“We feel the preciseness of the TagFaster plier and a strong pin ensures excellent retention of the tags”
Tros y Waen is a mixed sheep and cattle farm, run by Rhys alongside his brother and father; they keep around 150 sheep and 120 suckler cows on 120 acers of upland. The sheep are an improved Welsh breed consisting of crosses between Cheviot and Welsh which are then crossed with Border Leicester and Suffolk rams. They intend on keeping each ewe until brokers, if they are still able to produce lambs without difficulty, 20% of the lambs will be reared as replacements.
This year they have crossed the ewes with a Berichon ram. It is believed the lambs are vigorous at birth and are known as a breed with the ability to be finished reasonably quickly, also with the advantage of being flexible when crossing with other breeds in the future. Because of these characteristics, this ram was chosen to suit the farm and with the hope of finishing the lambs as quickly as possible.
Rhys discovered the TagFaster automatic plier and tag system at the Royal Welsh Show in 2014 and wanting to tag lambs from birth he felt that with the TagFaster system he could do this easily, prior to them being turned out for grazing without having to load each tag singularly.
Rhys believes tagging from birth saves time in the long run as he will not have to handle the livestock again for this purpose, the colour of the visual tag will be changed yearly to demonstrate easily the age of the sheep.
Tagging the lambs enables Rhys to record on paper details such as the sex, breed, assisted birth or not also further on when the ewes are scanned, the percentages are noted to monitor the performance of each ewe then linked back to the lambs.
They are aiming to buy an EID reader in the future to make this easier. Thus far the system has been in place for two years and is proving a useful way to improve the stock on the farm.
“We feel the preciseness of the plier and a strong pin ensures excellent retention of the tags.
Previously to using this tag system our ewes and lambs were tagged as and when it was required, applying every tag singularly, which proved to be labour intensive and recording data very difficult.
It is also possible to change the visual tag colour every year which helps us to detect the age of the ewes visually without having to handle them.
All our lambs are finished here on the farm and half are sold at market and the remaining lambs are sold direct to the Dunbia Abattoir.
Due to the reliable read information from the tag, the abattoir is able to send back a clear report on killing out weight. This also contributes to the data already gathered on the farm indicating which breeds thrive on the system in place”.