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FARM LIFE: Rhidian Glyn

Rhidian Glyn and Family
I like this time of year – the work of the winter starts to lessen as the heifers go out to grass. I use a rotational grazing system and they are moved to a fresh bit of grass every day.

Y mis hwn ry’n ni ym Mhowys yn dod i adnabod Rhidian Glyn.  Yn 2014, llwyddodd Rhidian i sicrhau tenantiaeth fusnes fferm yn Rhiwgriafol, fferm fynydd 530 erw ger Machynlleth.  Yn ogystal, mae’n ffermio 160 erw pellach bum milltir i ffwrdd.  Nid ar fferm y magwyd Rhidian gan mai athrawon oedd ei rieni, ond roedd yn ymwelydd cyson i fferm ei Nain a’i Daid yn Llanwrin ac yno y ddatblygodd ei ddiddordeb.  Dechreuodd ei yrfa yn gwerthu bwyd anifeiliaid, ond yn 2008 mi wnaeth ddechrau cadw diadell fechan o ddefaid Mynydd Cymreig ar 9 erw o dir pori gwael. Pan ddechreuodd y fenter yn Rhiwgriafol gyda’i wraig Elen cadw tua 700 o ddefaid oedden nhw.  Erbyn heddiw, mae’n parhau i gadw defaid Cymreig ond mae hefyd yn magu heffrod godro ac yn ddiweddar wnaeth amcangyfrif ei fod wedi cadw tua 2000 o wartheg ers 2017!   Yn y flwyddyn nesaf mae’n gobeithio dechrau ar gynllun newydd eto – sef godro.  Mae gan ef ac Elen 3 o blant, Mali sy’n 6 oed, Tomos sy’n 3 oed ac Anest sy’n 1. 

This month we are in Powys getting to know Rhidian Glyn.  In 2014 Rhidian secured a farm business tenancy at Rhiwgriafol, a 530 acre hill farm near Machynlleth.  In addition, he now farms a further 160 acres five miles away.  Rhidian wasn’t brought up on a farm since his parents were teachers, but his regular visits to his grandparent’s farm in Llanwrin sparked his interest.  He began his career in animal feed sales, then in 2008 started keeping a small flock of Welsh Mountain ewes on 9 acres of poor grazing land.  When he and his wife Elen moved to Rhiwgriafol they kept 700 sheep.  Whilst Rhidian continues to keep Welsh mountain sheep, he also runs a dairy heifer rearing enterprise and recently estimated that since 2017 he’d reared around 2000 cattle!  In the next year he hopes to start his latest venture – milking. He and Elen have three children, Mali who is 6, 3 year old Tomos and 1 year old Anest.  

 

What’s going on at the farm at the moment?   

Byddwn ni’n decharu wyna yn Ebrill eleni, ychydig yn hwyrach na’r arfer.  Mae’r heffrod wedi dechrau mynd allan – ry’n ni’n defnyddio sustem pori cylchdro.  Ac ry’n ni’n paratoi tuag at ddechrau godro mewn blwyddyn.

We’ll be starting to lamb in April this year, a little later than usual, and for the first time we’ll be lambing outside.  With costs going up I thought we’d adjust things to try to coincide with when the grass was at its peak.  The flock is currently some 700 Welsh mountain ewes, half of which are crossed with Aberfield rams and breeding females are sold at a premium.  They are all performance recorded.  Over the years we’ve kept somewhere between 700 and 900 ewes.  

The shed meanwhile is full of calves.  I buy Kiwicross calves in February or March and rear them on for 15 to 16 months.  This part of the business started as a contract rearing enterprise and it’s developed into the main element of what we do.    This is developing again now as we prepare to start milking in a year or so.  It’s quite a lot to change a hill farm into a dairy farm!  The plan is to milk around 200 cattle.    

I like this time of year – the work of the winter starts to lessen as the heifers go out to grass.  I use a rotational grazing system and they are moved to a fresh bit of grass every day.   There are 100 out at the moment, 60 out with a contract rearer and 220 still in the shed.   Another 100 will be going out mid-April.  

Division of labour on the farm – is it just you, other family members or staff, how do you work with contractors? 

Mae Elen y wraig yn gyfrifydd felly hi sy’n dda gyda’r gwaith papur.  Mae Fflur sy’n byw drws nesaf yn helpu dri diwrnod yr wythnos, er mae adre’n wyna ar hyn o bryd.  A phob blwyddyn mae myfyriwr o Glynllifon yn dod aton ni am rai wythnosau. 

Elen my wife works as an accountant, so she does the paperwork.  Fflur who lives next door comes in to work alongside me three days a week although at the moment she’s busy at home lambing!  In addition, a student from Glynllinfon comes for 3 weeks a year – I’ve had some 7 here over the years and am still in touch with them all.  

Is there an item of machinery you couldn’t be without?  

Y cwad yn yr haf a’r Merlo yn y gaeaf!

In the summer I think the quad, out checking and moving electric fences.  In the winter the Merlo telehandler is pretty invaluable, with the scraping and feeding. 

Is there any item of machinery that has changed how you farm / made things easier?  

Y straw chopper – allai ddim dychmygu paratoi’r gwelyau gyda llaw mwyach!

I think the straw chopper has made things easier.  When I started the calf rearing I laid all the beds by hand.  I’d struggle to do that now!  

What’s the element of farming you enjoy most and what do you least enjoy?  

Cynhyrchu stoc o safon da ar drefniant mewnbwn isel.

I enjoy turning out good quality stock on a low input system.  What I enjoy least perhaps is the elements that are out of my control but can really affect the business – like the risk of TB.  And the weather of course.  

What’s the biggest challenge you see for your farm and/or farming in Wales in general, over the coming decade?  

Rwy’n credu mai’r her fwyaf yw creu sustem lle nad oes angen cymorthdaliadau arnon ni i redeg ffermydd llewyrchus.  

I think it’s to create a system that isn’t dependent on subsidies – where we can be profitable, have a buffer in the business, without needing the payments.  It’s likely that the payments will get less over time so farms will have to adapt to manage without them. 

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