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NSA Welsh Sheep 2013

Several thousand farmers and their families are expected to make their way to West Wales for an inspirational day out at Beili Ficer Farm, Llansawel, Carmarthenshire, for NSA Welsh Sheep 2013 on 21 May.

They will enjoy a day out, and update on the latest industry trends at the only specialist sheep event to be held in Wales. NSA Welsh Sheep provides a platform for government, officials, breed societies, and independent and commercial organisations.

Hosts of the event Sion Williams, his wife Claire, and their small son Harri

Hosts of the event Sion Williams, his wife Claire, and their son Harri

There will be seminars, stock judging, sheepdog trials and a sheep’s eye view of handling! Visitors will also be able to see how a thoroughly modern family new to farming have developed their tenanted farming business.

Dunbia are one of the major sponsors of the Welsh NSA event at Beili Ficer and are looking forward to the opportunity to engage and support the farmers of Wales. The company began as a small butcher’s shop in Dungannon in 1975.

Today it is one of of Europe’s main meat processors, based at ten sites, employing 3,600 people and supplying lamb, beef and pork into the domestic and overseas markets. The company has just invested £12 million in the Llanybydder plant and new developments include an innovative method of de-boning that delivers superior yield, traceability and retail packing capacity to target key export markets.

Novartis Animal Health, a leader in developing new and better ways to prevent and treat diseases in farm animals, will be joining with SCOPS, Ritchey™ and Moredun at the NSA Welsh Show to run practical demonstrations and offer information and advice about best practice on farm.

SCOPS is an industry led group that recognises that, left unchecked, anthelmintic resistance (AR) is one of the biggest challenges to the future health and profitability of the UK sheep industry. The emphasis will be on the sustainable control of parasites and will include demonstrations by Moredun and Novartis, who will focus on three key products in the Novartis Animal Health range.

Aberystwyth based Innovis is a mainline sponsor and is working with the host family, Sion and Claire Williams, to develop a nucleus flock of Aberfield genetics. The results of the venture which involved implanting 500 Mule and Texel cross ewes with Aberfield embryos will be a real attraction.

A fresh insight into sheep handling will be afforded to NSA Welsh Sheep 2013 visitors by Miriam Parker, Director of the innovative Livestockwise Ltd company. Her address will be followed by the chance to ask questions and a “walk” through the system from the sheep’s perspective.

The NSA Welsh Sheep seminars and debates are always popular and provide the means to help farmer visitors to improve their enterprise’s profitability and sustainability by careful selection of topics. They offer advice, information and thought provoking ideas, the majority of which can be taken home and implemented the following day. And they’ll all free of charge!

The seminars and debates will feature high profile industry specialists. The topics covered will include an update on Schmallenberg, the massive impact of liver fluke, farm succession, and the current opportunities for new entrants.

The British Wool Marketing Board will be advising on how to add value to their wool crop. The emphasis this year will be on how to reduce parasitic damage.

The big debate will centre on: Making More from Less. It will major on grassland management and lamb marketing.

But NSA Welsh Sheep 2013 is also about a good day out and one of the highlights will be the Celebrity Ready Steady Cook. Participants will include Heledd Cynwall, Dai Jones, Llanilar, and Meinir Jones and Alun Elidyr of Ffermio.

Then there will be the ‘Quick Draw’ cowboy themed Horner Sheep Shearing demonstration and of course the hugely popular sheepdog trials and demonstrations.

Host Farm Preview

The challenges of first generation farming and hosting NSA Welsh Sheep 2013 might have been enough for any young couple. But who could have foreseen the impact of some of the worst Spring weather in living memory.

It’s been a testing time for Sion and Claire Williams who took on the tenancy at Beili Ficer Farm, Llansawel, near Llandeilo, in October 2010. They are though ready to welcome visitors to the event on 21 May.

The couple represent a very modern approach to farming and are looking forward to sharing the results of a unique lambing project, reseeding, and other initiatives. The venture has been made possible thanks to the foresight of farming brothers, Alfor and Elwyn Thomas, who were keen for their farm to continue as a sustainable entity rather than amalgamated into a bigger enterprise.

Their vision made it possible for Brynle Williams Award winning Young Entrant Sion Williams, his wife Claire, and their small son Harri, to farm in their own right. The couple took on the 10 year tenancy of the 255 acre farm in 2010, they rent another 150 acres, and own a further 20 acres.

They have borrowed heavily to add to their start-up capital and have taken advantage of grant aid, IT, industry schemes and initiatives and have worked diligently with Innovis in order to maximise their returns. The company implanted 900 Aberfield embryos into 550 of the couples’ Mule and Texel x Mule commercial ewes.

Sion and Claire will retain the ewe lambs to start their own Aberfield nucleus flock, while Innovis will be supplied with the ram lambs to sell at their annual sales. The aim is to build up to a flock of 800 Aberfield ewes over a period of three years and to sell the ram lambs.

The family’s flock of Aberdale ewes, another breed developed by Innovis, is also performing well. It will also be evident to visitors that the money the couple have invested in grassland has paid dividends through one of the most testing periods in living memory.
The project involves Innovis having implanted 900 Aberfield embryos into 550 of the couples’ Mule and Texel x Mule commercial ewes. Sion and Claire who have a three year old son, Harri, will retain the ewe lambs to start their own Aberfield nucleus flock, while Innovis will be supplied with the ram lambs to sell at their annual ram sales.

The Aberfield is a new breed, developed by Innovis, to combine the maternal traits of the Blue Faced Leicester with the improved conformation of the Texel. The rams are then sold with the hallmark of EBVs and the figures that the modern sheep producer wants.

Multiple births take dedication and time – a challenge the couple are more than able to take on! And they’re looking forward to sharing their experiences with the crowds expected to arrive there for NSA Welsh Sheep 2013 on Tuesday 21 May 2013!

NSA Welsh Sheep

  Related Links
link Milcomb Tups in Top Texel Flocks
link Farmers Warned to be Extra-Vigilant for Signs of Ewe Mastitis
link Advice to Sheep Farmers Facing No Grass Growth

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