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Farming

Pembrokeshire producer celebrating Porc from Wales Week

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PORC from Wales Week (24 – 30 January) is an annual celebration of artisan producers and retailers that specialise in breeding and supplying high quality porc and porc products, from traditional Welsh sausages to Italian style charcuterie.

With a ‘How far is your fork from our porc’ theme this year, leading figures from Welsh food such as broadcasters Samantha Evans and Shauna Guinn of Hang Fire Southern Kitchen fame, and a host of food bloggers from Wales, will be showcasing the very best of locally sourced porc and where consumers can buy it from.

Experts in their field

Wales is home to small-scale and artisan porc producers specialising in creating a unique, hand-reared product; a consequence of this is that it is often only available to buy directly from the producer or local independent shops, like butchers.

How food is produced and the impact it has on the environment have increasingly become important factors for consumers in recent years. For generations, Welsh farmers have played a pivotal role in creating and maintaining the rural landscapes that we know and love, both physically and culturally.

The industry is currently a growing one in Wales with an increasing number of producers starting a new business and research has shown that 2021 sales of pork products UK-wide (fresh and frozen, cuts and processed) were 15% higher than in 2019.

Aled Harper of Snipes Bay Meats, near Haverfordwest, said: “We are small scale farmers in the heart of Pembrokeshire, breeding and rearing pigs to produce quality porc, dry cured bacon and handmade sausages.

“I believe that quality comes not only with skill and attention to detail, but also with dedication and passion. The trick is not to become complacent. That’s when your product will become just another product and not the unique, artisan end product that we aspire to.

“The bonus of buying porc from your local producer is that you know where your meat is coming from. Buying local helps keep everything moving along nicely in our small supply chain. There’s a certain satisfaction when you buy local – its benefits go way beyond the actual product you buy. The effects will be seen on a community level, an economic level and of course on a more holistic, environmental level.”

When Hang Fire met Scott Quinnell

To celebrate Porc from Wales Week, Sam and Shauna will be showing rugby legend Scott Quinnell how to cook porc ‘tomahawks’ with West Indian salsa verde, sweet potato steaks and jerk porc bonbons. 

Sam Evans of the Hang Fire duo said: “We’re delighted to be part of this year’s Porc from Wales Week. We’re all about cooking fresh, local, quality ingredients, with excellent sustainability credentials, so really, porc ticks all our boxes!

“We’ve created this amazing dish of porc tomahawks with a West Indian salsa verde and Scott Quinnell is going to help us make the dish in an exclusive masterclass. We’ll show you (and Scott!) how easy it is to prepare and cook porc and introduce you to some exciting flavours.

“What makes porc so special is that it’s so easy to cook with. We love cooking porc on the BBQ, but we’re excited to show you (and Scott) how you get the best from this fantastic produce in your own kitchen. You can get some cracking results from porc, and people shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with flavours. And it’s not just about bangers on the barbie; porc is great for roasting, frying, stir-frying and slow cooking. So, why not pop to your local butcher’s shop or your local pork producer and ask your butcher for some delicious porc. You won’t be disappointed!”

You can find Hang Fire’s recipe and more information on Porc from Wales Week at www.porcweek.wales

Farming

Pembrokeshire County Show returns to Haverfordwest in August

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WALES’ largest agricultural show, which attracts around 100,000 visitors and competitors to the county town of Haverfordwest is back this year after a two-year Covid enforced break.

Pembrokeshire County Show will take place on August 17 and 18, the first open to the public since 2019 it promises to be a celebration of rural life in the county.

The last full-scale show, which would normally attract around 100,000 visitors and competitors, was held in August 2019 followed by a virtual event in 2020 and a scaled down version in 2021 for animals and members only.

Mansel Raymond, Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society president said, “We are very excited about the prospect of seeing our wonderful members, competitors, trade stands, sponsors and community coming together once again this August.

“Whether you’re a Pembrokeshire local or just visiting we’re sure you’ll have a fantastic day out.”

There will be some changes this year to the layout of the County Show to make it a better experience for everyone including the trade stands and visitors.

There will be several smaller rings as was the case in the 2021 members only show.

To enable a much larger public viewing area it has also been decided to remove all marquees and trade stands from the immediate main ringside.

This year there will also be a new open air ‘street food’ area. To enable a smooth transition, it is recommended that all trade and catering stands secure their pitches as soon as possible by visiting www.pembsshow.org or ringing 01437 764 331.

Sponsorship and Pembrokeshire County Show have been a successful combination for the last 45 years.

Sponsors have enjoyed promoting their businesses through the varied mediums of banners, announcements, show rings, buildings, equine and livestock classes and championships over the years.

Anyone interested in sponsorship can contact Richard Cole on 01437 764 331 or complete the form on the society’s website.

Tickets for society members and the public will go on sale in the near future. Visit www.pembsshow.org for up-to-date details of this year’s event. You can also follow Pembrokeshire County Show on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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Farming

Spotlight on ammonia reduction strategies for Welsh poultry producers

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A WELSH study has refocused attention on strategies for reducing ammonia emissions in the poultry sector, with farmers urged to adopt measures including good ventilation and litter and manure management protocols to lower levels.

A three-year European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Wales trial on two broiler farms looked specifically at the role additives may have in reducing emissions by improving gut health and flock performance.

The study produced no evidence that these were effective for this purpose – similar levels of ammonia were recorded in the control and treatment houses.

But project manager Jason Gittins, technical director for livestock at ADAS, says there are a number of other measures that farmers can put in place to tackle emissions.

Ammonia is a component of urea, which is excreted in poultry faeces; when that manure is exposed to air and to moisture, the gas is released.

Agriculture is a major source of ammonia, accounting for 87% of UK emissions in 2019; of this, 14% came from poultry production.

“Ammonia gas is a harmful gas to both poultry and poultry workers and excessive nitrogen deposition resulting from ammonia emissions also damages the environment,’’ warns Mr Gittins.

Here, he gives his advice on how poultry farmers can reduce those emissions.

Ventilation

Poorly ventilated sheds will result in wet litter, which allows more ammonia to be released into the air. The use of effective ventilation to optimise the in-house environment, and preventing condensation can increase litter dry matter content and so reduce ammonia emissions.

Indirect heating systems heat the shed without the additional carbon dioxide and water vapour produced by direct gas heating systems, Mr Gittins explains.

“As a result, litter condition is often drier, which makes conditions less favourable for the production of ammonia,’’ he points out.

Ammonia scrubbing systems

These systems typically pass exhaust air from the house through a liquid to capture the ammonia; the air released to the atmosphere then has a lower ammonia content. Mr Gittins says reports have indicated that reductions in ammonia emissions of around 80% are possible using scrubbing systems, but the capital and operating costs are high.

Correct diet formulation

Diets should be formulated based on amino acid requirements, rather than crude protein, Mr Gittins advises.

“Diet formulation should change throughout the flock cycle to ensure that the nutrient supply is closely matched to the birds’ ammonia acid and other nutrient requirements.’’

Improvements in feed utilisation and feed conversion ratio (FCR) provide both environmental and financial benefits.

Correct removal and storage of soiled bedding

Manures should be contained in covered stores on impermeable surfaces. If field heaps are used, the surface area should be as small as possible: ‘A’ shaped, as this will reduce emissions, says Mr Gittins.

“A key issue is that wet poultry manure and litter can lead to higher emissions of ammonia and so the priority is to keep them as dry as possible, both during housing and afterwards.

“This can also increase its value per tonne as a fertiliser and reduce haulage costs and odour risks.’’

Manure applications should follow normal good practice, he adds.

“This should include avoiding spreading during frost, snow and heavy rain and taking account of soil conditions at the time.

“For liquid organic manures, precision spreading methods are preferable to splash-plate systems.’’

In free-range egg production, the move to multi-tier systems, rather than single-tier, is consistent with reducing ammonia, because of belt clean-out and frequent manure removal.

Preventing puddling around drinkers

Keeping litter dry is key to reducing ammonia levels. Drinkers should be managed to prevent spillages – any leaks need to be identified and quickly resolved.

“Nipple drinker systems should be adopted, as these allow better management of water intake and reduce water wastage,’’ Mr Gittins recommends.

High bird health

Keeping the health status of birds high will help to maintain litter in a drier condition.

“Birds challenged with disease and in poor health often produce wetter manure, which can result in higher ammonia emissions,’’ says Mr Gittins.

EIP Wales, which is delivered by Menter a Busnes, has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

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Farming

Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society Board of Trustees ‘delighted to win Volunteering Award’

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PEMBROKESHIRE Agricultural Society’s Board of Trustees were delighted to receive an award from PAVS (Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services) recently for their determination to hold the county show last year.

PAVS formally presented the Trustee Award from the 2021 Pembrokeshire Volunteering Awards to the category winners, Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society, at the Society’s recent AGM.

The award judges were astounded by the determination of Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society’s Board of Trustees to put on last year’s two-day county show in incredibly challenging circumstances in order to give members of the rural community the chance to come together and showcase their animals.

The judges also noted how the Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society had ensured that support for farmers and their families was available through the presence of various charities who work to provide services for the rural community.

Lee Hind, Pembrokeshire Community Hub Manager, presented the award which was supported by South Hook LNG. He said, “Congratulations to Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society on winning this well-deserved award. As well as your determination to put on the two-day show last year the judges were particularly impressed by your innovative partnership with Connecting Realities which saw the event filmed and live streamed into care homes via YouTube, allowing access to those who were unable to leave their homes.”

Mike Davies, Chairman of Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society’s Board of Trustees said, “We are delighted that our efforts have been recognised by the judges who felt we were worthy winners of the Trustee Award. We have had to rely on the goodwill of our volunteers during the past two years and they have worked hard so the county showground can come back stronger in the future.”

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