FUW showscases RDP projects in Brussels
Two Farming Connect demonstration farms run by Farmers’ Union of Wales members will showcase how Wales uses its EU Rural Development funding during an exhibition next week at the European Parliament in Brussels.
The exhibition, which runs from October 8-12, aims to show how Wales uses its RDP funding to develop a sustainable economy in rural Wales.
Dilwyn Jenkins, of Cerrigcaranau, Talybont, near Aberystwyth, runs a 510-acre mixed stock farm where he hosts open days with a focus on a Welsh Black suckler herd, home-grown forages and pre-tupping management of the ewe flock.
The farm is run and managed with family labour, with a mixture of enterprises under organic management. The 510 acres are managed in three blocks, with 110 Holstein Friesian cows milked, 30 pedigree Welsh Black cows, 230 breeding ewes, 80 acres of barley, five acres of fodder beet and two acres of swedes.
The Holstein Friesian cows are currently in an all-year-round calving pattern but are aiming for autumn calving. All replacements are homebred and all calves from the dairy herd are kept as replacements or beef.
Tudur Jones - who farms Ty'n Rhos, a 250-acre upland dairy farm at Pentrefoelas, Gwynedd - believes dairy farmers should focus on what their cows want and gear their systems accordingly. Tudur and family are keen to combine this approach with attention to detail in nutrition and fertility to provide a route to greater profitability.
The family runs 75 dairy cows plus followers and are all year round calving. In addition to the dairy cows they also farm 350 breeding ewes - 250 Welsh Mountain and 100 cross bred ewes which lamb from mid-March. The farm has also diversified and the family run a caravan site on the holding.
Tudur was keen to learn more about the behaviour of his cows and was interested in "cow signals" training. To this end a series of meetings were held with a local veterinarian focusing on the cows' demands on barn, feed and care.
Through its work the FUW is closely linked to organisations such as Farming Connect, a Rural Development funded programme which helps farmers and their families run their business more efficiently through the provision of subsidised training, guidance and advice.
FUW president Emyr Jones, who will be attending the exhibition’s opening ceremony on Monday October 8, said: “This is such an exciting opportunity for us to put Wales on the map and highlight some of the excellent work being carried out throughout the country and show how well some of the RDP money is being spent.
“Farming members of the FUW have benefited from Rural Development funded programmes and one of the initiatives run by Farming Connect is a network of demonstration farms across Wales.
“Each demonstration farm provides the opportunity for local farmers to share ideas and gain knowledge and expertise through attending open days and discussion group meetings and we are excited to showcase two excellent examples at the EU Parliament,” added Mr Jones.
Other Rural Development funded projects from Wales in the exhibition are “Community Foodie”, a cooperation between the Vale of Glamorgan, Bridgend and Torfaen Councils, Carmarthenshire Council’s “Tywi Afon yr Oesoedd”, Ceredigion Council’s “Cynnal y Cardi”, and Cadwyn Clwyd’s “Denbighshire Green Tourism”.
Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans, who supports the exhibition, said: "Around two-thirds of Wales is rural which is why EU Rural Development funds are so vitally important for supporting our countryside and rural communities.
“These projects are excellent examples of what can be done to create jobs and develop a sustainable environment."
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