Farmers advised on maximising profitability

Farmers have been told that tailoring investment in pasture improvements and nutritional supplements to the particular needs of individual farms is the best way to secure financial gain.

This was the message delegates took away from the latest ON-Farm 2016 event, organised by Hybu Cig Cymru Meat Promotion Wales (HCC). The event saw farmers and agricultural students joined by four leading academic experts at the forefront of new research in the industry. HCC organised the event part of a series of conferences to communicate the results of its research and development activity directly to the sector in order to encourage innovatation.

With a special focus on grasslands, speakers from the University of Nottingham and Aberystwyths IBERS discussed how grassland research can bring tangible benefits to drought and flood resistance and animal health. A special workshop with students from Llysfasi was held in the afternoon, followed by an open meeting in the evening.

Nottinghams professor Kevin Sinclair revealed that cobalt deficiency in sheep costs up to 35 million to the industry, while his colleague Dr Nigel Kendalls research showed that looking at grassland and environmental factors on individual farms was a more efficient way of dealing with the problem than expensive mineral supplements, said HCCs industry development officer Gwawr Parry.

Grassland expert Chris Duller outlined the ways in which farmers can make informed choices about which varieties of grass and clover would suit their systems best, leading to significant productivity gains, and professor Marshall from IBERS was able to show how a major research project, part-funded by HCC, would lead to grassland that had better drought and flood resistance, while maintaining high yields.

Dr Julie Finch, HCCs head of corporate strategy, said the day was a great success: This new series of ON-Farm innovation events is proving to be extremely popular with farmers and with our future farming generation.

It is the HCC investment in R&D [research and development] that will help to shape the tools available to our farmers, now and in the future. Our ON-Farm 2016 events, such as the grassland workshop in Ruthin, will hopefully make an important contribution to developing the profitability and sustainability of the sector.

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