Month: September 2015

Progressive farmers top the bill at the first East of England Farming Conference

Progressive farmers top the bill at the first East of England Farming Conference

Be inspired by expert speakers at the first East of England Farming Conference this winter.

The debut conference will take place at the East of England Showground in Peterborough on Thursday 3 December.

Among the speakers will be four of the countries most innovative young farmers who will highlight a wide range of industry opportunities and challenges. Guy Thallon will discuss his successful agri-tech project whilst arable farmer Luke Abblitt will highlight the challenges he faced when he took on a council farm and worked to double his acreage.

Nuffield Scholar David Walston will focus on how he is using beef cattle to help improve soil conditions on his farm. He will be joined by fellow Scholar Russell McKenzie who has studied the benefits of no tillage establishment systems.

The conference will also look at the political and economic issues facing agriculture with presentations from Lucia Zitti, NFU Economist and Gail Souter, NFU Chief Economist.

The all-day event will include many opportunities for networking and a fringe exhibition with stands from leading businesses.

The conference is organised by the East of England Agricultural Society. It is supported by Anglia Farmers, Camgrain, Brown & Co, EDGE Careers, Bayer, Churchgate, Roythornes and Safety Revolution.

Tickets for the East of England Farming Conference are on sale now. Book online at

Practical seminar line-up at Smithfield Festival

Practical seminar line-up at Smithfield Festival

Practical advice that can be applied to any farming business is the key theme throughout the seminar line-up at this year’s East of England Smithfield Festival in November.

The seminar schedule will include sessions on red meat marketing, breeding management, introducing beef and sheep enterprises to an arable business, animal health planning, as well as contract-rearing options.

Show Director, William Haire explains that the seminars will cover topical aspects of livestock production. “At a time when everyone across the sector is focusing on being as efficient as possible and driving their businesses forward, it is important that we explore every opportunity to see where we can make improvements and utilise all the resources that are available to us.

“Often the simplest changes can make the biggest difference to our farms. The seminars will focus on providing those practical solutions that are relevant to everyone producing beef and lamb regardless of scale or experience.”

There will be a comprehensive range of beef and sheep topics up for discussion both in the seminars and in the help-desk area, with experts in a number of legislative and advisory capacities on hand to answer individual enquiries.

AHDB Beef and Lamb scientist Dr Liz Genever will talk visitors through the setting up of a rotational grazing system for beef or sheep, and how this could work within an arable farm. Adam Buitelaar from Buitelaar International trading will explain some of the opportunities with contract rearing and finishing of diary origin calves, while West Point vets will cover the various steps to creating and implementing an animal health plan.

“While the Festival is located in an area primarily recognised for arable production, there are a considerable number of large scale beef and lamb enterprises in the region with the potential for many more. The benefit of grazing sheep and cattle is widely acknowledged and their place in an arable rotation can be of significant benefit to overall farm profitability,” says Mr Haire.

“There will be something for everyone,” explains AHDB Beef and Lamb South East/East Regional Manager, Nerys Wright, who is leading a seminar session on the red meat prospects for the coming year.

“Export opportunities are quite challenging at the moment, and we can expect beef supplies to tighten up going forward. So, we need to fully appreciate that UK beef and lamb are commodities that are heavily impacted upon by what’s happening on the other side of the world, and export trade is an important part of that.”

Mrs Wright explains that as an industry, we still only get 60% of our lambs presented for slaughter at the correct specification. “If we could get 80% of lambs ‘in spec’, then it would go a long way towards helping producers to get better returns at the farm gate.

“We look forward to some lively discussion on all of these issues and are sure that visitors will leave the event with some new ideas and practical solutions to help their livestock businesses.”

The East of England Smithfield Festival, takes place on 26 and 27 November at the East of England Showground, Peterborough.

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