UGS annual conference to take place

Discussing plans for the upcoming Ulster Grassland Society (UGS) Annual Conference: John Henning, head of agricultural relations at Danske Bank; George Reid, UGS Honorary Secretary and Mark Blelock, UGS president elect
Discussing plans for the upcoming Ulster Grassland Society (UGS) Annual Conference: John Henning, head of agricultural relations at Danske Bank; George Reid, UGS Honorary Secretary and Mark Blelock, UGS president elect
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The Ulster Grassland Society (UGS) will host its 57th annual conference on Tuesday January 26th at the Dunsilly Hotel, Antrim.

The overarching theme of the event is: growing and utilising more grass, where does it all begin?

This year’s speakers will provide conference delegates with valuable perspectives on how farmers in Northern Ireland can better manage their soils in order to fully realise their grassland potential.

“At last year’s conference we heard that farmers in Northern Ireland are, on average, only obtaining half of the potential from their swards,” explained UGS president David Johnston.

“As grass is the cheapest livestock feed, this year’s conference will look at how farmers can best manage their land to optimise outputs from their swards.”

The four speakers for the conference are Jo Scamell; Dr Stan Lalor; Francis Breen and Michael Murphy.

Jo runs an independent company, Ground Level Nutrition Ltd, working in soil, forage and livestock nutrition management and consultancy. This work relates progressive soil management to efficient nutrient utilisation and the subsequent impact on livestock health. Jo will discuss the benefits of achieving a healthy soil and why this is the most successful and profitable way to improve production on a typical farm.

Stan is head of speciality with Grassland Agro. Stan will look at soil as the foundation for production for grass growth.

He will discuss the key components of soil fertility and steps to managing soil fertility such as soil testing, liming, fertiliser recommendations, slurry and selecting the right fertiliser product. He will look at targets for soil fertility on the farm and give fertiliser programme examples.

Francis is an adviser in the Northern Ireland Suckler Beef Programme. This is a joint initiative between the Irish Farmers’ Journal, CAFRE and ABP meat processors. The aim of the programme is to generate a roadmap to profitable beef production from the suckler herd. The programme focuses on breeding/fertility; grassland management and increasing output.

Michael is a dairy farmer and businessman from Cork. He has interests in America, New Zealand and Chile. Michael is a big advocate of improving soil fertility to grow more grass, whether to graze or make into silage.

He will look at the value of more grass utilised/ha and outline a plan to lift yields of grass. He will examine management during the grazing season, including the use of feed wedges. He will also give an insight into his businesses outside Ireland.

Presentation of the Grassland Farmer of the Year Awards will take place immediately before lunch.

Conference booking forms should be returned to UGS secretary George Reid by Monday January 18th. The fee for members is £20 per person: non-members £30 and young delegates £15. Events get underway on the day at 10.00am sharp.

For further information, contact UGS honorary secretary George Reid on 07920 037 910 or email: secretary@ulstergrassland.co.uk.