Andrew Powers

Farmer story

Andrew Powers

First-generation farmer Andrew Powers is running his 1000-ewe enterprise near Ledbury Herefordshire, just an hour south of Birmingham.

What you’ll find there is a passionate farmer, who has embraced technology to help him run his business. It started with the implementation of technologies from New Zealand, but a few years ago Andrew started working with homeland based products to farm his two closed flocks of sheep. Andrew owns 350 New Zealand Romneys and manages a contract flock of 700 Highlander ewes.

Tyrrells Frith Farm, Falcon Lane, Ledbury, HR8 2JN
Marcle Farming // Sheep Farmer and contract shepherd // 1,000-ewe flock of New Zealand Romneys and Highlanders

Farm software

The first piece of farm software I used was Shearwell Data’s Stock Move Express 2 app. At the time, I used it for medicine and movement recording, which to me are important things to track. With Brexit looming, I made the decision in 2019 to use available EU grant funding to invest in new equipment.

In the first instance, I was looking for a new mobile handling system and an electronic weigh system. When, on a Rappa demo day, there was the opportunity to invest in the iLivestock system that is an all-in-one system so that my requirements for data capture could happen in one place. I knew that’s what I wanted. On top of the iLivestock app I noticed they also provided a weigh head called ‘eWeigh’, the idea of being able to capture weights and breeding data straight into my app was amazing! It has changed the way I manage my farm and contract flock.


eWeigh is a fully integrated piece of hardware from iLivestock that is made in Scotland. It connects to the load bars/cells within the weigh crate and uses your phone as a dedicated weigh screen.

When paired with an EID reader it makes everything even quicker than before. As it is integrated directly into iLivestock I can add, personalise and, most importantly, analyse the information I gather. To breed better flocks essentially, with the traits that I want for my sheep. Most of the land I farm is permanent pasture that has had a lot of sheep over the years. It’s not good quality grazing. Therefore, I want to breed an animal that will hold its condition and perform whilst in this system. To have my ewes rear lambs better and to get a healthier, happier and more profitable flock.

I instantly liked how eWeigh worked. The fact that weigh data goes straight into the iLivestock app, rather than having a different piece of equipment you’ve got to lug around and remember how to use, is a huge practical benefit.

Also because of the mobile application, there is no need to carry an EID Stick reader with me all the time. As I check the ewes in the fields, all I need to do is bring my phone and type in its management number. This is really useful, particularly at lambing time.

Farm management

With the iLivestock app, I hold breeding records of all ewes and the fields where my Romneys run. During lambing time I set stock. I know exactly which ewes are in which fields, and how many lambs we’re expecting them to have. The app keeps track of the birthing date, the amount of lambs she’s had, any problems that she’s had and so on. It’s quite a simple system. It’s great. It’s easy to use. I like the fact you’ve always got it with you because it’s on your phone. I’ve always got my medicine records with me, when I swing by the vet or pick up medicine.

The iLivestock platform is a user-friendly farm management program, with the added benefits of a useful weighing system, where I can record all the breeding traits I need to base my future flock selection on. And I like the idea that I work with real-time information, available to me 24/7. When I decide to sell animals, a quick scan updates all records in the cloud. I can add notes in the mobile app, if necessary. Because all information is handled digitally, it is much easier to send my reports to the required government database, such as Livestock Information Service. With a push of a button, I can export all the information and email the file over.

It’s an opportunity to have a more user friendly, useful weighing system and to be able to record more traits to help me breed better quality sheep