The 2021 All Wales Clamp and Big Bale Silage Competitions run in conjunction with the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and the Federation of Welsh Grassland Societies, this year again seen some top-quality silage produced by many of the best silage growers from across Wales.
Every year both silage competitions are open to all members of the 22 Welsh Grassland Societies and are amongst the most contested competitions in the industry. The Society are delighted that these competitions continue to be adjudicated during the Covid-19 pandemic. This year the regional finalists were asked in addition to the normal paperwork, to supply some specific photos and videos to support their entries.
All Wales Clamp Silage Competition 2021
The winner of the 2021 Clamp Silage Competition, kindly sponsored by Wynnstay Group PLC and supported by Agri Lloyd International Ltd, is brother and sister Nigel Williams and Joy Smith, Parc-y-Marl Farm, Llysyfran, Clarbeston Road, Pembrokeshire (member of North Pembrokeshire Grassland Society); with a very close runner-up Elwyn Griffiths, Hill House Farm, Norton, Presteigne, Powys (member of East Radnor Grassland Society).
The Judging Panel agreed that Parc-y-Marl Farm as a whole package, is well managed within a very tidy system. Whilst the analyses on the quality of the silage (tested by Agri-Lloyd) is important, the judges also considered clamp management and feeding practices amongst other efficiency markers.
This year’s judging panel consisted of technical judge John Evans; Industry sponsor Wynnstay represented by Bryn Hughes and the 2020 Clamp Silage competition winner Michael Williams, Fagwrfran East, Puncheston, Haverfordwest.
Mr John Evans added “It is so pleasing to note that all 5 entrants made exceptionally good presentations and showed us their silage and their farms to the best of their ability. The Judging Panel all viewed the photos and videos individually, and then met on Zoom to discuss our findings. It was very satisfying to note that we all agreed and came to the same conclusions on the winners.”
The panel all agreed that Parc-y-Marl Farm showed very well preserved silage; as well as other aspects of the farm which were well demonstrated and are happy that they found a worthy winner. The panel also agreed that the runner up only lost by a whisker and that all five finalists were all worthy competitors.
Parc-y-Marl is a 400 acre farm with a large amount of the farm sitting South facing at 400-600ft above sea level on free draining loamy soil over rock. They milk 180 Friesian Holstein cows producing 7,500l/cow – (4400l per year from forage – 4.36% Butterfat / 3.35% Protein). They keep 86 young dairy stock followers under 12 months; and 65 aged 12-24 months; as well as 40 Beef young stock aged under 12 months; and 50 aged 12-24 months.
The foundation of the winter ration analysed at DM 43.3%, D-value 79.5%, ME 12.76 MJ/kg and CP 14.7% showing excellent quality and method. 220 acres was taken for first cut on the 13th of May – the crop was wilted for 24hrs and the whole ensiling process completed within 2 days. There was a second cut of 150 acres at the end of June, and a third cut of 100 acres taken end of August; making up a total tonnage ensiled of 1960t. In addition there is 36 acres of Barley for crimping grown on the farm.
The runner-up to this year’s very close run competition was dairy farmer Elwyn Griffiths, Hill House Farm, Norton, Presteigne, Powys (East Radnor Grassland Society). Hill House Farm is a 290 acre farm with 830 sheep / 1100 lambs and 50 Beef cows and 2 bulls. The foundation of the winter ration analysed at DM 42.7%, D-value 75%, ME 12.0 MJ/kg and CP 16.2%.
This year’s other regional winners and all-Wales finalists were:
Charlie Morgan, FWGS Secretary said “it is very encouraging to see the quality of home produced forages and the attention to detail farmers demonstrate in the footage in order to reduce costs and improve efficiencies across all enterprises. We wish to express our congratulations to all who took part in this year’s competition and are very pleased with the high standard necessary for this competition and under unrealistic circumstances.”
All Wales Big Bale Competition 2021
The winner of the 2021 Big Bale Competition, kindly sponsored by BPI Agriculture (Silotite), is Gary and Jess Yeomans, Pant Farm, Llanvertherine, Abergavenny (members of Monmouthshire Grassland Society).
Judges simply asked the five regional winners, in addition to the normal paperwork, to supply some specific photos and videos to support their entries. The judging panel – Dr Dave Davies (Silage Solutions); Stuart Anthony, (BPI Agri – sponsor); and Keith Williams, Haverhill Farm, Spittal, Haverford West (2020 Big Bale Silage Competition Winner) all sat down individually to assess the entries, and all three in unison had come to the same conclusion on the winner.
Dave Davies, technical judge said “These were stand out winners both in terms of silage quality but also the value they were getting from their preserved forages. They have an impressive goat dairying system with conserved forage at the heart of the system. Ensiling not only grass but also utilizing lucerne grass mixtures into their silage system.”
Gary and Jess farms 100 ha at 300ft asl. The goat farm has approx 900 goats and are the approved suppliers of goat milk to The Abergavenny Creamery. They also keep 20 Welsh black suckler cows with calves; 20 store cattle; and 38 beef calves and young stock under 24 months;.
They had three harvesting cuts (May, June and August) with last year totalling over 450 bales – 50 tonnes of hay and 600 tonnes of maize.
A copy of Mr Yeomans entry clip can be found on the following link: https://youtu.be/wSXzct8Gnj4
Although they have contract baling, the rest of the harvesting work is done “in house” on the farm. The crop is cut with a Lely 2.8m mower and left over a wilting period of 24hrs before being baled with a New Holland Square Chopper. Their big bale analysis showed DM 36.0%, CP 17.6, D-value 70.5, ME 11.3, and pH 4.6.
Second place in the competition was Eilir Jones, Drem Ddu, Lampeter. Second place was much more tightly fought but the judges felt that Mr. Jones just edged it over the other runners up both in terms of his outputs and farming system, the quality of his stock but also in the quality of his silage compared to the other finalists.
Drem Ddu is a South West facing 240 acre farm at 800ft asl. They stock 150 dairy cows along with 73 young stock. They harvest three cuts per year (May, June/July and August/September). The silage analysis was: DM 40.2%, CP 15.4, D-Value 71.9, ME 11.5, pH 4.6.
The other finalists in the Competition were:
The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society would like to take this opportunity to thank the Federation of Welsh Grassland Societies and the sponsors BPI Silotite, Wynnstay, and Agri Lloyd for their continued commitment and support in running the All Wales Silage competitions.