Outside of Holywell, in north-east Wales, Mathew Roberts and his father David run the 650-acre Ty Draw Farm. Proud producers of Welsh livestock, the family keeps 1,400 ewes, fattening around 2,000 store lambs and 250 beef cattle.
“We want to have the best stock and produce that stock well,” Mathew says. He and his father don’t necessarily want to increase the size of their operation, but they do want to operate more efficiently and get more out of their land. Both see technology playing an essential role in reaching that goal.
Streamlined record keeping
The Roberts have adopted AgriWebb farm management software, for more accurate and up-to-date records. Once, records were put in order back in the office, after a long day in the field. Now it’s done in an instant, on a mobile device.
Mathew finds the medicine records particularly helpful. Treatments are recorded as they are done, and inventory is automatically updated. “It tells you how much you have left in stock, which is fantastic,” he says. “You’re not running around shaking cans to see how much is left.”
Accurate records are incredibly valuable when there are inspections. “We have everything in place, so there’s no worries,” Mathew says. “When the inspector says he’s going to come and do an inspection, we know we are ready for them.”
“It tells you how much you have left in stock, which is fantastic…you’re not running around shaking cans to see how much is left.”
Tracking liveweight gains with ease
Other technology the Roberts have invested in includes the Tru-Test EzyWeigh 7i weigh scale indicator. It integrates with Tru-Test EID readers, automatically transferring scanned ID’s straight into the weigh scale indicator.
“Ezyweigh 7i has been a fantastic piece of kit that we’ve purchased because we’ve got those daily liveweight gains there,” Mathew says. “That information is instant as soon as that beast comes onto the scales.”
It’s a lot simpler than when David would have to note every weight against every tag, and individually calculate daily liveweight gains. “If it was windy or raining, that’s when things got a bit messy,” Mathew says. “With the scales, everything is to hand. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining because it’s waterproof.”
The EzyWeigh 7i also integrates with AgriWebb for powerful insights. The farm management software makes it easy to identify trends and make the right management decisions.
Bringing the next generation on board
The technology the Roberts are taking on is doing more than make their operation more successful. It’s also making farm work more attractive for Mathew’s children. “With them using more technology in school, it’s nice for them to come home and be able to see it used on the farm as well,” he says.
David sees a better work-life balance for his grandchildren, thanks to time-saving technology, and a more prosperous future through production gains.
“With this technology, I think the younger generation will have a better quality of life.” He understands there might be challenges ahead – there always have been – but believes the family is well placed to face them. “Progressive farmers have been able to meet those challenges and go forwards.”