Andrew Owen of Pantygwiail Farm, Dihewyd near Lampeter won the Welsh Grassland competition in 2013, and was a finalist in the BGS ‘UK Grassland Farmer of the Year’ competition. His success did not end there; he also won the Milk Hygiene competition and took the runner-up spot in the All Wales Clamp Silage competition.The 93ha (230 acre) self-contained farm carries 130 Friesian cows plus followers, calving all-year-round. With all youngstock and dry cows kept on the farm, the aim is to be totally self-sufficient for grazing and silage. Andrew’s policy is to run a simple system, with as much grass being grown and utilised as possible. From the end of May, a pre-mow policy is used. Grass is cut ahead of cows twice a day before grazing, which avoids selective grazing to maintain quality swards throughout the grazing season.This event is sponsored by Farming Connect, Genus, HSBC, Wynnstay and Diversey. The Owen family will also be raising money on the day for the Wales Air Ambulance.To book a free place text MC50 to 07826 484447, call 02476 696600 or email Rachel@britishgrassland.com by 4 June.Last year saw Cheshire dairy farmer Mathew Venables crowned BGS ‘UK Grassland Farmer of the Year’, just five years after taking over the 132ha (326 acre) contract-farmed Pigeon House Farm, Handley.Careful nutrient management, regular soil testing and weekly grass measuring means the 480 spring-calving New Zealand crossbred cows achieve almost 70% of their 5,000 litres of milk from forage.
“Unfortunately good grassland management is not easy, which is why so many fail to achieve the kind of results we saw first-hand when we judged Mat’s farm last summer,” says Tim Kerridge of DLF Trifolium, one of the sponsors of the competition.