sheep and lambs

Spending three weeks living in a yurt on the foothills of Snowdonia might sound like a relaxing getaway, but for the three families signed up for The Family Farm (BBC2, 18 June, 8pm) it’s three long weeks of hard graft discovering the realities of working on a farm in north Wales.

The first of the four-part series focused on sheep farming. The families first rounded up the flock - an exercise that made a gym membership seem futile - for a health check, where those with broken teeth who were unable to feed themselves were separated to be sold for meat.

Before heading to the livestock auction, the sheep needed to be sheared. Synthetic materials have caused the value of wool to plummet and it now makes up only 4% of all fibres used in the UK, presenter Kate Humble revealed. Farm owner and family mentor Gareth Wyn Jones revealed he loses money after paying shearers £1 per sheep, as each fleece is worth only 80p.

Looking to recoup some of the losses, a dozen sheep were sold at auction for a total of £300 to buyers acting on behalf of abattoirs and wholesalers, for whom exports make up a large part of their business. Humble said that of all Welsh lambs sold at auction, only 5% were eaten in Wales - 60% goes to rest of the UK and the remaining 35% is exported, mostly to mainland Europe.

The rest of the series will see the families work at farms producing on larger scales and looking to improve the supply chain, offering a keen insight into British farming and food production.