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Our Journey from Field to Fork!

21st July 2015 by

Down on the Farm

The past month has been great for grass growth. We have had blazing hot days followed by torrential downpours! Although great for grass growth it has made other aspects of farming rather tricky! We have had to cut and bale silage as and when we can, with some still left to cut. Also, it has put us on red alert for fly strike on the ewes and lambs. It was vital that we had the shearing gang in as soon as possible in order to get our girls a ‘haircut’ and remove their fleeces. This reduces the risk of fly strike and ensures the ewes don’t get too hot and bothered on a hot summers day. All the ewes and lambs have had an application of ‘Click’, which acts as an insect repellent, thus ensuring our livestock remain healthy and happy during the summer months. We are approaching the end of weaning time, this is the time when the lambs are ready to fend for themselves and allow the ewes some well-deserved rest and recuperation. The lambs will then have priority when deciding grazing options, and the ewes will be turned up to the higher ground to roam for the next few months. The lambs are getting very adventurous and playful, it is a great sight to see mobs of young lambs racing up and down the fields. This is always a reassuring sight for any farmer as it shows that the young stock are healthy. The key to any successful farm is having well looked after healthy livestock, that are suited to their environment and can thrive in the conditions. It has been a busy couple of weeks off farm also. I was asked to become a member of the ‘NFU Cymru (National Farmers Union of Wales) Next Generation Policy Group’. We met in Cardiff for a couple of days and discussed the issues and opportunities for young people in agriculture. I am looking forward to future meetings and seeing how the group develops. It is a great opportunity to ensure young people within agriculture have a platform to be heard. I also visited the ‘Royal Welsh Agricultural Show’. It is a great showcase for Welsh agriculture, and attracts visitors from around the World. It is great to see people engaging with agriculture and appreciating the process from field to fork. I must admit that I spent a lot of the day at the food hall, sampling my way around the building! It was great to see all the local and artisan produce on display. The past four weeks has been busy, but very enjoyable. We have started receiving orders and had positive feedback, which is promising. Let’s hope the next four weeks are just as enjoyable and busy!

15th June 2015 by

And We're Off!

Today has been a long time coming! We have been planning and preparing for today for the past eighteen months! It has been a very exciting process with many trials and challenges along the way. It is an extremely proud moment for us to finally get our website online and have a platform to showcase the fruits of our labour. The farm has ensured that we are kept busy, this being the main reason for the slow progress in getting ‘Oriel Jones’ online. I am kept busy with the day to day tasks, such as, checking the livestock, monitoring grass growth and ensuring livestock have plenty of fresh, clover rich grass at all times. The lambs are thriving in this environment, and enjoy being moved into fresh pasture every few days. I took the opportunity to get the ewes and lambs in the other day, this gave me a chance to check that they are all healthy, thriving and growing. Our average daily live weight gain for the lambs was 350g, with one single born lamb growing at 462g a day! She is a little barrel who is making the most of the clover rich leys and her mother’s milk. She will be a great addition to the flock, and will hopefully have many happy years ahead of her and Llygadenwyn Farm. It is crucial to our system that we select the very best animals to breed from, thus ensuring we continue to produce the very best produce with good meat to bone ratio and the optimum level of fat covering, thus ensuring, tenderness, flavour and succulence. In anticipation for our launch we have been preparing are Welsh beef and lamb. Our prime beef cuts are dry aged for 28 days, which ensures a great depth of flavour and an intense eating experience. Dry-aging beef means that once the animal is slaughtered and butchered, portions of the carcass are allowed to rest in very carefully controlled conditions (cool temperatures, with relatively high humidity) for 28 days, or if required we can continue with the process for up to 60 days. When we create such conditions, we allow enzymes to do their work. We end up with a complexity of flavor that just wasn't there before. There's no cooking method that can generate the depth of flavor of a dry-aged piece of meat. I hope that you all enjoy our new website and get a chance to order some of our dry aged beef, you won’t be disappointed. We would appreciate any feedback, and encourage our customers to get in touch. As we are a small business, we hand cut and tie all our products, therefore, if it’s not on the site get in touch and we can create a bespoke order.

14th May 2015 by

Life After Lambing!

May is a great month in our farming calendar as it allows us to regroup and contemplate on the busy blur of April. It was decided to lamb maternal groups in the first three weeks of the month, having already lambed the terminal group in March. With the exceptional weather promoting grass growth it made the process far easier. Ewes and lambs were enjoying out on fresh grass, and thrived in the near perfect conditions. Since lambing things were progressing nicely, and we had hoped to cut some silage this month. We have had days of torrential rain, which is not great for the lambs. It’s at times like these that well maintained hedgerows are vital, as they are now full of ewes and lambs sheltering from the elements. The grass growth has slowed slightly with the drop in temperature, but our main problem over the past year has been keeping the grass under control! We have had to follow the ewes around with the topper in order to maintain grazing quality. Through mob grazing and rotating the ewes around the farm we find that we are utilising the grass more, and need stock at a higher density in order to take full advantage of this system. We are big believers in the benefits of a grass fed system, which the ewes and lambs thrive off. It truly is a wonderful time of year to be farming. The lambs are very mischievous and keep Tim (our sheepdog) very busy. Last night’s post supper task was usher two twin lambs out of the garden and back to their noisy mother. We have all but finished the lambing and calving, apart from one heifer who is yet to calve. Although, as I write this piece things may have changed. She was checked about an hour ago, and I anticipate that we may have a new arrival soon. We are moving from one busy period to another. We are hoping for a busy summer with our meat sales. With the website having gone ‘live’ and a steady stream of interest it is an exciting time. We are very passionate about what we do, and take great pride in rearing and producing stock of high quality. It is so fulfilling to share it with friends, family and new customers. We are very excited about meeting new people and sharing a taste of ‘Llygadenwyn Farm’.