Dr Bethan E Till, Ruminant Specialist

Department: Sales

Farming roots

Bethan holding a pair of lambs

“I grew up near Beddgelert in Snowdonia on my family’s beef and sheep farm. Before my dad semi-retired we had over 1,000 Welsh mountain sheep and a suckler herd of Aberdeen Angus. I try to visit regularly so that I can assist my dad with various farming tasks such as scanning, lambing and shearing. I have always had a keen interest in farming and it has led me to where I am today.”

“I decided to go to university to learn more about Veterinary Bioscience and I completed my degree at Glasgow in 2014. Following this I studied a doctorate degree in Dairy Nutrition at Harper Adams from 2014-2018. The thesis I researched was about feeding algae to cows in order to increase the milk content of omega 3 whilst also boosting fertility."

"Through my studies I have had the opportunity to travel the world, I have presented my work at international conferences in the USA, Ireland and UK and won a Henry Plumb Scholarship to attend the RASC conference in Canada in 2019. I thoroughly enjoyed academic research as it at the forefront of innovation and leads to new discoveries and improvements. After graduating I felt it was the right time to move my career into the agricultural industry and help make a difference to farmers, animals and businesses.”   

Joining the team at ForFarmers

“I joined ForFarmers two and a half years ago as a Ruminant Specialist. I cover Powys and the Shropshire borders area which runs from Newtown to Shrewsbury and down from Oswestry to Church Stretton. As a Ruminant Specialist I work closely with dairy, beef and sheep farmers and agricultural merchants to help them with any nutritional or management needs, this includes everything from improving feed efficiency to cow comfort.” 

“My colleagues are really supportive and experienced which provides a nice learning and working environment. We have monthly team meetings where we discuss the latest market movements, campaigns, share learning and new ideas. Collectively this helps us to provide our customers with the best solutions and develops our younger members of the team.”

The best bits of the role

“One of the things I most enjoy about working at ForFarmers is the support from colleagues and specialists across the UK and with new challenges arising in the industry, I am constantly learning new things from speaking to both farmers and colleagues. The company has also been really flexible since I returned from maternity leave. I’m now juggling working life, training for an Ironman and have an 11 month old baby but I honestly feel really well supported. ”

 “I love being outside amongst the cows and there’s honestly no better way to assess how an animal is performing than seeing them in situ. The pandemic made visiting farms and herds tricky but I’m so glad that chapter is over and I’m back on the road visiting customers.”

“My role is really varied so you can find me walking cows, taking soil samples, reviewing rations and advising customers on our wide range of products and services. From my research background, I also enjoy running feed trials and I’m always looking for farms who are willing to try something new.”

Bethan Till

The changing farming seasons

“The farming calendar and seasons influence my role heavily and it keep things interesting. Over the past few months I’ve been working closely with my sheep farmers, helping them to formulate ewe diets ready for lambing. Next on the agenda will be spring; when measuring grass growth and quality will be critical to farmers and will aid their decision making in relation to turn out.”

“Later on in the autumn, my weekly schedule will be busy with forage sampling appointments and formulations for winter rations.”

Part of the bigger picture

“I am also part of the Ruminant Technical team and currently we are in the process of building a new rationing programme for beef cattle. This new rationing programme has been built on recent studies conducted across the UK and will therefore be very accurate in predicting LWG and formulating the best rations.”

“As a Ruminant Specialist I work closely with a range of other departments for example the straights team, to ensure customers get the best quotes for their feed. I also work with the local Forage Specialist and together we recommend seeds and crops which are most suited to the customer’s farm and business goals. We also provide tips on improving silage quality and feeding protocols.”

“Back in 2020, I worked closely with a Youngstock Specialist and we conducted a trial looking at fortifying cow’s milk with calf milk replacer. The calves in the treatment group on average weighed 7kg more by week 8 compared to the control group and impressively their DLWG was 130g more per day. The benefit of fortifying cow’s milk ensuring that calves have the required solid intakes, it also standardises the cow’s milk and collectively leads to better growth and performance. I was really pleased with the positive results and have been able to share the results and learnings with colleagues and customers.”

Bethan walking cows

In summary

“I love my job and being out and about, helping farmers with their animals. The world seems an uncertain place at the moment and a lot of questions on farm at the moment are related to improving efficiency and creating a sustainable business. I feel ForFarmers has the best tools, a wide portfolio of products along with a wealth of knowledgeable individuals who are here to help our customers achieve their goals.”