30 June 2000

Help fund a worthy ideal

UK livestock producers are blessed with a moderate climate, but should realise how unimportant it is in agricultural terms and that land in other countries is not yet a limiting factor.

Those are some of the lessons retired nutritionist Gordon Newman says he learned abroad. "Half of my learning has come from travelling," he says.

"The unique thing about agriculture is that farmers are prepared to share their secrets with others. When a farmer talks to a farmer each learns from the other. I never went anywhere and didnt learn something."

Of the countries Mr Newman has visited, Israel, Brazil and China were most notable.

"In Israel they have shown what genetics can do to a dairy cow in spite of the conditions in which cows are kept, with an unfavourable climate and poor availability of good diet ingredients." Their bull proving scheme has been a great success.

His visit to Brazil showed the enormous potential of South America in terms of agricultural production, and China will be the next world power in agriculture because it can feed its population.

Mr Newman recently retired from agriculture, aged 75, having seen much change during his time in the industry.

"Wheat yields have trebled and cow yields doubled." Output/man has also increased with mechanisation and the workforce has declined, he adds.

In livestock production, silage has been a major development as has more dependence on grass. "There have been major advances in grazing management which have allowed a lot more output of milk and meat."

In recognition of his passion for agriculture, some of the friends Gordon Newman has worked with in the Maize Growers Association have set up the Gordon Newman Travel Awards.

The trustees, Barrie Bryer, John Gerring and Norman Light, hope that some of the many agriculturalists who have benefited from Mr Newmans encouragment, wisdom and generosity will donate to the fund and apply to undertake a short study project.

The trustees hope that despite the current difficult times, Mr Newmans friends will donate generously.

The objective is to raise money to fund a number of short study projects based on forage production and use, the environment and animal welfare over the next two years. Successful applicants will make their findings available through a written report and by attending meetings and conferences.

To donate to the travel award fund or for more details on applying for an award please return the form below. &#42

Travel is important: Half of my learning has come from travelling, says Gordon Newman.