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Young farmer focus on Dafydd Davies: "I believe in trying out new ideas. I'm not afraid to gamble"

Dafydd Davies, 17, helps on the family farm unit of 74 ha (182 acres) plus a 304 ha (750 acres) mountain farm in Trawsfynydd, farming a herd of 30 pedigree Welsh Black Cattle and 1150 Welsh Mountain ewes. He is also studying agriculture at Glynllifon Agriculture College.

Dafydd plans to work in New Zealand after university
Dafydd plans to work in New Zealand after university

Shearing: In the next few weeks I will be heading back off to college to begin my second year.

 

Since finishing college for the summer I have been working on the family farm with my father catching up with essential jobs such as shearing our flock and starting on the silage harvest.

 

To earn myself some money I have also started going out shearing with a contractor a few days a week and I am currently able to shear a little over a 100 per day.

 

Family farm: Our family farm is a 74 ha (182 acre) hill farm and we run a herd of 30 pedigree Welsh Black cattle which are split into two calving blocks in the autumn and spring.

 

We finish our heifers which we do not keep as replacements and sell to our local butcher. The steers are sold as strong store cattle at our local market in Dolgellau.

 

We also run a flock of 1,150 Welsh Mountain sheep, half of which are put to a terminal ram for butcher’s lamb and the other half to breed replacements.

 

We have just started selling our finished lambs at our local market and we will be selling lambs weekly until December. We try and finish our lambs off grass to cut feeding costs.

 

Career: Since I started at Glynllifon College I have had lots of experiences and opportunities.

 

Over the course of the year I have travelled to see different types of farms plus an educational trip to Holland and it was interesting how farmers in other countries used technology to produce food cheaper.

 

Back in May the college entered us to compete at the Welsh NSA sheep event in the under 21s Young Shepherds competition where I came joint first. I will now be representing Wales in the UK Sheep Event in Malvern next year.

 

After I finish at Glynllifon, I hope to study agriculture at Aberystwyth University and after that would like to travel to New Zealand to shear sheep and work on farms to gain more knowledge and experience about the industry.

 

Innovation: I then hope to come home and work on the family farm and bring new ideas on how to improve our business with me.

 

One thing I think will be particularly challenging is to try and persuade my father to take on new ideas to potentially develop our business instead of following the same routine every year.

 

I am a firm believer in trying out new ideas and am not afraid to take a gamble.

 

The uncertainty of lamb, beef and milk prices from week to week makes it hard to plan for the future and think of ways to expand our business.

 

With Brexit casting a shadow over the whole industry, who knows what will face British farmers after 2020.

 

One thing is certain, we will just have to hope for the best.

 


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