It is my wish on behalf of all the team at Rhug to wish everyone a happy and successful 2016.

Although there was a short cold snap at the start of last year, 2015 ended very similar to how it started, very warm and wet, so as I write this month’s blog I spare a thought for those farmers less fortunate than us over the Christmas and New Year period, as hundreds of acres of prime productive agriculture land was submerged by water or left with debris and gravel deposited on them following storms Desmond, Eva and Frank. Having been the victim of the River Dee bursting its banks at first hand I can imagine how extremely distressing this was for those involved.

One of the first jobs on our farming calendar every year is to scan the ewes. Ultrasound scanning of in-lamb ewes is one of the most useful and cost effective management tools for shepherds. Scanning is carried out by contractors who travel from farm to farm, often following the same schedule of visits year after year. Advantages of scanning are identification of barren ewes and those carrying singles and multiples. After scanning, the sheep can then be grouped accordingly and feed will be balanced and fed in an appropriate manner and not wasted. Our flock is then brought into the lambing shed, where they are looked after 24 hours a day until they lamb.

It’s full swing ahead in our Farm Shop and Bistro in January, as we celebrate Santes Dwynwen (she is the Welsh saint of love) the Welsh equivalent to St Valentine’s Day, with specials on the menu focusing on Welsh ingredients.  Santes Dwynwen also coincides with National Breakfast Week, so from 24 – 30 January, we’ll be taking part in the ‘Shake Up Your Wake Up’ campaign championing the importance of breakfast, so for 20% off our cooked breakfast in the bistro or breakfast baps in our take away ‘On the Hoof’ print off my blog and show a member of staff this code #RhugBreakfast16.

On the last Saturday of the month, I look forward to hosting the annual North Wales Cross Country Championships here to Rhug. This event has grown in popularity over the years and now attracts more than 600 people to compete in various categories throughout the day on the Estate. The course runs through the park at Rhug and attracts athletes of all ages. Competitors come from

 throughout Wales and it is always nice to see so many young people competing in this event. To end, I’d like to congratulate a fellow Denbighshire farmer and a good friend of mine, Daphne Tilley, who received an MBE for services to agriculture in the Queens New Year Honours List, truly well deserved.