Following on from our research in 2020 which led to our Welsh Way vision of sustainable agriculture, we were delighted to launch this year a practical guide to help the sheep and beef sectors to make the most of Wales’s potential to lead the world in sustainable livestock farming.

Entitled Perfecting the Welsh Way, the document outlines a range of steps – from animal breeding and fertility to grassland management and nutrition – which could help achieve major reductions in the carbon footprint of sheep and beef farming. The on-farm measures could cut direct emissions from the sheep sector by 20%, and Welsh agriculture could make an even bigger impact through additional measures such as increasing carbon sequestration in soils and generating renewable energy.

Undoubtedly, our sector will come under public scrutiny. Being able to prove that our product is sustainable, and on a journey to get even better, is also high on the agenda of retailers.

It’s important to state that independent academic research confirms that Wales is already one of the most sustainable places in the world to produce red meat, with non-intensive farming based on abundant rainfall and grass using almost no imported feed. And we’re also determined to improve further, to contribute to achieving the Welsh Government’s target of net zero by 2050.

There is not one ‘silver bullet’ to making the most of Welsh agriculture’s potential to contribute to mitigating climate change, but that a range of measures taken together can lead to a substantial sustainability gain. There are a wide range of improvements that farm businesses can make, with many of them being real ‘win-win’ initiatives that both help the environment and make farms more efficient and profitable.

Many of the measures contained in Perfecting the Welsh Way are based on research projects being undertaken by HCC in conjunction with universities, project partners, vets and farmers, such as the Red Meat Development Programme and GrasscheckGB.

The new document is available on HCC’s website at 

John Richards – HCC Industry Development and Liaison Manager

(Picture: Ruth Rees / Hybu Cig Cymru)