FARMERS in west Wales are being urged to make Wales’ flagship agri-environment scheme work for them.

The take-up of the allencompassing Glastir land management scheme has been disappointing since its launch a few years ago, but with many existing agreements coming to an end soon, it is slowly starting to gather momentum.

One farmer who took the plunge and signed up to Glastir is west Wales livestock producer Sion Jenkins.

Sion previously received support through the Tir Mynydd and Tir Cynnal schemes and knew they would leave a void when they ended. He explored Glastir and decided to put in place a series of environmental measures to gain the points needed to qualify.

He said: “Glastir is not a pot of money I would have got from anywhere else. As with any other business when you remove something it leaves a hole, any good businessman has got to take what is on offer and make it work for them.

“My approach was that I would make Glastir work for me. I haven’t had to bend the farm sideways to achieve this.’’ More than a year into his agreement, Sion says he is reaping the benefits of more fertile soil and improved fencing at Moelhebog Uchaf, an 84-acre holding on the outskirts of Pontsian, Llandysul, which he farms with support from his wife, Wendy and two young daughters, Beca and Lisa.

They rent Moelhebog Uchaf on a seven-year Farm Business Tenancy (FBT) agreement and it is run as a beef and sheep enterprise.

They have a pedigree herd of 20 Limousin suckler cows and a flock of 250 Highlander ewes, tupped with Primeras to produce lambs for the slaughter market. The lambs are sold though the Wales YFC lamb initiative, a partnership project with processor Dunbia and supermarket Sainsbury’s.

Sion has chosen to plant two hectares of unsprayed root crop to contribute to achieving the Glastir entry points threshold and it has also benefitted soil fertility.

“Planting turnips has improved soil fertility and the lambs have fattened well off the crop,’’ said Sion.

“We have grown turnips on my parents’ farm through Tir Gofal and we noticed that the barley crop that followed the turnips performed better than the crops grown on other parts of the farm and it achieved a higher yield,”

added Sion.

Sion and Wendy will now host a Glastir on-farm training event at Moelhebog Uchaf on May 3rd from 1pm- 5pm.

For more information and a full list of Glastir training events and drop-in surgeries