Richard Jenkins, Welshpool
- 36 hectare County Council farm
- 200 Lleyn ewes and 60 ewe lambs lambing indoors in March
- 50 early lambing Charollais cross ewes
- Finished lambs are sold via the livestock market and direct to abattoir
Before taking part in the HCC EID Recording project Mr Jenkins had no experience of using EID, the cost of the technology being the main disincentive.
"I chose a handheld reader as I thought it would suit my farm system the best - I am interested in accessing individual records while working with the sheep. I have found it simple to use; not really that complicated after all", says Mr Jenkins.
Prior to purchasing a handheld reader, Mr Jenkins would manually write all ear tag numbers down by hand, and so did not record any individual details due to the time it would take. It did take some time to get the flock database set up, but the investment in time has proved well worth it. The flock is now fully EID-ed and I am recording numbers, movements, sales, lambing records, weights of lambs going to market, and prices received at market.
Mr Jenkins comments, "the handheld reader is nice and easy to use, I just needed to get used to downloading the data onto the computer back in the office. As I got more familiar with it, I was able to start interrogating the data on a per ewe basis to help review performance trends. The user manual provided and the over-the-phone support from the manufacturer was excellent in overcoming any initial hiccups I experienced."
Mr Jenkins aims to consistently reach targets of 40-45kg live weight and 18-20kg dead weight. He is looking forward to getting a more accurate picture of lamb growth rates and using individual feedback from the slaughter house regarding dead weights. He also plans to use the equipment to collect data on breeding females, so he can pick the best ewes for retention.
Reflecting on the potential of EID in his business, Mr Jenkins reflects that: "the handheld reader has been an excellent introduction to the benefits of EID to my sheep enterprise. The kit would now be even more useful if I was able to invest in some electronic scales, which would further improve business efficiency, saving time and providing high quality information on which to base decisions. I would also benefit from having some additional training on how to extract data from the technology, and use it to further improve business performance."
"Overall, I am very pleased with the equipment I chose to invest in; it is increasingly proving its’ value as we go through the season. I am using it to do a full stock check for our accounts, so that I can carry out some in-depth profit analysis. I am looking forward to assessing a full years’ worth of data, which will be a really powerful tool to improve my flock efficiency."