Wales Farming Conference 2019
A day out to stimulate positivity, share forward thinking ideas and feel re-charged to face change head on. Featured quality speakers from Wales and beyond, the event left you feeling energised and empowered to see opportunity in every challenge.
After a truly inspiring day at our Wales Farming Conference, here are some of the highlights of the day:
Here are all of the presentations from the Conference:
Chris Moon MBE
Presentation: Challenge the concept of limitation
Here's Chris Moon speaking at our Wales Farming Conference:
Lloyd & Daphne Holterman
Here's Lloyd & Daphne Holterman speaking at our Wales Farming Conference:
Dr Jonathan Birnie
Presentation: Agriculture in 2025 - entering a new golden age?
Here's Dr Jonathan Birnie speaking at our Wales Farming Conference:
Findings and results from Farming Connect trials and projects
Here's our Technical Team giving their presentations at the Wales Farming Conference:
Gethin Prys Davies
Red Meat Technical Officer, North Wales
Despite all the negative press coverage red meat is receiving at the moment in respect of climate change and biodiversity loss, Gethin is optimistic that Welsh farmers are in a great position to produce beef with the lowest possible environmental impact. The key to achieving this is maximising efficiency and adopting a predominantly forage based system.
Gethin’s project at Orsedd Fawr has been looking at finishing beef off grass by 18 months of age and has identified some key underlying principles. Regardless of the cattle breed, the same principles apply in terms of achieving DLWG in excess of 1kg/day for the lifetime of the animal with minimal bought in concentrate usage. In order to achieve this, great emphasis has been placed on ensuring optimal animal health, managing grass quality and utilisation and producing top quality silage. Underpinning the system is regular weighing of cattle, this has proved an invaluable tool in terms of early detection of problems.
Red Meat Technical Officer, Mid Wales
In preparation for the uncertainty of Welsh agriculture post Brexit, Lisa deems improving on farm efficiency and productivity vital for success. One element that beef and sheep farmers especially can further improve on is grassland management. Farmers are fully aware of the vital components needed to grow grass, but many fall short when it comes to utilising it as efficiently as possible. Grass is the cheapest form of feed for ruminants, and hence why Rhidian Glyn at Rhiwgriafol is focussing on improving grassland utilisation and improving dry matter production. A techno grazing system has been set up on an old established ley for contract reared heifers to intensify the grazing and give more scope for the sheep enterprise. Adopting this method has allowed Rhidian to monitor grass growth and identify surplus or deficit of grass within the system.
Dairy Technical Officer, North Wales
For efficient cost effective milk production Rhys believes the two key things to get right is the level of grass production and management along with the functional breeding of the dairy cow which should be regarded as the engine of the whole business. The welsh pasture project for the last 3 years has been showcasing the benefits of regular measuring and interpretation of grass growth data as the bedrock for achieving high utilisation along with being a useful learning tool for individuals who want to find out their own KgDM/Ha/Day of growth and Average Farm Covers. Having worked with Marian Mawr on the Dairy Genomics project, the huge variability in the genetic potential of the modern dairy herd has been highlighted. The legacy of breeding decisions taken ten or more years ago can still filter through in new born females today, therefore attaining a clear accurate picture of the genetic potential of milk production, health and functional type traits from the offset is key to ensure optimised mating decisions and reduced replacement costs.
Dairy Technical Officer, South East Wales
To ensure milk is produced in the most efficient and profitable way Imogen believes important areas such as calf management, herd health and producing quality home grown forage are crucial for optimal herd performance.
The responsible use of antibiotics project at Goldsland emphasised the importance of good animal health and its knock on effect on drug usage. The project was able to highlight issues such as mastitis by reviewing antibiotic usage on the farm. Additionally, highlighting any missuses of antibiotics to ensure more efficient use of them in the future.
Having worked with New Dairy farm on their Multi-Cut project, the huge impact and importance of quality home grown forage was clear. The project so far has been able to show that even in the hot, dry silage season of last year, quality forage was able to be produced, that increased production when fed.
Poultry Technical Officer
Catherine joined the Technical Team in September 2018 and is keen to use her skills and experiences to support welsh farmers with their poultry businesses. She wants to run projects and events that will be of value to farmers and help the Welsh poultry sector to thrive. She is overseeing a range of projects. Examples of these include, assessing the success rate of using a product to control red mite in laying hens, using sensor technology to monitor performance in broiler units and evaluating health and safety benefits or using a palletising machine to aid egg collection. Catherine shares her time between Farming Connect and her family’s mixed farming business in Meifod. She previously held the role of Agriculture Manager at Co-op Food UK being responsible for the chicken, egg, turkey, beef and lamb categories. Prior to this she lived in London and worked in the Agriculture team of McDonald’s UK.
Forestry Technical Officer
Geraint is Farming Connect’s forestry sector specialist and has a wealth of knowledge in the field. One of his largest projects has been working with Garthmyn Isaf in Conwy to provide guidance on identifying and securing sustainable timber resources, listing opportunities and constraints that influence new planting schemes and provide guidance in obtaining and securing industry accreditation for standards and quality assurance. The project has helped to develop the supply chain in the local area, ensuring that the business can generate an income from the local timber supply base and local customer demand, as opposed to going further afield. The project has not only reduced the unsustainability of costly haulage for all concerned and provided tangible economic benefits, but also acted as a method of climate change mitigation as fuel supply haulage miles are reduced. Geraint is feeling optimistic about the opportunities woodland management offers for the farming industry in Wales, especially as increased emphasis is put on the provision of public goods.
Dr Delana Davies
Horticulture Technical Officer
Delana is working on a project to look at the effectiveness of using local arborist wood chip waste as a mulch to suppress weed growth was carried out at an organic vegetable growing site. The trial showed that wood chip mulch applied to transplanted purple sprouting broccoli and celeriac crops gave good weed control for a long period and did not appear to compete for nitrogen with the crop. The wood chip visibly increased soil moisture in a dry year, encouraged worm activity and several fungi also colonised the mulched plots. Mulches are likely to be most cost effective on perennial vegetable crops such as rhubarb and asparagus where the soil is not disturbed for several years and may also serve to improve soil structure and drought resilience while reducing soil erosion.
Here's Rhys Williams speaking at our Wales Farming Conference:
Presentation: Irish Beef Farmer of the Year 2017
Here's Ger Dineen speaking at our Wales Farming Conference:
Tom Foot & Neil Grigg
Here's Tom Foot & Neil Grigg speaking at our Wales Farming Conference:
Nuffield Showcase - A feast of the latest Nuffield research findings:-
Alexander Brewster, Perthshire
Geraint Powell, Cotswolds
Richard Tudor, Powys
Nuffield topic: Soil Health and Fertility in Grasslands: an essential component in improving upland beef and sheep productivity and sustainability.