By Debbie James

The Ayrshire Cattle Society of Great Britain and Ireland will gather in Pembrokeshire this month at the farm of its outgoing president.

Philip Williams, who runs of Home Farm, Leweston, is the first person from south Wales to hold the office of president of the society.

Together with his wife, Sharon and son, Stuart, he farms 180 pedigree ‘Willhome’ Ayrshires and Holsteins and followers.

The Ayrshires were only introduced because Stuart wanted to show cattle. Also, in 1999, the type of Holstein cow that was successful wasn’t suited to the system the farm had in place so the family looked to a different breed.

Numbers of Ayrshires increased and they currently account for half the stock on the farm. As numbers have expanded, quality has never slipped with successive wins at local and national shows, not only within the breed but across the dairy section.

“It’s great to win your section but when numbers are reasonably small it means so much more to stand at the top of the dairy line,’’ says Philip.

The Williams family are renowned for their show successes but also for the publicity they give to the Ayrshire breed as very often there will be a large line-up of immaculately turned-out Willhome cows and heifers at these shows.

In 2013 the herd won the National Society’s Haresfoot Vase after accumulating points from all national shows; the herd has since been runners-up on two occasions.

A major accolade was achieved in 2017 when the family won the dairy pairs at the Royal Welsh Show with two homebred cows.

It is not only in the show ring that the family has had success – they have also bred three bulls who have entered bull studs for semen collection and are proving very successful at Cattle Serves Ayr Ltd.

Throughout the last 12 months, Philip and Sharon have travelled the length and breadth of the country to meet Society members and have been dedicated to the role.

“It has been a massive honour to be elected in this role and one that I will never forget,’’ said Philip.

In the second week of May, the South Wales club hosts the national AGM and annual conference when Philip steps down and his successor, Keith Davidson, takes on the role.

Delegates will spend time viewing herds in Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire and there will also be an alternative programme of sightseeing, wine tasting and chocolate making.

On Wednesday May 16, from 12.30pm, the conference will settle for the afternoon at Home Farm, Leweston, where there will be refreshments and entertainment and an opportunity to view the herd and the lineup of ‘Willhome Futures’ – 12 calves that the herd is entering in the conference sale at the Cliff Hotel, Gwbert, later that day.