Farmers Urged to Upgrade Cattle Herds

UK - TOUGH competition in a global marketplace means that today’s farmers must offer buyers something extra if they want to make ends meet
calendar icon 2 January 2008
clock icon 2 minute read
Uncertain prices at livestock markets across Britain over the past year, and an increasingly discerning consumer, have been sending an unmistakable message to British farmers.

The Welsh Black Cattle Society, which represents the interests of Wales’ native breed of cattle, has been quick to respond. The society’s end-of-year message is to urge its members to upgrade their herds by registering for pure and pedigree status, and to consider other ways of adding value.

It is advice that has already been heeded at Hendre near Trawsfynydd in Merionnydd, where Welsh Blacks have been a feature on the landscape since the early 1800s.

Rhys Williams, 35, is the fifth generation to farm the 700-acre traditional hill farm, which he runs with his father Edward, and find the cattle’s hardiness and durability well suited to the rugged terrain of the Prysor Valley.

Extending from the river Prysor at 1,000ft the land rises to 1,750ft above sea level and currently runs 65 cattle and 800 Welsh Mountain ewes.

“As far as we can remember Welsh Black cattle have always been on the farm, and they are ideally suited to the landscape,” says Rhys.

In 1999 the farm converted to organic production. Rhys said the change was difficult at first, but it proved to be a worthwhile move.

“It is now settled and we are pleased we took the plunge. There is no doubt that the organic brand has become an advantage,” he said.

Source: ic Wales
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