FARM PRODUCTIVITY

COAST TO COAST LAG

£3,896.00 FUNDED

Sheep mobile handling & weighing equipment

W & R Taffinder

To purchase and use of mobile sheep handling and weighing equipment for use across multiple sites to improve the productivity of the operation

Farming on the Roseland Peninsula

Will Taffinder is a second-generation farmer and lives at Pendower Farm on the picturesque Roseland Peninsula, near Truro, with his wife Robyn. Will and Robyn have more than 500 ewes grazing on fields all over the peninsula, and have recently been increasing their flock with help from new equipment bought and part-funded by a grant from the LEADER Programme, through the Coast to Coast Local Action Group. The new equipment allows them to transport a mobile sheep yard on a trailer, so they can travel to the sheep, quickly set up a yard using new lightweight hurdles, scan and weigh the animals and carry out all the tasks necessary to keep them healthy, such as vaccinating and shearing, in the field where they are grazing. They can then pack up and carry on to the next site.

Before receiving funding, it took two people to lug heavy hurdles that were prone to falling, and the weighing-scale readings fluctuated wildly. The new equipment includes digital scales, which take an average reading, and a scanner, so the tag on each ewe or lamb can be scanned and the digital weight recorded all at the touch of a button.

LEADER funding enables expansion
Will is now able to travel around different groups much more efficiently, and does not need any facilities on the grazing sites, making it easier to take on more land and expand the business. “Having the equipment means we are more appealing to other farmers. We have just taken on an agreement with a large arable farmer to graze our sheep on his land between crops, and we couldn’t have done that without the new kit,” he says.

Unlike cattle, which are generally kept closer to the farm due to TB regulations and brought inside in the winter, sheep are highly mobile and can provide a beneficial service to other farmers by keeping their fields maintained whilst improving soil structure and fertility; local farmers are therefore deriving income from allowing the sheep to graze on their fields, whilst gaining improvements to grass and soil.

Lambing season is twice a year for Will and Robyn, in spring and autumn, and the lamb is sold locally in the farm shop and marketed through Truro livestock market, run by auctioneers Lodge &Thomas and Cornwall Quality Livestock Producers (CQLP) (an independent livestock marketing co-operative based in the South West).  “We are keeping more sheep, so we are benefiting local markets and agricultural shops,” Will says.

Thanks to LEADER funding, the new equipment has enabled Pendower Farm to expand by providing an efficient, low-stress solution for managing the sheep, allowing Will to do this alone and in a much shorter time, and leaving him and Robyn with the time and capacity to focus on other areas of the business.

 

Key documents

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