Matthew Blyth is an experienced innovator within the sheep and beef industry, and is the founder of Blyth Livestock Advisory Services – BLAS.
For the past 13 years, Matthew has been flock manager of Didling Farms in West Sussex. He runs a closed flock of 1,000 Lleyn and Lleyn-cross ewes on 316 hectares, with 194ha available for grazing, but of variable pasture quality. With his keen attention for detail and focus on continuous improvement, Matthew identified ways for measuring and monitoring grass performance to optimise livestock nutrition levels, and for monitoring livestock performance to improve farm profitability. He was one of the first farmers to embrace EID technology to collect key livestock data, engages a targeted approach to managing parasite challenges, and operates a rotational grazing system with a small herd of cattle. This holistic approach to managing the farm has proven that collecting and using data can improve decision-making and profitability.
Key to Matthew’s strategy is utilising a range of data management tools, including FARMAX – software that has been developed in New Zealand to model any farm to provide the producer with clarity and direction on decision making processes. Matthew is the first FARMAX Elite Accredited Consultant outside New Zealand. He works closely with the developers in New Zealand to continue the testing and development of data capture in the livestock industry, and regularly shares his knowledge and experience with farmers and students in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand.
From 2012 to 2018, Matthew worked with AHDB as part of the FARMAX Validation Project, proving the value of this software in the livestock industry. He also works closely on other projects with AHDB: he was one of only three farms selected to participate in the 4-year Sheep Key Performance Indicators Validation Project, and is currently involved in their 7-year Challenge Sheep Project. Both of these projects contribute to nationwide research and enable Matthew to review and benchmark his productivity levels against others.
Farming Connect recently engaged Matthew’s experience and expertise in both FARMAX and practical EID use with both their Tag Project and System Review project.
Matthew has also been invited by the NSA to guide and advise young farmers, as well as judging practical ability and husbandry standards to improve standards within the industry.