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Rachel Lewis-Davies: Every day is a school day at Yscoedreddfyn


While everyday may be a school day for new fellow contributor Will Case in Cumbria, here at Yscoedreddfyn we pray for days that are not school days

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The farmyard laboratory is infinitely preferable to the school classroom and young and old have enjoyed a full and challenging curriculum over recent weeks.


Gwilym working with his young sheepdog pups and Lewis embracing the concept of shearing for the first time, also getting stuck in to some topping. This has resulted in one ‘write-off’ and quite a lot of ‘mechanic-ing’ and the mishaps, together with the obsession in extra-curricular activities including fishing and rugby training, have led me to think he is starting to look like an ideal candidate for TVs ‘First Time Farmer’ or ‘Made in ‘Ereford’ as Bobby likes to call it.


We have, of course, covered the compulsory subject of reproduction, or in our case, ‘to bull or not to bull’ – our Welsh Black heifers have grown well over the summer, leading to extensive debate over whether to embrace modern thinking and bull them to calf at two years as opposed to three.


Bobby has spent considerable time pondering by what miracle a perfect crop of stubble turnips can have appeared in the new ley in Tirabad. I prefer to count it as a blessing, observing it is way better than the new ley opposite which is full of docks.


The history lesson teaches us that lamb trade gets ‘sticky’ from July onwards and this is borne out in the lamb sales. We are reassured by market research which promises jam tomorrow and better trade next year. Ever heard that before?


We have done our homework too. Bobby’s maths have been applied to the cashflow and he concludes we will, in fact, survive another year if we can get to SPS in December. I have turned my attention to the Glastir application and have still not yet determined how all the field records and stocking diaries contribute anything to environmental action on the ground, deciding I will need an A Level in this subject before I am sufficiently competent in Glastir record keeping.


I can conclude Yscoedreddfyn has indeed been an establishment for lifelong learning – whether it would stand the rigors of inspection, though, I can’t be sure.

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