A diverse range of projects that will inform future decision-making on Welsh farms are underway on Farming Connect’s new demonstration sites.
The projects, applicable to dairy, red meat, poultry and forestry, are being rolled out on 18 farms across Wales which were recruited earlier this year.
Each project is different, and the results will be disseminated to farmers at an open day hosted by each farm during 2020. Each site will look at the financial and physical impact of any project work on the business, so that other farmers can learn from the experience.
At Bodwi, Mynytho, improving the profitability, sustainability and efficiency of finishing bull beef by utilizing homegrown grain will be explored.
Bulls are the most efficient animals to fatten because feed conversion and compensatory growth are at their highest at this stage of production; the quick turnover of the system is also very desirable for farmers.
But, because the bulls need to be fattened by the age of 16 months, or even 14 months under some schemes, the finishing systems can require high levels of inputs.
With uncertain beef prices and the high cost of concentrated feeds, the farm will look to gain more control by growing more of its inputs.
A demonstration site in Wrexham will look at the optimum conception weight and condition for ewe lambs.
The project also aims to identify the most sustainable scanning percentage for ewe lambs and seek to increase conception rates from 60 per cent to over 90 per cent.
There are projects of interest to dairy farmers too. In the all-year-round calving herd at Erw Fawr, Anglesey, the aim is to increase the utilisation of grazed grass and to produce more milk from forage.
And in Haverfordwest, the efficiency of spring calving herds will be the focus. This will include genotyping calves to identify the most desirable replacements for the system. The potential to increase milk solids through genomic selection will also be explored.
Where possible, new and innovative technology will be trialled and demonstrated and soil health will also be a major focus of one of the sites in Pantyderi. This will allow for more precise nutrient management and variable rate application of inputs.
Farmers can find the location of the Demonstration Sites and further projects in the series on the interactive map on the Farming Connect website.