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Young Farmer Focus: Nathan Rogers - 'Ten years ago I bought my first bulling heifer'

Nathan Rogers, 26, from Hayscastle, Pembrokeshire, is club chairman of Fishguard YFC and manages a herd of 140 British Friesian and Shorthorn cross cows.

Growing up

 

Being brought up in a farming family and having spent the school holidays helping out on my grandparent’s farm, and in the show ring with them and the work of preparing and leading pedigree cattle, I knew I would enter the farming industry.

 

When I left school I went on to do my national diploma in agriculture then on to achieving my HND in agriculture through one day a week at Gelli Aur College in Carmarthenshire. Only being in college one day a week allowed me to work the rest of the week and, therefore, gain the valuable ‘hands on’ skills, which you could not learn in a classroom.

 

YFC

 

I was a late entry into YFC, and one of the few things I regret not doing sooner as I only joined 3 years ago and I have loved every minute of it. This year I am currently the club chairman for Fishguard YFC, which will definitely be a year to remember, as the club won the local county winter fair for the first time.

 

Covid-19

 

This saw the club raise over £5000 for 7 local charities to help them through the Covid-19 Pandemic. This involved me milking in just an apron and a pair of wellies for a week at the end of May.


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Pedigree

 

Ten years ago I bought my first bulling heifer from my grandparents herd of pedigree Salers and I also bought a few heifers out of pedigree sales the same year.

 

They made up the foundation cows of my pedigree Salers, from which I went on to grow my own suckler herd, and I now farm a business tenancy agreement on 35 hectares of my grandparent’s farm.

 

With the weather drier than normal for the time of year back in autumn, the calves which were born were weaned a month earlier than normal. They were, therefore, moved on to silage aftermath grazing on young perennial and white clover leys.

 

This helped to maintain growth rates and the cows could have an extra month dry to save them losing too much body condition.

 

Dairy

 

Ten years ago, I also started helping on a neighbouring farm relief milking and doing general fieldwork throughout the years. I love this kind of work to this very day.

 

I am now the farm’s current herd manager for an all year round calving dairy herd, managing 140 cows, which are made up of British Friesians and Shorthorn crosses.

 

This utilises a low input system maximising milk from forage with an annual milk yield of 4,900 litres with 700 kg cake per cow fed, through the parlour on a 365 day calving index.

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