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Farming Conference to Reflect on Responsible Cattle Breeding
2012-01-11

The farming conference season is in full-flow and the end of January sees beef and dairy specialists take centre stage at the British Cattle Conference.

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This year’s theme of ‘Responsible breeding fit for future generations’ will be addressed by a diverse group of UK and international speakers ranging from cutting-edge scientists to innovative farmers at the coal-face of milk and meat production.

Organised by the British Cattle Breeders Club and chaired this year by Waitrose agriculture manager, Duncan Sinclair, the 2012 Telford-based event runs through Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 January.

Broadly split into beef (Tuesday) and dairy (Wednesday), a highlight of the annual event is the ‘Any questions’ session on the Tuesday evening. This year’s panellists are Richard MacDonald, former director general of the NFU and chairman of the Farming Regulation Task Force; Philip Lymbery, chief executive of Compassion in World Farming and joint chairman of the stakeholder forum, Beyond Calf Exports; and Ken Fletcher, deputy editor of The Scottish Farmer.

Conference speakers include:

Tuesday

  • Andrew Robinson, DEFRA’s deputy director of livestock and livestock products, who will address the challenges confronting cattle breeders with his first hand insight into the obligations facing farming, now and in the future.
  • Dr Maurice Bichard, animal breeding consultant, who will look into the barriers impeding genetic progress in the beef sector, drawing on his years of experience as a leading pig geneticist.
  • Charley Walker, a beef and sheep farmer from the Scottish borders, who will reveal how his move from conventional into low input farming has improved his returns while addressing societal needs.

Wednesday

  • Marco Winters, DairyCo’s head of genetics, who will make a timely appearance as the Holstein breeding industry prepares for the launch of genomic bull proofs soon after the conference.
  • Ben Bartlett, from NMR’s National Milk Laboratories, who will explain how quicker and cheaper fatty acid profiling of milk could pave the way for a ‘fatty acid index’ as a dairy cow breeding goal.
  • Dr Jude Capper, Assistant Professor of Dairy Science at Washington State University, USA, who will discuss environmental sustainability in the face of growing global demands for milk and meat.
  • David Cotton, chairman of RABDF and Somerset dairy farmer, who will explain the relationship he has with farming consultants, Kingshay, who are tenants and undertake trials on his farm.

Many further speakers (see full programme attached) will engage conference delegates throughout the event, while a series of associated workshops promises an inclusive debate for all.

The venue is the Telford Golf and Spa Hotel, and booking for single days or the whole event is through the Club secretary on 01409 241579 or lesley.lewin@cattlebreeders.org.uk.

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