Making a name for yourself in both the show and sale rings in more than one breed is an achievement in itself and one that has been achieved on multiple occasions by Welsh-based breeder, Myfyr Evans of the renowned Rhaeadr flock.

Having put himself on the map with Suffolks, Texels and Charollais sheep, Myfyr spoke with Kathryn Dick about his illustrious career to date and hopes for the future:

What’s your background?

I was born on the family farm – Tan-yr-Accar – based in Llanrhaeadr, Denbigh where I’ve remained and continued to farm all my life. I was brought up by my mother and father, Mary and Harry, alongside my two brother and three sisters. Farming has always been my passion and there was nothing else I wanted to do – I missed school as much as I possibly could!

When I was old enough to drive, I began doing a bit of sheep dealing on my own, before taking over the reins of the farm after my father retired at the age of 80, some 39 years ago. It wasn't until 1979 that I founded the Rhaeadr Suffolk flock, having sourced my foundation females from local farmers and eventually building up numbers to 120 in total.

We moved away from dairying in the mid 1990’s due to the farm not having enough land to suffice the cattle and the continued decline of milk prices, so it was at that point that we made the move into Charollais and Texel sheep.

What got you into breeding your choice of breed?

I always liked the Suffolks and back in the day, there was good money in the breed. They’ve got a character about them with their black heads and big ears.

I went into the Charollais for their easy care attributes, and I liked the look of them too. We did well with the breed but dispersed the flock privately last year.

In regards to the Texels, I went out of the breed for a short time after my initial move into them in the mid 1990s, as there was too many things going wrong for the breed. Perhaps I didn’t buy the best foundation females at the time, however, I knew I hadn’t achieved what I wanted to do with them so I bought back into them.

I chose to purchase my foundation females the second time round from Auldhouseburn, one of which was bought for 12,000gns at the Select 7 sale at Lanark – she put me on the map.

What qualities do you like about the breeds that you work with over others?

I like the quality of both breeds and they are always in demand by both pedigree and commercial farmers. The Suffolks are making a comeback as they went through a rough patch but there are a lot of young breeders coming forward so the breed is in safe hands.

What was your first big breed sale or show?

The Royal Welsh Show, in 1982, where I claimed three reserve champion titles including male, female and group with the Suffolks.

Which was the best animal that you’ve ever bred?

In the Suffolks, it would be a ram we sold in 1996. It was during our first attendance at the Royal Highland Show that this ram secured male champion and reserve overall. He was then sold for 70,000gns at the Scottish National Sale, that year.

Amongst the Texels, it has to be Rhaeadr Best of the Best which we sold at the 2018 Scottish National Sale in Lanark, for 125,000gns – his pedigree goes back to that Auldhouseburn foundation female.

But what was the best animal that you’ve ever seen?

The 350,000gns Sportsmans Double Diamond Texel. I saw him at home a few weeks before the sale and I couldn’t find any faults on him. He is just a good example of what the breed should be.

If you could change one thing about your breed what would it be and why?

In regards to both breeds there's nothing I would change specifically. I think we have to concentrate on continuing to improve carcase and skins, whilst maintaining size and scope of our sheep.

You’re most abiding memory?

Winning inter-breed with a Suffolk ram, called Solwaybank Special, at the centenary year of the Royal Welsh Show. I purchased him privately for £700 and ended up selling him after the show – fair to say I made a little profit on him that day!

Biggest disappointment?

There’s always disappointments when it comes to breeding livestock, but I never look backwards.

What’s been your favourite sale to attend over the years and why?

It would be the national sales in both the Suffolks and the Texels, as you always expect excitement and big prices.

Your choice of best breeder ever?

The first would be Jimmy Douglas, of Cairness Suffolks – he has done a lot for the breed over the years. Another would be John Sinnett for his dedication to breeding quality stock. He was that good that I would go to the Royal Welsh Show with the aim to beat John...and I did!

Advice you've received over the years?

I have received a lot of advice over the years, and I listen to it all but at the end of the day I make up my own mind. If I make a mistake then I only have myself to blame!

Biggest achievement?

Selling our Texel ram lamb, Rhaeadr Best of the Best, for 125,000gns at Lanark in 2018 – it was a huge achievement for me.

If you could have gone into another breed what would it have been and why?

I don’t think there’s anything else I would go into. I attended last year's Great Yorkshire Show for the first time with the Texels to put myself on the map in that area. It was at that event that I came across the Dutch Spotted sheep and I was very impressed with breed, however, I think I'll stick to what I have.

Anything you would go back and change in your career?

I wish we had a bigger farm! Joking aside, I am happy with what I have achieved in my career. As a family, we always set out to go that extra mile with our stock and there is always a drive to keep improving.

What do you think the future of farming looks like?

I think we will be fine although there will always be issues like veganism that will challenge our way of life.

What’s the future of your breeds in your opinion?

I think they are all in safe hands, especially with Suffolks being more demand these days. Females in both breeds are worth a fair bit of money if they are top quality and at the end of the day, a poor sheep costs just as much to keep alive as an expensive sheep – so why not invest in the good ones!