Powys farmer Emyr Wigley is planning a major sale of cattle from his British Blues herd to raise money for two causes close to his heart, RABI and Ovarian Cancer Action. Emyr is looking to sell 12-14 animals in total over the coming eight months, preferably through private sales, which should generate well over £20,000 for the two charities. The sale is likely to include five breeding bulls and several cows with both calves and in calf.
It was in 2016 that Emyr first established his Old Stackyard British Blues herd in memory of his late wife Evelyn. The couple had sold their farm and built a house for their retirement, but sadly Evelyn’s untimely death from cancer changed everything. Emyr launched his Blues herd from scratch, for the sole purpose of raising funds for his two favoured causes. Four years on, he has raised over £50,000 so far – and is now planning his biggest sale to date.
Having already sold four bulls and 17 maiden heifers, Emyr explained: “The herd has done incredibly well and grown to 28 with 11 more calves due next year. All of this year’s calves were born naturally – unlike the previous 18 months when there were seven breech births, resulting in three Caesareans which was disappointing.”
Emyr started the herd with three cows and five maiden heifers from naturally calving blood lines. The original animals are still in the herd with the oldest cow – Stonebyers Erica – now expecting her ninth calf. All calves are reared on silage, good grass and hay, and calf rearing nuts.
“I’m looking for private sales, but I’ve also got the option of going to market in Carlisle in January and May, or Shrewsbury next March,” added Emyr.
Now 75, Emyr says he ‘lives on his memories’ but that didn’t stop him recently climbing to the top of Snowdon. The success of his British Blues herd is testament to his hard work and dedication – as he started it four years ago with just three cows and five heifers.
Emyr also raised £1,150 for Ovarian Cancer Action through a recent open garden event at his Old Stackyard home. He calls himself ‘the caretaker’ as he has lovingly maintained the spectacular gardens developed by his wife; which is an extravaganza of hundreds of plants in three-quarters of an acre, including 70 roses, 35 hydrangeas, dozens of penstemons and hundreds of geraniums, petunias and fuchsias. “I split most of my time between the garden and the herd,” he said.
“I’ve done open gardens before but this time, because of the restrictions, I had to limit people to two-hour slots and was unable to serve teas. I still took over £600 on the gate, with some people insisting on paying on the way in and the way out!”
For more details visit www.oldstackyardblues.com or telephone Emyr on 079719 49882.
Pictured above is Emyr (centre) presenting cheques to representatives of his two chosen charities following a cattle sale in 2018.