Pembrokeshire dairy farm wins top silage award

The Llysyfran dairy business is run by brother-and-sister team Nigel Williams and Joy Smith
The Llysyfran dairy business is run by brother-and-sister team Nigel Williams and Joy Smith

A Pembrokeshire dairy farming business has taken home a top silage award after it won this year's All Wales Clamp Silage Competition.

The 2020-21 winner is North Pembrokeshire Grassland Society members Nigel Williams and Joy Smith of Parc-y-Marl Farm, Llysyfran.

The competition is run by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and is open to all members of the 22 Welsh Grassland Societies.

The judging panel unanimously agreed that Parc-y-Marl Farm 'as a whole is well managed within a very tidy system'.

Whilst analysis on silage quality is important, the judges also considered clamp management and feeding practices amongst other efficiency markers.

Finalists were asked to show footage of their clamp, the silage face and the top and sides so the panel could assess how well the silage had been stored.

They were also asked for details of how the silage was fed, what was fed with it and to see the stock being fed.

The panel agreed that Parc-y-Marl Farm showed 'well preserved silage', as well as other aspects of the farm which were 'well demonstrated'.

Parc-y-Marl is a 400-acre farm, with a large amount of the property sitting south facing at 400-600ft above sea level. They milk 180 Holsteins producing 7,500l/cow.

They keep 86 young dairy stock followers under 12 months, 65 aged 12-24 months, as well as 40 beef young stock aged under 12 months and 50 aged 12-24 months.

The foundation of the winter ration analysed at DM 43.3%, D-value 79.5%, ME 12.76 MJ/kg and CP 14.7% showing 'excellent quality and method'.

220 acres was taken for first cut on the 13 May, with the crop wilted for 24 hours and the whole ensiling process completed within two days.

There was a second cut of 150 acres at the end of June, and a third cut of 100 acres taken end of August, making up a total tonnage ensiled of 1960t.

This year’s panel consisted of technical judge John Evans, industry sponsor Wynnstay represented by Bryn Hughes, and the 2019/20 competition winner Michael Williams.

John Evans said judging this year's All Wales Clamp Silage Competition without visiting the farms was always going to be a difficult task.

"The marking system for the farm visits was a good starting point, so we asked all 5 regional finalists to send us videos and photographs of their silage and farming systems," he said.

“It is so pleasing to note that all entrants made exceptionally good presentations and showed us their silage and their farms to the best of their ability.

"The panel all viewed the photos and videos individually, and then we met on Zoom to discuss our findings.

"It was very satisfying to note that we all agreed and came to the same conclusions on the winners.”

The runner-up to this year’s competition was dairy farmer Elwyn Griffiths, of Hill House Farm, Preseteigne, Powys, and a member of East Radnor Grassland Society.