Case Study: Aberbran Fawr
On top of their core business, the cattle and sheep element of the farm, they are also heavily involved in diversification, horticulture and arable.
Farm Facts: The 350-acre farm is in a Tir Gofal Transitional Agreement and entered a Glastir All Wales Element Contract from 1st January 2012. The couple also rent a 150-acre holding, 8 miles away from Aberbran, which is run on an organic system.
Livestock: Aberbran’s livestock includes 50 suckler cows, predominately first cross Limousins, together with several second cross heifers and some Charolais. The farm also
holds 500 breeding ewes, a mixture of Mules and Texelcross Mules.
Arable: 150 acres of the farm is dedicated to growing arable crops including winter wheat; winter and spring barley; winter and spring oats; organic winter beans and 30 acres forage crops including swedes, stubble turnips and fodder beet.
Farm diversification: An important element of the farm income stems from two diversification projects including a seasonal campsite located along the banks of the River Usk and a soft fruit seasonal pick-your-own fruit venture for strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants. The Matthews family plan to introduce tabletop strawberries grown under cover in 2012 to extend the season at both ends. Planning permission is being sought from Brecon Beacons National Park for a polytunnel.
Project and trials: There are two trial projects currently underway at Aberbran farm. The first, working alongside a seed specialist, will investigate over-seeding techniques for introducing better quality clovers and grasses to improve pastures and reduce fertiliser inputs. The second trial compares the results of land cultivated with minimum tillage and a conventional ploughing and drilling system.
Farmer’s feedback: Andy says,
“We accepted the invitation to become a Farming Connect demonstration farm because we felt it would benefit not only our farm but others like us. We really feel that being a demonstration farm will help us to improve our farming techniques and face future challenges.
“The next 12 months, with such things as the CAP reforms on the horizon, means it’s more important than ever that farm businesses are in good shape moving forward, taking in good business advice to enable farms to be as efficient as possible.”
Next Event: Demonstration Farm Open Day – 27 June 2012 - 2.30-5.00pm – Horticulture Focus – Field Scale Soft Fruit and Fruit Tree Production in Wales.