Cheshire news The 100-year-old farmer with an amazing story to tell MetiNews.Com

MetiNews.Com - John Wrench was a pioneering figure in Welsh agriculture during his long career

Cheshire news The 100-year-old farmer with an amazing story to tell MetiNews.Com

MetiNews.Com - John Wrench was a pioneering figure in Welsh agriculture during his long career

Cheshire news  The 100-year-old farmer with an amazing story to tell MetiNews.Com
27 September 2020 - 09:32

Breaking News ! A Saltney Ferry farmer continues to remain as hands on as possible despite celebrating his 100th birthday this week. Farming veteran John Wrench, who launched his career breeding guinea pigs, pioneered the use of silage and invented the winter shearing of sheep, still likes to keep a close eye on the crops and calves at his old Flintshire holding. Until late last year he was even driving the tractors at Beeches Farm, a 400-acre property near Saltney Ferry, just outside Chester, that’s just launched a new dairy operation. Mr Wrench, who celebrated his 75th wedding anniversary in April with wife Vera, remains in good health in his dotage. His family’s only regret is the cancellation of a big party that had been planned before the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead he made do with a quiet family celebration – and a quick tour of the farm. “These days his role is mainly advisory,” daughter-in-law Anne told NorthWalesLive. “He still likes to know everything that’s going on – and he’s quick to tell us if we’ve missed anything!” In farming circles Mr Wrench is perhaps known for his pioneering work with silage. Read More Related Articles Hair-raising moment pilot battles high winds to land Airbus Beluga XL at second attempt Read More Related Articles Late night drama as crews rescue stranded cow from Cheshire canal In 1979 this saw him win the first ever All-Wales silage award and, a year later, he also claimed the inaugural UK Grassland Society silage trophy. In 1982 he almost achieved the double, topping the Welsh rankings and finishing third at UK level. Introduced to Britain in the late 19th century, the silaging process piqued the interest of Mr Wrench when he was a young schoolboy in the 1920s at Blackbrook Farm, Penyffordd, where he was born. John, who is also a Fellow of Royal Agricultural Society for pioneering work with silage has farmed at Beeches Farm in Saltney Ferry on the English and Welsh border since 1966 (Image: Ian Cooper) At the time he was breeding and selling guinea pigs for medical research at a hospital in Chester. “He used to make silage in jam jars and feed it to his guinea pigs,” said son Stephen, 74. “Years later he produced silage in little silos dug out of clay before moving on the vacuum silaging.” In 1966 Mr Wrench took on the Beeches Farm tenancy on the Hawarden Estate, where he grew crops, reared livestock and grew some of the best grass in Wales - often the farm was used as a demonstration unit. His pride and joy were his Border Leicester flock, with which he won Royal Welsh titles and countless rosettes at local shows.

. Disastrous River Dee flooding in early April, 1974, prompted his next innovation. “The lambs were drowning as they were being born,” recalled Stephen, who with wife Anne took over the farm in 1989. “We got as many sheep as we could into the shippons but some began dying with pneumonia as their fleeces were holding too much water. “So dad had the idea of shearing the sheep. When he called the shearer, he initially thought it was a late April Fool’s joke. “The idea caught on and a lot of other farmers carried on with it for many years – we continued winter shearing until we went out of sheep.” In the 1940s, Mr Wrench launched his own baler contracting business. His entrepreneurial gene was passed to grandson John, who has run Beeches Farm since 2013 and who has now converted it to milk production. John with his card from the Queen and a 1962 Massey Ferguson tractor which he first used when he arrived at the farm (Image: Ian Cooper) The last beef cattle were sold earlier this month and some New Zealand cross milkers are now in situ. A new parlour and slurry lagoon are in place and the plan is build up to 100 calvers by Christmas, eventually expanding to 200. For the family’s patriarch, the switch to dairy farming squares a circle that began in Penyffordd where he had his own milking herd. Awarded an MBE in 1983, for services to agriculture, Mr Wrench continues to take an interest in the industry. A particular passion is ploughing – he is a regular at the Flintshire Farmers spring match. “He’s always stayed active and he’s always been full of ideas,” said Stephen. “Perhaps that explains his sharpness and longevity.”

Source = MetiNews.Com

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Cheshire news The 100-year-old farmer with an amazing story to tell MetiNews.Com


Cheshire news The 100-year-old farmer with an amazing story to tell MetiNews.Com


Cheshire news The 100-year-old farmer with an amazing story to tell MetiNews.Com


Cheshire news The 100-year-old farmer with an amazing story to tell MetiNews.Com

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