Film: 5950

Farming + Rural Life | 1970 | Sound | Colour


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Hill farming in the UK. Problems of poor soil and poor vegetation 1970's

The weather can change quickly on the mountains. Views of hills and mountains in snow, rain and fog. Hill farms in Wales 400 acres can barely produce a living for farmers. The land can not sustain enough sheep to make money. Water and drainage problems. Looks at various solutions, digging ditches, laying pipes to take excess water away, polythene tube under the soil. Views of rotavator, machines spread feritliser and lime, if machines cant be used land fertilised by air. View of light aircraft. Farmers discuss the need to replace hill vegetation with lush grass to produce better milk in ewes and therefore to produce fatter lambs. Aberyswyth in Wales. The research centre into hill pasture. Test different plants for resistance to heat and cold. Test with sheep's stomach enzymes, live sheep yuk, to see if the sheep could digest the new grass strain. Lab decides a combination of grasses is best suited to the hhill landscape. Hills in Wales that have had the new grass strain can produce 5 times the amount of sheep. Fences are also needed to give some areas a break from grazing. Fencing types, standard wire and barbed wire fence, spring fences from New Zealand and electric fences. Electric is quite cheap but the farmer has to be aware of people neede access to the land especially if it is common land. 2/3 of UK mutton and lamb is from hill farms. Sheep must be tough. Scenes of hills in winter, a farmer may have to walk 20 miles a day to keep an eye on them. Sheep must be able to look after their own young. Cattle are not has hardy as they are not so good at foraging. Calves suckled til 8 months before taken down to low pasture for fattening up. Need to cross breed cattle to get a breed to thrive on hill farms. Sheep can be protected by polythene tunnels that protects them from the weather. Group of farmers talk about the problems facing the hill farmer, one of the problems is that the sons are leaving the farms to work elsewhere, farms need to provide a good living to make the youngsters stay. Each farmer has his own idea about what the government needs to do to make hill farming profitable.

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