A Powys sheep farm will be trialling a new crop that is hoped to be more resilient to the effects of climate change.

The Roderick family, who own Newton Farm in Brecon, successfully applied for funding from the new Farming Connect ‘Try Out Fund’ to investigate if growing lucerne could make their business more resilient to drier grazing seasons, and against volatile feed prices by displacing bought-in concentrates.

Lucerne also known as Alfalfa is a deep-rooted nitrogen-fixing crop with a high protein content that has the potential to be the ideal feed for finishing lambs.


Richard Roderick said: “With a changing climate likely to result in those summers becoming commonplace lucerne could be part of a mixture of solutions that make Welsh farming businesses more resilient”.

Lucerne is already commonly grown and successfully utilised by sheep farmers in the east of England and New Zealand but less so in Wales.

Their farm, which sits on a south-facing bank and has free-draining soils, is prone to grass burn off in a dry hot summer.

Mr Roderick is currently changing his sheep system, with plans to lamb greater numbers of sheep outdoors in April to reduce concentrate use and feed costs.

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The crop, which will be planted in spring 2024, will be rotationally grazed by lambs through to finishing.

Mr Roderick hopes lucerne could further reduce the farm’s carbon footprint by speeding up lamb finishing periods claiming it not only has the potential to benefit his own farm but others in the region too as the results will be widely shared with the industry.

Farming Connect developed the Try-Out Fund provides funding for successful project applications to individual business or groups of up to four farming businesses and growers enabling them to try-out ideas and bring them to life.