been using a Regulin implant on low performing individuals with great success for the past two years.
This year we have implanted a larger proportion of the flock. In doing so we hope to reach my year-one target of 180 per cent scanning.
I will be recording all the data through the use of EID. My aim to is build enough data on the performance of my flock so I can start to reduce costs, thus increasing margins.
Pigs: Although sheep is where my real passion lies I have started producing outdoor grown pork, all of which is sold locally.
I started keeping pigs in an attempt to build another revenue stream, bringing stability and cashflow to my business.
The pigs also provide an excellent fertiliser and, of course, a healthy supply of sausages and bacon.
All my sows are native Gloucester Old Spot and Saddlebacks. They are chosen for their highest meat quality while being perfectly suited for harsh winter conditions here in Wales.
I cross them with a Pietrain boar and genetics are key.
This latest venture has again been a learning curve but it has added a healthy balance to the farming business and provided visitors with a constant supply of rogue piglets to keep them amused.
Future: I believe I have been lucky in my farming career so far and I think the industry will provide me with a bright and exciting future.
I look forward to whatever it brings my way.