‘EVERY day is a school day’, or ‘learn something new every day’ are both mantras that I fully endorse, no matter what the subject!

Whilst I may well have some sort of a genetic disorder, it seems the older I become, the more I seem to want to learn, and agriculture is certainly an industry that can challenge all of our minds.

This spring was our first without sheep, or lambing, at Cae Haidd, and probably a unique occasion in the farm’s history.

Being the fifth generational custodian here, I can confidently note that all of my predecessors were sheep farmers, and I would cautiously state that sheep have grazed the pastures of Cae Haidd for many generations prior to my ancestry.

This was not an ‘overnight’ decision, and having spent most of my farming life with sheep, including a stint as a shearing contractor, there are certain aspects of this sector I’m sure I will miss.

Our change in farming policy has this year given us a very different challenge, whereas in past spring seasons, grass growth could not come early enough for hungry chomping ewes, this year we found ourselves with surplus grass, and ultimately a decision was made to cut some 18 acres on April 19 - this at over a 1,000ft.

I must admit that I was fairly apprehensive when mowing the fields, as I am well aware that up here on the foothills of the Hiraethog mountains, a late spring can always come back and bite you where it hurts, but my decision was made easier with the aid of a pasture plate meter and the excellent guidance of a pasture specialist.

Both are new interventions to our business, but both are already proving to be vital additional tools, and at the same time providing me with additional learning skills and educational challenges – hence fulfilling the obligations in my opening remarks.

My apprenticeship into rotational grazing techniques is in very early stages, but nevertheless, I look forward to the journey, that will no doubt have many mistakes to heed along the way, but with a certainty, a word that is often rare in our industry these days, the grass will always grow!


NFU Cymru Clwyd county chairman