A lamb farmer in Mid Wales was able to save £4,000 a year, which he credits to a grass monitoring project.

Richard Rees runs Penmaen Bach along with his brother Huw, low-land family farm located near Pennal and the Dyfi estuary and keeps a flock of 400 Aberfield cross ewes to Abermax rams.

According to Mr Rees, since joining the grass monitoring project GrassCheckGB, the farm has seen several benefits, including lambs being finished 55 days earlier last year than in previous years, and a reduction in inputs.

The project began in 2022 when every field on the farm was sampled, with the results revealing that there was no cobalt active in the lower ground on the farm or the rough grazing soil, as well as low levels of deficiencies of selenium, iodine and zinc in the fields.

Mr Rees said: “I have always been interested in managed grazing. Penmaen Bach‘s location means that it is a farm where grass grows well so we try to keep costs as low as possible by maximising on grass production and root crop use for wintering.


“But we were finding that fattening lambs off grass was becoming more and more problematic, despite undertaking faecal egg count (FEC) tests and treating as and if needed.

“Our initial thought was that we had issues with minerals and nutrients in the soil. So, when we heard about the project, we jumped at the chance to participate and immediately analysed our minerals.”

On discovering there were deficiencies in the minerals across their fields, they set out to solve the issue.

Mr Rees added: “We immediately set to remedy the issue, by introducing boluses to the flock at the end of 2022. We have also been regularly measuring grass growth which is made easier by rotational grazing as we are not always dealing with low covers.

“The project has helped us to significantly reduce inputs and maintain production to finish lambs with no creep feed.

“We saw a huge improvement in lamb sales last year. We finished taking the lambs off grass in September, 55 days earlier than in previous years, and they were fattened without any concentrates. We’re delighted with the results.”