USA training centre opens doors to UK dairy industry

Dairy industry workers are being given the opportunity to expand their management skills at a world-class Global Training Centre located in Washington, USA.

Genetics company World Wide Sires has opened its American training centre to UK workers through its parent business World Wide Sires UK.

It is hoped that conveying the US experience to UK producers and advisers will enhance management practices and improve performance and profits in UK herds.

See also: Warning to dairy farmers who have cut corners to reduce spend

Located in Washington State, the Global Training Centre’s (GTC) two key courses are in advanced dairy management and advanced reproduction (see boxes). Courses are delivered in eight days of intense activity and in collaboration with five dairy herds, ranging in size from 1,000 to 24,000 cows.

The reproductive course covers:

  • Advanced AI skills
  • Understanding and observing heat
  • Understanding oestrus
  • The consequences of poor fertility
  • Data required to measure fertility performance

The advanced herd management course covers a wide-range of subjects some of which include:

  • Calf rearing
  • Fresh cow checks
  • Transition management
  • Staff management
  • Reproduction
  • Business/finance

“These two programmes provide the perfect opportunity for any UK farmers, farm workers or agriculturalists to learn from the leading American producers and trainers,” says Mike Halliwell from WWS UK.

“These producers have been through the pain of low milk prices which have beset their industry for around 20 years; we now have the opportunity to learn from the best of those who survived, and understand how they did it.”

Mr Halliwell explained why WWS was taking this broad-based approach to farm management training despite the company’s heritage in the genetics industry.

“Yes, WWS is a genetics company, but we have a role, a responsibility and actually a self-interest, in helping our customers to stay in business,” he said.

“Farmers know they can buy their genetics from many sources but if we can help them get the most out of that product through better management, we can certainly help them to meet the challenges dairy farmers will face in the years ahead.

The centre has already its first tranche of UK trainees earlier this year – including farmers, vets, nutritionists, representatives from milk buyers and dairy farm consultants.

Elizabeth Custer from Kite Consulting was among the first UK participants and says: “In my opinion, the success of this course revolves around the fact that the training is carried out on farms which are independently serviced by two of the GTC vets. This creates a level of commercialism and relevance which buys credibility.”

Farmers can find out more information at a series of open farmer evening meetings, hosted by WWS UK and GTC staff from the Washington state unit.

Dates and venues include:

12 Dec: Carlisle – Cattle Market

13 Dec: Beeston – Royal Boar Hotel

14 Dec: Shrewsbury – Cattle Market

15 Dec: Marlborough – Golf Club

16 Dec: Taunton – TBC

For more information on training availability and times of the opening evenings call Mike Halliwell on 07710 474 145.

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