All Wales RWAS silage competition winners

4 July 2013

In spite of one of the worst seasons on record some of the best grass silage growers in Wales produced top quality results in the All Wales Clamp and Big Bale Silage competitions run by the RWAS and the Federation of Welsh Grassland Societies.

Silage is key to the production of meat and milk on many Welsh farms, and the competition is one of the most contested in the industry,

This year’s competition was no exception and the analysis was excellent in both the clamp and bale sections although the summer was a miserable one for the contestants.

The winner of the clamp competition was Philip Benbow of P.R. & C.M. Benbow of New House Farm, Forden, Welshpool, members of the Powys Grassland Society.  Their analysis, achieved with a crop from permanent pastures, was DM 32.5%, D Value 70, ME 11.3, CP 17.2 and pH 4.4.

The Benbows finish over 200 beef cattle a year on their 260 acre arable and grassland farm.  They also winter sheep which they regard as essential grassland tools to create the spring sward required.

The first cut is 140 acres, 70 acres for the second and 34 third.  The first cut was taken on May 18 and Mr Benbow’s belief is: “It’s better to have a little in the sun than a lot in the rain,” which was a real challenge in 2012.

The Benbows were one of four farmers to reach the final of the clamp silage competition in which the runner-up was Andrew Owen of Dihewyd, Lampeter, Ceredigion, a member of Mid Cardigan Grassland Society.

The All Wales Big Bale competition was closely fought with very little between the top three and the judges were unable to split the runner-up position.

The silage quality was excellent across all five finalists and the winner was Chris Clayton, of Great Brimmon Farm, Brimmon Lane, Newtown, Powys, a member of the Upper Severn Grassland Society.   

The silage analysis was DM 61%, D-Value 71, ME 11.3, CP 17.2%, pH 6.3.  The farm of 370 acres carries 80 beef cattle and calves are sold at 12 months of age
There are 750 ewes and the lambs go either to Waitrose or are sold at Welshpool market.

The joint runners-up were Euros Evans of Peniel, Carmarthen, (Carmarthen Grassland Society), and Messrs John & Paul Jones of Llandabo, Amlwch, Anglesey, (Anglesey Grassland Society).

The competitions are sponsored by Wynnstay (Clamp) and BPI Agriculture Silotite (Big Bale).  The winners will receive their prizes on the opening day of the Royal Welsh Show (July 22).