CASE STUDY

On the summit of Snowdonia

Wynn Owen has been working as a farming administrator for the National Trust farm Hafod y Llan in Snowdonia for over 6 years. Married with three children, Wynn has worked in farming for over 30 years and has worked in Wales on different European funded schemes tutoring farmers and rural business on the use of computers for their businesses.

Hafod y Llan is an iconic farm situated on the Watkin Path leading to the top of Snowdon the highest mountain in England and Wales. The farm extends to over 2500 acres with 4900 acres farmed in hand in total. The farm currently has 40 pedigree Welsh black cattle and just under 2000 Welsh Mountain sheep, ewes and lambs.

Farmplan Cattle Manager and Flock Manager software are both in use at the farm and were chosen as there was a need to find software capable of being flexible and suitable for occasional users to those who would be using the system daily. Plus because of the Trust’s need for in hand land and one main holding number, Farmplan software has enabled them to create a central record system.

Wynn uses Cattle Manager to connect to BCMS to record births, movements and sales. “We also monitor cattle performance and breeding records on the hill.”

“Currently we have forty Welsh Black cattle and we record any births and sales a few times a year as we need to. We also run audits of our animals from time to time which we are able to do easily using the software.”

Many farming businesses are interested in monitoring performance to improve profitability, however at Hafod y Llan, the priority is slightly different. There’s a strong focus on environmental conservation and balance, as the cattle are used to grazing on the mountain land, Cattle Manager has become a useful tool in helping monitor the cost and environmental gain.

“Cattle Manager has a built in report library which I’m still getting to grips with however I find the Cattle Inspector report particularly useful when completing our audit as I can view animals by location, movements or weighings. Plus I also use the BCMS statement checker to confirm our records are correct and up to date.”

Cattle Manager has the ability to apportion costs such as feed, treatments or sale price into individual animal’s record card. Using the animal record card feature, Wynn is also able to track animal pedigree back up to five generations. “As the cattle we have here are all pedigree Welsh Black, we find the ability to track the family tree very useful. In particular we monitor the bull used and assess success rates and progeny.”

Hafod y Llan also has a flock of traditional Welsh Mountain sheep, 1500 ewes and around 450 ewe lambs kept for breeding. The flock has three sub flocks and 5 farms on one holding with a further 3 low land farms for clearing the hill land at winter. “With such a complex holding we needed some software which will enable us to record movements accurately and on time. Flock Manager is ideal and certainly helps us keep on top of all the animals’ movements.”

“At the moment we are not using any EID readers but because of the complex nature of the farming operation we will need to look into this soon. I think we would definitely benefit from the user-friendly nature of a Stick Reader and the ability to link it to the Flock Manager program.”

Using the treatments feature in Flock Manager, Wynn is able to record all the products and suppliers used for treating the animals. “We are organic producers and part of the RSPCA Freedom Foods scheme, so it’s important for us to record the treatments our animals receive and to be able to trace any products or suppliers we have used. We record what we’ve brought and used on the farm through the Medicine Record Book, we can also record the administrator if we need to. It’s easy to generate a report with this information to evidence treatments given or withdrawal periods as needed.”

There’s a strong focus on environmental conservation and balance, as the cattle are used to grazing on the mountain land, Cattle Manager has become a useful tool in helping monitor the cost and environmental gain

As the cattle we have here are all pedigree Welsh Black, we find the ability to track the family tree very useful. In particular we monitor the bull used and assess success rates and progeny.

We are organic producers and part of the RSPCA Freedom Foods scheme, so it’s important for us to record the treatments our animals receive and to be able to trace any products or suppliers we have used.

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