Not many people can say they make a 50-minute journey by bicycle into work at 4am every morning, but for Daniel Hughes, part of the dairy team at Sansaw Estate, he says he enjoys the ride – come rain or come shine.
Living right on the Welsh border, Daniel makes the daily 13-mile cycle to Hadnall in Shrewsbury before starting his full day of work with the herd.
Working on the dairy team is a slight change from his last job – in construction.
“I went into building straight after my A-levels for six months but didn’t feel like it was really for me right now. The hours didn’t really suit as we’d always get rained off, whereas in this job it doesn’t really matter what the weather, we’ve still got animals to look after. The only thing I do miss is getting every weekend off, its always a pity to miss Church on Sunday but that’s just farming for you.”
Born in the middle of nine children, life has never been quiet for Daniel but he’s only one of two who have taken on the farming role. “We’ve got quite a mix of careers in the family so everything’s covered!”
Daniel’s father Ioan, who also works at Sansaw, has been involved in farming for most of his life managing outdoor pigs.
“My dad has always worked in farming and when I was four or five I remember going in to help a couple of times… or so I thought, but mostly likely I was just getting in the way,” Daniel said laughing.
“My younger brother is 14 and is really into farming too. He came across with me for a few Saturdays last calving and looks after our four lambs at home.
“I’ve done a little bit on the tractor which is great fun. I really enjoy doing anything I can with the young stock. The calves are amazing, so friendly and playful, plus I get to work with my Dad.”
It’s not all tractors and quad bikes, however. In his six months at Sansaw, Daniel has got stuck into plenty with the dairy and tries to learn as much as possible about grass management and cow health.
“I’ve learned quite a bit already and there’s lots of experience around the estate that I can learn from. There are plenty of people here willing to share their expertise and that’s what makes it great here.”