Hosts of the NSA Welsh Sheep Event 2013 and winners of the NSA Cymru/Wales Achievement Award the same year, Sion and Claire are an inspirational couple developing a progressive sheep enterprise at Beli Ficer from scratch.
Find out about their farm and why they want to be involved.
Who are you and where do you farm?
Sion and Claire Williams took on a ten year private farm tenancy at the 255-acre Beili Ficer Farm in 2010, with additional grazing providing a further 400 acres.
The focus of their sheep enterprise is 100% on maximising lamb production off grass and kilograms of lamb sold per ewe.
They utilise IT and bench marking to assist them in their policy of ‘Forage bred – Performance led’, and they have embraced cost effective opportunities in order to drive production.
They were the first satellite farm for Innovis Sheep Breeding producing the Aberfield ram for the UK market through natural breeding and embryo implant programmes.
- 800-1000 pure Aberfields, providing females replacements and shearling rams for the annual Innovis Ram sales.
- Commercial flock of 1500 Crossbred ewes (Mules, Texel Mules and Aberdales)
Prime lamb produced from the commercial flock is sold through Dunbia for the Sainsburys ‘Taste the Difference’ range, under the Wales Y.F.C logo. Everything on the farm is grass finished using high sugar leys, and a proportion of the farm is reseeded each year to improve productivity.
Have you used recorded rams in the past?
Stock sires are selected based on figures and breed type, currently using performance recorded Charollais & Aberfield rams on their commercial flock. Rams are turned out with their Aberdale ewes in September, achieving conception rates of 200%.
Lambing indoors from March, lambs are left entire and are weighed and tagged at birth, and weighed again at eight weeks. Weaning takes place around 12-14 weeks with the majority of fat lambs gone by the end of July.
What excites you about the project?
“Our approach is targeted in terms of getting lambs on the ground and we utilise data collected to help us identify individual animals and family lines that are excelling or falling behind in order to improve overall flock performance,” said Sion.
“This is a long awaited industry project which will put rams from the different terminal/meat breeds ‘head to head’ in a large commercial context, I am sure there will be many commercial sheep farmers and sheep breeders who will be very interested to see the results, as will we!”
“We feel privileged to be the Welsh participants, and fully intend to give the project the attention and commitment it deserves in order to get some worthwhile findings for the industry” he concluded.
RWAS Oxford Farming Conference Bursary Scholar 2015
Hosts of NSA Welsh Sheep Event 2013
NSA Cymru/Wales Achievement Award 2013
Brynle Williams Memorial Award for Young Entrants 2012