National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

16 December 2010

Wales YFC NatWest calf rearing competition retains its high standard

The judging of the Wales YFC NatWest Calf Rearing Competition took place on Tuesday the 30th of November at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.

17 members entered the competition in 2010 and although this was a slight decrease in previous years the standard of the calves reared by YFC members was as high as ever.  

Judge, Sharron Sellers from Lancaster placed the calf reared by Caryl Howells of Llangadog YFC in Carmarthenshire as the Supreme Champion in competition. Rearing the Reserve Supreme Champion was Edward Powell from Radnor.

Entering the competition for the first time this year, Caryl also won the highest placed new competitor award. Caryl, 15, who attends Pantycelyn High School in Llandovery where she is studying for her GCSEs and won with her heifer which she has been rearing and preparing for the Winter Fair since earlier this year. Her hobbies also include helping out on the family farm and attending her local YFC club.

Laura Andrews from Gwent won the best stockman award which takes into consideration the way in which the members take care and prepare their calves for the competition along with the judging of a display board in which members detail the cost of rearing the calf.

All competitors entered in the competition had the opportunity to sell their calves at the sale in the fair and the judge supported the members and brought the champion in the sale.

Kay Morgan, Wales YFC Activities and International Committee Chairman stated,
“This is an excellent competition which gives the young people who are Wales YFC members the unique experience of showing their calves at the Welsh Winter Fair, a premier agricultural event. It also increases their understanding of the processes involved in rearing and preparing stock for a show, although it’s not merely about rearing a calf. Competitors were required to keep up to date records and costings which were submitted as part of the judging process for the chance of securing the best stockman award. The public and judges showed much interest in these presentation boards prepared by members, proving that good, clear, record keeping is an important factor in the competition and in all aspects of business”.

“It was hearting to see almost 20 heifers and steers in the competition. This is an excellent achievement with all members having gained valuable stocmanship skills and experience of showing cattle. We were extremely pleased with the prices that the calves in the competition achieved at the sale. All of the calves were of excellent standard and it is extremely pleasing for our members when prices such as these are achieved.”

Andy Woodthorpe, NatWest Director Rural Wales Banking, added: "This is an excellent competition giving young farmers the opportunity to raise capital to purchase their own animal and to show it at a world class event. The standard again this year was very high and I would like to congratulate everyone that entered and especially to Caryl Howells for taking the top prize. The sale price of Caryl’s calf is proof in itself of the quality of this year’s entries.”

15 December 2010

Wales YFC members sample farming in Ireland

Members outside the Keenan Factory, from left to right – Kay Lewis, Enfys Evans, Dylan Jones, Iwan Thomas, Martyn John, Gareth Richards, Jonathan Williams
Wales YFC Rural Affairs Committee members travelled to Ireland on the 10th of December as a part of the Wales YFC Rural Affairs Committee study tour.

The trip, supported by the John Thomas Bursary Award which is administrated by the Carmarthenshire and Clunderwen Farmers enabled a group of 6 members representing 5 of the county Federations across Wales to travel to Ireland for 3 days to learn firsthand about Irish agriculture production and to experience working examples of Irish farms.  

During the trip members had the opportunity to visit the Keenan factory in Borris Co.Carlow. After an 8 million investment in the factory where 1,700 mixer-wagons are manufactured a year the company is the European leader in this field, but is also active in North America, Australia and New Zealand. The reputation of these wagons is second to none. The company is headed by Gerard Keenan, who is interested in far more than just selling his machinery. He has developed a complete feeding regime, mostly to date for dairy farmers, by hiring some of the best nutritionists in the world. The Keenan regime includes a higher level of fibre in the ration than normal practice.

A visit was made to Kildalton College, which is situated in the village of Piltown, Co Kilkenny, which is the largest agricultural college in the Republic of Ireland. It is a leading provider of training in Equine Studies, Machinery, Agriculture and Horticulture. Members had a tour around the 100 cow dairy unit and the beef and sheep enterprise and learnt about their rigorous recording and management systems.
The study tour also included a visit to Joe McGreal, Moatefarrell Farm, who is a Teagasc ‘BETTER Farm’, which is a well managed commercial farm where research recommendations are applied to the main farming system and the results measured and demonstrated at local level. The outcome and benefits of the research is evaluated in terms of practicality, impact on efficiency and improvement in profitability. The results are benchmarked against the research demonstration farms, other BETTER Farms and farms in the National Farm Survey. The results from these farms are published and demonstrated at regular farm walks and demonstrations.  Joe is the Chairman of the discussion group and farms 65 cows. Discussions were held on selecting a bull by its EBI (Economic Breeding Index), the importance of the fat and protein content in Irish milk and members were taught on how to cut and analyse a Grass Wedge in order to measure grass.
Milk prices, just like in the UK, have been under pressure but are now showing some signs of a modest revival. Ireland is a fully paid-up member of the EU and embraces the euro while speed limits and road signs are all in kilometres. However, it was only last few years that farmers finally stopped selling their milk in gallons!

A finishing farm owned by Padraic Gerety was an insight into the Irish beef, sheep and deer industry. The abattoirs or "factories" as the Irish call them, endeavour to control and, wherever possible, push down prices. Members learnt about the breeding system, the care requirement and saw the handling facilities for the deer. They also discovered that there was no formal recording of deer required in Ireland and that the average slaughter weight of Red deer was 50kg with an average price of £3.80 per kg. While visitng Padraic Gerety’s farm, members also witnessed the harvest of the farms fodder beat crop. The utilisation of root crops as an aid to intake and growth rates was integral to Mr Gerety’s finishing farm
Iwan Thomas from Carmarthenshire commented that “The dairy visits forming part of the study tour gave an insight into the extreme use and utilisation of grass and grassland management in milk production. Whilst great emphasis was placed on utilising grass, little was given to the opportunity of fulfilling the potential production of the cow through buffering at peak, with far more drive toward milk solid production”.

"We are very grateful to CCF for their support, as this opportunity allows our members to experience agricultural practices in other countries and allow us to compare these with our own, and this trip was no different. It is also important to remember the social aspect, although some may relish the challenge and experience of travelling alone, a study tour like this enables others who are maybe not quite so adventurous to be able to travel and have the same experiences” said Dylan Jones Wales YFC vice-chairman and past Chairman of the Rural Affairs committee.

14 December 2010

The district finals of the Cumbria YFC Just a Minute and junior reading competitions were held at the Greenhill Hotel, Wigton.

The Just a Minute Competition, based on the Radio 4 programme, was new to YFC and proved to be a hilarious evening, with teams speaking for a minute on such topics as: “Wayne Rooney is paid £200,000 a week because..”, “the wisest thing I ever heard” and “stuffing your Christmas bird”.

Judges Nick Utting and Peter Holliday said that they had had a very enjoyable evening and praised former YFC member Gordon Brown for suggesting the competition to NFYFC. 

Raughton Head’s team of Phil Potts, Lisa Bowe, Emma Salthouse and Josie Mitchinson were placed first, Kirklinton YFC second, Drigg YFC third and Carlisle fourth.

Meanwhile, judges Sarah Fawcett and Frank Chester were judging a much quieter but no less engrossing junior reading competition.  YFC members aged 10 to 14 had to read three passages from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis after an introduction by their chairman.

Jessie Cowper, Sarah Ellen Unsworth and Ellie Naylor, from Drigg YFC, won this competition with Caldbeck second, Skelton thirrd and Raughton Head fourth.

The county finals of both these competitions will be on 13 January at the George Hotel, Penrith at 7.30pm and spectators are welcome.

14 December 2010

Dyfan's lamb takes the trophy

Dyfan Evans with his prizewinning lamb.
The future of showing looks bright as some of the Clwyd Federation of Young Farmers Clubs’ youngest stockmen reached the top in an annual competition.
On Monday December 6 the young farmers competed in the Rhesgoed Farm Shop Perpetual Cup class for the best lamb in hand, held at Ruthin Farmers’ 2010 Christmas Prime Stock Shows and Sale.

Top of the tree winning the first prize of a cup and £30 was 12-year-old Dyfan Evans of Melin y Wig. There may be some sibling rivalry between runners up Teleri, 11, and Tirion Griffiths, 12, of Derwen, who both did well to take the second and third prizes of £20 and £10 respectively. All three prizewinners are members of Ruthin Young Farmers Club. The winning lamb was bought for £160 by Mr Huw Williams of Rhesgoed Farm Shop to sell in the store.

This was the contest’s fourth year and judge Mr Wyn Ellis from Llansannan said that he was very impressed with the quality of the entries.

Clwyd’s Young Farmers also did the county proud by shining in the Young Farmers Cattle Class open to all young farmers 26 and under. The winner of the MWS Trophy was 26-year-old Elin Hughes of Ty Nant, a member of Uwchaled club.

08 December 2010

New young innovators with natural resources award presented at Royal Welsh winter fair!

The new Young Innovators with Natural Resources award sponsored by the world renowned energy company, Dulas, was presented today at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.

The competition facilitated by Wales YFC, with support from the Countryside Council of Wales (CCW) and the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society saw exceptional entries in its first year with entries from all across Wales, covering a wide variety of enterprises.

Dai Jones, Royal Welsh Agricultural Society President for 2010 presented the overall winner with £2,000 and £300 to the best entries in two special categories - managing carbon and water resource -   on Monday the 29th of November.  

James Raw, the sixth generation to farm at Tyllwyd in the heart of the Cambrian Mountains near Aberystwyth was the overall winner of the competition and scooped £2,000 for his achievements. James manages Tyllwyd, a 730 ha hill farm, along with Blaencwm, a 500 ha rented hill farm on the Elan Valley Estate and Nanteos, a 70 ha lowland farm, in partnership with his mother, his wife Clare and son James Llywelyn.

08 December 2010

Glamorgan YFC member wins Wales YFC NatWest Cymru enterprise scheme!

Today at the Welsh Winter Fair, the winners of the Wales YFC NatWest Cymru Enterprise Scheme were announced at an award ceremony at the NFU Building.

The scheme, run by Wales YFC is sponsored by NatWest Cymru awards Wales YFC members who have established successful business and past entrants state that the competition is an excellent way of boosting businesses, through advice received during the entry process and the publicity following the results.

The winner of this prestigious award in 2010 was Bleddyn Beck a member of Neath YFC, Glamorgan and he was awarded with £800 to further promote his business, Beckbred Pigs. The business owns the Panorama Herd of Large Whites and Welsh pigs and both herds are well known throughout the UK with the Large White herd the most premier herd in Wales. The business also sells Pedigree terminal Large White pigs and Pedigree maternal Welsh pigs into the commercial pig industry as live pigs. Beckbred Pigs fulfils the needs of its customers of wanting Pedigree pigs in the commercial sector. The demand for such pigs is high as there are little and few hers offering such products. The company strives to improve the pigs by selecting the highest and best performing genetics to create excellent stock for the commercial market. All of the pigs performances are recorded by having access to a BULB system. Earlier this year Bleddyn was picked by the BPA youth working group to travel to America to the World Pork Expo to compete at the USA stock juging competition, where in the under 21 category he was placed in the top 20 out of 125 entries from across the world. While in America, he represented the UK on the export stand where there was a great interest in the business maternal products.

Speaking on behalf of the judges, Andy Woodthorpe, NatWest Director Rural Wales Banking, said: “Judging this year was as challenging as any other year, however we came to the decision that Bleddyn Beck had shown the greatest entrepreneurial flair establishing his business and deserved the first prize.”

Lowri Roberts a past member of Dyffryn Tanat YFC in Montgomery earned the second prize of £500 with her business Siop Cwlwm. The shop trades online ( and at Oswestry indoor market  on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays which are market days in the town. The shops location just over the border in England is important as the area has succeeded to maintain it’s Welsh identity and Oswestry is also the market town for many inhabitants of mind and north east Wales.  The primary aims of the business is to promote the Welsh language and culture by providing Welsh products for the areas bilingual inhabitants and raise awareness of the language and culture amongst the non-bilingual inhabitants. The shop sells ‘traditional’ products of a Welsh shop, including books, CD’s, greetings cards and gifts. They also have the facilities to personalise many of the items which is popular. As well as selling resources for Welsh learners they also hold prospectuses for local collages which provide Welsh lessons for adults.

Third prize of £300 was awarded to Kayleigh Rees of Talgarth YFC, Brecknock. Kayleigh has recently established her Designs 4 Ewe company which provides a one stop shop for all printing and embroidery solutions for businesses, schools, clubs and individuals. The company has facilities to print or embroider on a wide range of items and also provides a bilingual service to customers in the form of the website, catalogues and other promotional material in both English and Welsh as well as offering an extensive product selection with a variety of Fair Trade products on offer.

Rhys Evans, Wales YFC Rural Affairs committee Chairman, also part of the judging panel said, “All of the applicants we interviewed were outstanding. This is a fantastic scheme for young people living in rural Wales to gain advice on their businesses from a panel of experts. Wales YFC gave those who entered the unique chance in presenting their businesses to a panel of experts who are willing to sit down with them and give them individual advice on their business and help with financial and marketing advice. We are very grateful to Julie Masters, Welsh Assembly Government, Alun Jones, Menter a Busnes and Andy Woodthorpe for the advice and support that they gave our members. All applicants also received a £100 towards their businesses thanks to the kind sponsorship from NatWest. I wish all the candidates luck with their businesses and hope they go from strength to strength” explained Rhys Evans, Wales YFC rural affairs committee chairman.


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