Smallholding Courses

The smallholding course at Ffos Yr Ewig is designed to provide you with valuable information and some practical experience in handling livestock, setting up fencing and giving you an insight into ‘living on a smallholding’ before you make the decision to actually buy your own smallholding. You will be shown the day-to-day running of the smallholding and the time input necessary for this plus detailed photos of the major projects undertaken to improve the smallholding (ie pig arc construction, cow barn & yard, raised beds, drainage & fencing).

If you already own a smallholding but want to learn more about land & grass management, animal husbandry, current legal requirements, self-sufficiency or running your smallholding as a viable business there is a wealth of information & innovative ideas to be found on the course.

Dogs wandering up the drive

The course is a mixture of short ‘theory’ sessions with a powerpoint presentation (course notes are provided as either a print-out or can be emailed to you). The practical sessions look at sheep handling, foot triming, worming and the basics of hand shearing. A demonstration of cattle handling, getting a cow into a crush, administering vaccinations & wormers and a bolus vitamins & minerals. Dependent on the time of year you will be able to have a go at hand milking. Finally the fundamentals of erecting stock fencing are covered with a chance to have a go at tensioning fence wire!

Course Detail will cover

  • How much land do you need?
  • What type of land is best suited to your requirements?
  • Information about soil types, drainage and grass management
  • Outbuildings – for winter animal accomodation and feed storage
  • What livestock would best suit my land and my lifestyle
  • The characteristics of rare breeds vs commercial livestock, livestock densities & feed requirements
  • Organic status, land rotation & wormers?
  • Types of machinery necessary
  • Fencing & housing livestock
  • Animal husbandry
  • Legal Requirements of keeping livestock
  • Ear Tagging & transporting/loading livestock, movement licences & medicine books
  • Look at self-sufficiency not only for yourself but how to provide & grow crops for your livestock
  • Look at setting up a forest garden
  • Learn how to felt sheep fleece and make felted soap
  • Overall planning & design of the smallholding to maximise its potential and save you time!
  • Renewable energy projects – which are the best for you?

Courses start at 9am until 5pm and include a cooked lunch, tea & coffee are available throughout the day. If you want a momento you can buy a specially printed T-shirt or mug to remember your day. Having sampling rare breed pork for lunch you can also purchase joints, chops, sausages & bacon.

Sheep in the snow 2010

 

 

Practical Permaculture Course

At our farm in Llanfynydd we practise what I have termed ‘Practical Permaculture’ taking inspiration from Sepp Holzer and Ben Falk. There are many definitions and ideas about what constitutes permaculture, these can extend to deep philosophical ideas concerning the world population, the destiny of mankind and the future of the earth!

At Ffos Yr Ewig we are a little more dogmatic – my idea of ‘Practical Permaculture’ is working alongside nature to improve the efficiency of food production whilst minimaling the input, ie Keep it Simple!!! The permaculture course we run shows you detailed and practical ways to achieve this.

The main aims of Practical Permaculture are :

  1. Build Top Soil and the Soil Micro Organisms
  2. Minimise the mechanical work need to raise livestock and grow crops
  3. Produce sufficient food and energy to be self-sufficient
  4. Raise livestock allowing them to forfill their natural instincts
  5. Provide a diverse bio-environment eliminating the need for chemical sprays & fertilizers
  6. Obtain a yield but also an excess to ‘re-invest’ back into the soil
  7. Produce and use Biochar

How this is achieved is by using the following principles :

  1. No Dig or Cultivation Policy
  2. Compost, Compost and Compost!!!!
  3. Make a compost tea, and apply to plants & soil
  4. Never leave the soil bare, apply mulch or use green manure crops
  5. Have a rotational strip grazing system for the livestock
  6. Mix different plant crops to increase bio-diversity (eliminate monoculture)
  7. Seed into compost to build top soil from the top down
  8. Vermiculture – how to breed worms and produce worm compost
  9. The use of technology to set up aquaponics systems and look at insect farming! – The Black Solider Fly in particular.
  10. Utilise the land optimally by the use of terraces, swales & raised beds.
  11. Sepp-Raised-Bed2

To utilise all of these ideas takes years – the farm at Ffos Yr Ewig is just starting along this journey of a sustainable, productive system with no chemical input and low reliance on ‘inputs’   ie Reducing the need to buy in animal feed, straw and hay.

If you want to become ecologically sustainable whether you have land, a large garden or even a balcony you can learn important facts on the Permaculture Course.

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