John Davies, Eglwyswrw
- 142 ha commercial beef and sheep farm
- 200 ewe Suffolk mule flock
- Finished lambs sold straight to abattoir or via the livestock mart
Mr Davies and his son are in the process of increasing their predominately Suffolk mule flock size from 200 to 500. Both generations had no previous experience of using EID in the business, but were interested to try it out, hoping for greater efficiencies in the business, and more useful information to improve flock management.
Mr Davies says, "the experience to-date has been excellent. The financial support resulting from participation in the HCC IED Recording project was very timely. We wanted to to upgrade our recording system and sharpen up our act in terms of flock management information. Discussions at the 2014 Winter Fair confirmed that using EID would be useful to us and the HCC initiative came along at just the right moment for the business."
Reflecting on using the stick reader, Mr Davies says, "accessing individual records whilst handling the sheep was not a priority so a stick reader seemed the right choice for us. Batch management has become so much easier.
We didn’t go for a high tech option, even though all the family is used to using technology, including computers, a tablet, smart phones and apps. Keeping it simple has meant that we have a data collection system that is easy to access, and we can keep records in a format that we can understand and interrogate easily."
Using a simple EID system has released time for other activities in the business. The Davies’ can batch manage more effectively, swiping and re-swiping when sorting groups of lambs or ewes, and provide data to the buyer much more easily.
Mr Davies outlines other wider flock management benefits for their Cwmbetws enterprise, "We also use the information to help with recording health treatments. We used to spray mark the sheep to identify who has had what treatment, but now we just swipe with the stick when administering medicines, and make a note on the spreadsheet. We have also started using EID for the cattle. TB testing is a stressful job for both stock and people, and using EID information makes the process much quicker and easier for all concerned."
Mr Davies reflected, "this Rural Development Plan initiative was very farmer oriented, and aligned nicely with the emerging business needs of the industry, whilst also helping farmers interact more effectively with traceability requirements."
He concludes, "Having done the research, participation in the project removed the financial barrier and meant that we invested in a package that was fit for purpose and a 1,000% benefit to the business. Using EID feels like the 1st step towards a totally aligned buying and selling supply chain."
"We are new users of EID, but for us the experience has been as simple as putting fuel in the car, and as useful!"