Nature conservation is at the heart of Montgomeryshire beef and sheep farm
Nature, conservation and food production must and can go hand in hand. Carwyn Jones, who farms at Ty Mawr, Dolanog in the Vyrnwy valley is a perfect example of that.
The 160 acre beef and sheep farm has been in the family for many generations, with Carwyn taking over full management of the holding in 2002. The livestock graze on pretty much organic ground, are naturally fed and are kept to high health and welfare standards.
The land is steep and the soil challenging, so it has to be managed carefully. Carwyn prides himself on the great condition of the farm and that 1989 was the last time any fertilizer has been applied to the ground. The farm is as natural as it can be. 30 acres of woodland surround the farm and there is a great variety of bird species and wildlife around.
4 miles of hedgerows are being managed and they too provide excellent habitat for birds and wildlife, whilst storing carbon at the same time. Recently 600 new hedging plants have also been added, creating buffer zones, shelter for livestock and birds.
The land here needs a mixture of sheep and cattle on it and Carwyn is clear that if only sheep were kept, the biodiversity would be compromised. There is common land on one side, uplands on another side and some lowland, as well as the river - all of which is sympathetically managed. The farm has its own unique habitat and plans are afoot to make further improvements. Carwyn is proud that Ty Mawr is home to a variety of species and is clear that the cattle are the best conservationists.
The grazing style on the farm hasn’t changed much since Carwyn’s grandfather farmed the land but the stocking levels have been reduced to ensure that livestock and nature flourish. The buttercups and other flowers in the meadows are doing wonders for the pollinators too.
Small family farms like Ty Mawr are leading the way when it comes to sustainable, environmentally friendly food production and combating climate change - you can farm and be a conservationist is the message from this holding.