Farmer Focus: Knowledge exchange at Nuffield conference

I’ve just returned from the 2016 Nuffield Conference in Newcastle.

As always you leave the three-day conference feeling inspired, educated and tired.

This year I was on the organising committee and so the pressure was on to put a good show on and although I’m biased I must say the Northern team did just that.

See also: Read more from the Livestock Farmer Focus writers

The Nuffield family is quite unique and every year more people join, but sadly we lose some fantastic past scholars.

However, we all strive to be ‘leading positive change in agriculture’.

The presentations from the returning scholars form the main part of the conference where we hear what they have learned from their two years travelling the length and breadth of the world.

Topics varied from soil quality, family businesses, antibiotics in agriculture to mental health.

But as with every conference the place where you gather the best information and networking is at the bar.

If you would like to learn more about the Nuffield Scholarships Trust, then visit the Nuffield scholar website.

It has somehow got around to this time of year again where Christmas is just around the corner and so planning is key for a smooth-running business over the festive season.

This year Christmas Day falls well for pig farmers, we normally change our weaning day to make 25 December a little easier for all involved, but Sundays are our easiest days and so minimal staff will come in.

We are big believers that everyone should have time off during this time of year, but it’s vital our standards remain high and so we draft in other family members to help ease the pressure.

On the finishing side of the business no matter what day Christmas is we are always knocked back on pigs going into the abattoir.

We have to be careful to make sure this does not hit us hard as overweight’s can be very costly and likewise sending lightweights running up to Christmas can eat into any profits.

Planning is key as yards like to be empty, washed out and re-filled in set times and if we can’t get the pigs out in time if affects all my planning of where each weaning goes.

It really is a big jigsaw and one wrong movement can have big consequences.

I hope everyone has a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous 2017.

Kate Morgan and family farm 1,700 sows indoors in East Yorkshire and 1,200 outdoors in North Yorkshire, taking all the progeny through to slaughter. 2012 Nuffield Scholar.