2014-10-27   facebook twitter rss

Grassland Winners Celebrate at BGS Award Evening

Beef and sheep farmer Dafydd Jones has won the coveted British Grassland Society (BGS) UK Grassland Farmer of the year award for 2014.

The announcement was made at the BGS annual awards evening celebrating the best of UK grassland farming. The event was jointly hosted with Cheshire Grassland Society at Reaseheath College, Nantwich. The competition and evening are sponsored by GrowHow UK and DLF Trifolium.

UK wide Grassland Competition winner Dafydd Jones with the prestigious award

UK wide Grassland Competition winner Dafydd Jones with the prestigious award

Mr. Jones of Maesllwyni Farm, runs beef and sheep enterprises near Machynlleth in mid-Wales. The organic farm is on land that climbs to 300m (984ft), receiving an average annual 1500mm (60 inches) of rainfall. Seventy Limousin X cows mated to a Hereford bull produce calves that finish at between 20–28 months of age achieving live-weights up to 700kg.

The 750 Texel X Improved Welsh ewes are mated with a Charollais terminal sire to lamb in March. The lambs are all finished and marketed by September.

Mr. Jones’ philosophy is to minimise the cost of inputs while producing a quality product for his market. Well thought-out management of grazed and conserved grass, including good use of red and white clovers in the silage swards, makes the most of home-grown forages rather than relying on expensive bought-in feeds.

Stiff competition
Mr. Jones beat two other exceptional finalists; Sam Chesney of Coolbrae Farm, Co. Down and David Collister of Southampton Farm, Isle of Man. At the awards evening BGS President David Lee remarked how all three had already achieved a great deal in winning their regional rounds, in a year that had seen more entries than in recent years.

Head Judge Glasnant Morgan said; “Picking the winner was hard, but in the end Dafydd took the main prize. He is full of optimism and a strategist – supplying what the market wants and getting a premium price for his endeavours.

“He also knows his cost of production and practices self-sufficiency as far as is practical. Grassland and protein boosting clovers are used to best advantage. We are delighted and privileged to have announced him as the winner.”

Future Grassland Farmer winner
The evening also saw the NFYFC-BGS Future Grassland Farmer of the Year award go to Dafydd Phillips, of Hermon Young Farmers Club.

After attending a training day on a dairy farm in Somerset in September, he and the other young competitors devised a business plan for a given grassland farm scenario.

Dr George Fisher of BGS congratulated Dafydd on demonstrating his knowledge of the industry and understanding how grassland can drive a livestock business. He said he also showed a clear passion for building a successful future in his chosen career.


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