HCC Scholars head for Australia and New Zealand

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) has today announced the recipients of the 2015 HCC Livestock Scholarship during a reception at the Royal Welsh Show.

The two farmers who will soon board an aircraft to New Zealand and Australia will be Huw Williams of Talley near Llandeilo and Alan Gardner of Mold.

Each year HCC offers scholarships worth up to £3,500 each to people working in the Welsh red meat industry to travel abroad in search of techniques and practices used in the production of lamb, beef or pork that could be adapted to the benefit of producers and processors in Wales.

Supported and funded by HCC, the successful candidates will spend between four and six weeks at their chosen destination, studying a range of interesting topics.  

An upland sheep farmer from the Carmarthenshire village of Talley, Huw Williams plans to visit Australia and New Zealand to study the effectiveness of DNA shepherding and electronic identification (EID) tracking in extensive farming systems as a management tool for the selection of breeding replacements.

He intends to visit New Zealand and Australia because DNA shepherding and EID tracking is already being used and many large flocks are run on extensive systems.

Huw sees the potential of these systems in allowing farmers to performance record sheep without the extra work during a very busy lambing period. This should encourage more farmers to fully record sheep as long as a benefit can be proven from the extra cost entailed.

Huw will explore how breeders that use this technology capture the benefit at flock level and through ram sales, which is the critical test for its sustainability for us in Wales.

Alan Gardnerruns a sheep enterprise near Mold and plans to visit New Zealand to investigate how their farmers have focussed on making their businesses performance driven.

He will look at the key performance indicators that need to be monitored and how he can apply these to his business at home.

Alan is established in many dissemination networks in North Wales and this will undoubtedly help to spread the messages he brings back from New Zealand and promote the activities of the HCC Livestock Scholarship.

Lynfa Davies, HCC’s Technical Development Executive, said: “I’m delighted to say that the standard of applicants for this year’s scholarship was once again very high.

“The HCC scholarship association now includes 47 people who have visited countries on every continent to learn new techniques that benefit the farm and processing industries in Wales,” she said. “They have brought back a wealth of experience which is being shared with their peers across the country.”