An event to be held on two farms in the Aberystwyth area on Wednesday 4 May 2011 will be an opportunity to find out more about the Easy Care approach to animal management. It is suitable for all farmers but especially those that are farming organically.
Ever since animals were domesticated, natural evolutionary processes have been interrupted as farmers have selected for traits such as longer wool in a sheep's fleece or a larger yield of meat from beef animals. Although farmers have had more wool and meat to sell, they have also created a farming system where livestock have become more dependent on them.
Easy Care is a breed of sheep which do not require shearing, lamb easily, and need little shepherding or veterinary attention, while producing good yields of meat.
Philip Jones, OCW, who is the event organiser said As farmers' workloads increase because of the need to diversify and work off farm to supplement income, there is less time to spend with the livestock. Animals that are resilient and hardy don't require as much of the farmer's time because they are more robust and independent.
The event will be led by the two farmers; John Owen of Monachty Bach, Llanon, and John Davies of Cefncoch, Llanilar will explain their motives for switching from traditional flocks of sheep to the Easy Care breed and other changes to the way that they manage their farms.
Both farms begun conversion in 2008 and are beef and sheep units. Monachty Bach is 400 ha and is stocked with 700 ewes and 110 suckler cows, while Cefncoch is a 122 ha farm carrying 900 ewes and a small herd of beef cattle.
The event is being organized by Organic Centre Wales as part of the Farming Connect Organic Development Programme.
The event starts at 10.30 at Monachty Bach, Pennant, Llanon, SY23 5JP with a short on farm presentation, followed by a farm walk. After lunch, the event will move to Cefn Coch Farm, Rhosygarth, Llanilar, SY23 4SD. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussions and the event will end with light refreshments. It is free, but places are limited and it is essential that you register with Phil Jones, OCW on 01970 622248 to ensure a place and check the arrangements.
Phil Jones, 01970 622248; firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for editors
1. Organic Centre Wales is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government to provide information on organic food and farming to producers, food businesses, consumers and others. It is based at Aberystwyth University and run by a partnership consisting of the ADAS, the Organic Research Centre Elm Farm, and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University. See www.organiccentrewales.org.uk.
2. Farming Connect, working closely with its partner organisations, provides one to one support, knowledge, expertise, training and advisory services tailored to the needs of farmers in Wales. Many of these services are fully funded or subsidised and the service is both flexible and accessible. You can register with the Farming Connect Service Centre on 08456 000 813 or contact Farming Connect directly at your nearest WAG Divisional Office. OCW is funded by Farming Connect to deliver the Organic Development Programme. Farming Connect is funded through the Rural Development Plan 20072013, which is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Assembly Government.
3. The Organic Conversion Information Service (01970 622100) is funded by WAG to provide information to producers considering conversion an information pack and up to three free on-farm visits are available.
4. For more information about Easy Care sheep, see www.easycaresheep.com.