Gerallt Francis, Llanfyllin
- Commercial 114 ha beef and sheep farm
- 650 breeding ewes and 170 ewe lambs
- 200 Welsh Mountain ewes which are breeding up to Lleyns plus 250 Aberdale ewes
- Welsh x Lleyn replacements are retained
- All other lambs finished and sold through auction markets
Mr Francis had no experience of using EID prior to participating in the Hybu Cig Cymru EID recording project, the main disincentive being the cost of the equipment. He was also not sure which type of equipment would be best for his business needs, but knew that he wanted to analyse individual ewe performance more effectively.
Mr Francis reflects, "The challenge was getting an opportunity to tag the new lambs and then reference mother to lambs, in order to set up a flock database. Having made that initial effort, I now save so much time.
With the handheld reader I now have individual records at my fingertips when working with the sheep. It is still very early days, but I reckon the use of EID will really prove its worth. It has made recording births and deaths so much easier."
"I’m aiming to breed a Lleyn flock by producing good maternal Lleyn ewes. Performance recording the Lleyns to make sure we are retaining the best performing sheep will be the next step. But it will also be useful to analyse growth rates, weighing lambs to check on their performance throughout the year."
For Mr Francis, the ability to access data on individual animals while out and about in the field has been very useful. The ability to group lambs and ewes into batches, whether that be for health treatments, grazing groups or weight categories, has been invaluable.
Mr Francis is aware that the handheld reader is a fantastic management tool, but knows it could do so much more for him than it does at present. Over the coming months, he will be spending more time considering which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) he wants to use to improve overall flock productivity. He will then look to use the handheld reader to record and generate the relevant data for him to keep on track of these KPIs. Mr Francis will likely need some support on both choosing these KPIs, and then also with interrogating the EID data collected, in order to review progress.
"I have been very pleased with the equipment so far, I look forward to EID becoming an even more useful tool as I bring the Lleyn genetics into the flock, to more accurately assess productivity using facts and figures."