17 May 2002


The Grassland 2002 Seminars cover a range of topics

to appeal to the dairy, beef and sheep farmer alike.

They take place on stand 504A

How you will profit from e-commerce – Nick Evans, First4Farming

AFTER the phenomenon turned into the dot.bomb escape, many industries have been unsure if the Internet has anything to offer their businesses.

Farmers are starting to buck this trend, and are recognising the opportunities for information the Internet offers their business. But an area that may have disappointed farmers is the lack of opportunity the Internet offers for buying and selling.

First4Farming managing director, Nick Evans will cover not only why the Internet e-commerce offering for agriculture to date has been slow to take off, but also why the future is looking much brighter.

"Farmers are looking for ways to increase their efficiency and simplify the administration side of their business," explains Nick. "By co-ordinating the whole agricultural supply chain using a common system, everyone from the raw material producer to the farmer will be able to operate more efficiently and reduce the cost-base for each business."

Come and listen to Nick Evans talk about what the Internet in the future will offer, and take up the opportunity to ask him how it will impact on your farm.

Managing fertility in grass-fed cows – Bridget Drew

A steady drop in the reproductive performance of UK dairy cows over the last 10 years is causing concern among dairy farmers and vets. One reason is the increase in milk yields and consequent nutrient demands, which we currently find difficult to fully satisfy.

There is increasing realisation that management practices and breeding programmes must focus more directly on maintaining and improving fertility rather than primarily on increasing milk production.

The fertility of cows at grass can be exceptionally poor, especially during spring turnout and periods of drought in mid-summer. This can reduce pregnancy rates to less than 20% over the immediate pre and post-turn-out period.

Unsupplemented grazed grass will not sustain milk yields of more than 30kg without loss of body condition. Cows that lose body condition are less likely to become pregnant and can suffer high rates of embryo mortality. High genetic merit cows fed high forage diets present a major challenge.

In this seminar research data will be presented to demonstrate the effect of summer management on the fertility of grazed cows and a number of management strategies are suggested to maximise cow fertility at grass.

The role of grass and clover – improving the efficiency of N use

Part 1: Role of New

Ryegrass varieties –

Dr Peter Wilkins

Research on dairy cows has shown that feeding fresh grass with improved sugar content increases the proportion of nitrogen recovered in the milk and reduces the amount of nitrogen excreted in urine. Increasing the sugar content also improves herbage digestibility.

Two new perennial ryegrass varieties are now available which are outstanding in sugar content, digestibility and dry matter yield under frequent grazing. Similarly, two new hybrid ryegrass varieties have very high sugar content at the first two silage cuts.

Part 2: Role of white and red clover –

Ian Rhodes

White clover is the more widely adaptable of the two species and has been the focus of more research and breeding in the UK in recent years. This presentation will illustrate how new varieties can now be used with confidence to give reliable and long-term performance in various agricultural enterprises.

Red clover is a widely-used productive species in temperate agriculture but in the UK its use declined from sales of 3000t of seed/annum in the early 1860s to 40t by the mid-1990s.

However, in the last few years interest has revived and consumption has increased at least five-fold. This presentation describes breeding efforts to extend the high yields of red clover beyond the first two years of a sward life.

Living with NVZs – Paddy Johnson, ADAS

The extension of NVZs is causing widespread concern among farmers, who fear that it will bring a big extra requirement for record-keeping and reduce the flexibility of individual production systems at a time when returns from farming are very low.

Paddy Johnson, a Lincs-based ADAS soil scientist, will focus on how the new NVZ rules will affect livestock farmers. "There are several misconceptions of the rules, which are causing unnecessary worries for livestock farmers," he says.

These will be discussed along with guidance on how to calculate your organic nitrogen loading within the limits allowed.

Farmers (like Jon Bennion, left, winner of the recent FW/Orchid data competition) are making ever greater use of their computers to search out technical information. Could e-commerce follow?

Wed, May 22

10.30am-11.15am How you will profit from e-commerce. Nick Evans, First4Farming

11.15am-12pm The role of grass and clover – improving the efficiency of N use. Ian Rhodes and Dr Peter Wilkins, IGER

12pm-12.40pm IFM for grassland farmers – time well spent. Mark Tripney, LEAF and George Fisher, Kemira

1pm-1.40pm Living with NVZs. Paddy Johnson, ADAS

2pm-2.40pm Managing fertility in grass-fed cows. Bridget Drew

Thu, May 23

11.15am-12pm The role of grass and clover – improving the efficiency of N use. Ian Rhodes and Dr Peter Wilkins, IGER

12pm-12.40pm IFM for grassland farmers – time well spent. Caroline Drummond, LEAF

1pm-1.40pm Living with NVZs. Paddy Johnson, ADAS

2pm-2.40pm Meeting the challenge of dairy farm assurance. Bob Beavan, LKL – White Gold Service

Clever clover? Oliver Seeds

Lewis Owen with one of the firms plots at Crewe Farm shortly after sowing in mid-August 2001.

Meeting the challenge of dairy farm assurance – Bob Beavan,

LKL – White Gold Service

Though some farmers may questions its validity, theres no doubt that farm assurance in all its different shapes and sizes is here to stay. More than 80% of grain produced in the UK is now assured and the push is on to get a similar coverage of UK milk output by the National Dairy Farm Assured Scheme. Milk buyers are increasingly likely to specify that their farmer suppliers meet the NDFAS standards, and only NDFAS-scheme accredited milk can have the little red tractor logo on it.

Bob Beavan is managing director of LKL-White Gold Service, a firm that has helped more than 1000 UK dairy farmers achieve the necessary standards before their official audit. In this presentation, he will look the requirements of the scheme and how dairy farmers can meet them.

IFM for Grassland Farmers – Time Well Spent —

Caroline Drummond, Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF).

LEAF will be using the Grassland Event for the official launch of its Integrated Farm Management guidelines aimed specifically at lowland livestock farmers. This will highlight environmental benefits, looking at areas like animal husbandry, soil and nutrient management and energy efficiency.

It will also show how environmental benefits can be provided within the framework of a profitable business.

NVZs will mean a greater need for record-keeping.

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