A focus on the future at NSA Welsh Sheep

A major event in the Welsh sheep sector is fast approaching and red meat agency Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is pleased to sponsor the occasion.

Producers will flock to the NSA Welsh Sheep event held on Llwyn Bedw farm, Talybont-on-Uskin the heart of the Brecon Beacons on Tuesday 16 May. Hosted by Stephen and Lisa Williams and their son Luke, the traditional tenanted family farm stretches towards Pen y Fan and extends to 1,000 acres.

The business consists of a closed flock of 3,000 hefted Talybont type breeding ewes (Welsh x Cheviot) and a lowland flock of Charollais x Talybont type ewes. The family breed all their own rams, keeping around 60 each year.

HCC will be exhibiting at the event and promoting the RamCompare project, an industry partnership which aims to drive and develop genetic improvement. This project works with the whole supply chain to incorporate data from farms and abattoirs to include in genetic evaluations.

Selected rams of different breeds from commercial UK farms form the basis of the study, and five of those, from Beili Ficer farm, will be on HCC’s stand at NSA Welsh Sheep. Beili Ficer in Llandeilo is one of the six participating partner farms, and the only farm in Wales. Project Co-ordinator Bridget Lloyd will also be sharing information and plans for phase 2 of the project which will involve recruiting flocks for further data capture.

HCC will run a competition during the day which will focus on developing the EBVs of a sheep flock, with a £50 red meat voucher up for grabs for one lucky winner.

Gwawr Parry, Industry Development Officer at HCC said: “As the use of EID increases, so does the amount of data that is collected, and this information could be used more effectively to benefit the whole industry. This is the aim of the RamCompare project, one of the headline Research and Development (R&D) projects that HCC is currently supporting.

“The NSA Welsh Sheep event is a fantastic opportunity to discuss this work which will translate EBVs into practical and relevant information for the commercial farmer, and aid the evolution of the sheep industry in the future.”

Agri-environmental support and opportunities for trading after the UK leaves the EU will inevitably be hot topics during the day, and a series of seminars will aim to address these issues. The opening session will be a Brexit Forum, including contributions from HCC’s Prys Morgan, and will take place between 11:00-11:50.

Gwawr added: “NSA Welsh Sheep 2017 promises to be an excellent day-out for anyone with an interest in all aspects of the sheep industry. We look forward to supporting the event and to providing advice and information for red meat producers from across Wales.”

Other activities at the event will include a farm tour, breed and trade stands, a show and sale, sheep dog trials, demonstrations and the regional heat of the NSA’s Young Shepherd of the Year contest.

HCC’s stand will be located in Shed 1. More information can be found on the event website: www.welshsheep.org.uk/