Challenging and changing weather patterns are aspects of farming that most agricultural businesses need to tackle, whilst remaining profitable and sustainable.

A coastal sheep farm in Llanrhystud has identified its grassland management as the most suitable and sustainable option to deal with inclement, coastal weather to boost production and income and have joined GrassCheck GB.

Penlan farm is home to Glyn, Eleri, Dewi and Ifan Davies, who have managed the coastal holding since 1998 to produce quality finished lamb. The south facing land has shallow soil that can present challenges for grass growth in dry summer months.

Glyn said: “We have very shallow land and part of it is very coastal with about 8 ha (20 ac) facing the sea. About 20 ha (50 ac) are flat on the top and then we are sloping back down.

“I have noticed changing weather patterns, and I would say we burn a bit easier now. We have also seen less grass at peak times and 2 years ago when we had that very hot summer we were really struggling. We had to feed the sheep from mid-July until September because there was no grass growing.”

Understanding that a change in tactic was needed, Glyn Davies worked with Dewi and Ifan to find a solution to their grass problem and the farm joined GrassCheck GB.

Glyn said: “We have been in GrassCheck now for 2 years and I’ve let the boys carry on with the project.

“I didn’t think it was going to work but after seeing it now in the second year we are growing more grass. For the first time in 15 years, we have manged to cut one small field of silage out that was getting ahead of the sheep. I haven’t seen that for many years here. Fertiliser usage is down and we’re selling more lambs at a better weight for a better price. “

Ifan adds: “We have a weather station and a plate meter, which were supplied as part of the project. It’s interesting to follow the weather pattern, and that feeds into the Grass Check GB model at the end.”