In depth agenda at UFU/UAS/CAFRE Arable Conference

Dermot Forristal, Teagasc, Oak Park is a researcher in Teagasc's Crops, Environment and Land Use Programme
Dermot Forristal, Teagasc, Oak Park is a researcher in Teagasc's Crops, Environment and Land Use Programme

THE programme for the upcoming arable conference at Greenmount Campus, CAFRE on the 15th January promises to be the most in depth and comprehensive look at the arable industry in Northern Ireland in recent years.

The speakers have all been drawn from the most experienced specialists’ in their fields, nationally and internationally. The event will open at 9.30am for registration with tea/coffee available upon arrival.

The conference will be eligible for BASIS points. Places are limited and are on a first come first serve basis, so advance booking is essential. The cost of the event is £20 which includes lunch.

To book your place contact Sonia Gillespie at UFU Headquarters on 028 90370222.

The full programme is as follows.

10am - Welcome / Morning Introduction – David Shilliday (UAS Chairman)

10.10am - Opening Speech - Tony O’Neill (Agri-food Strategy Board Chair)

10.30am - Plant Breeding for Yield Improvement

Colin Patrick, Trials and Seed Production Manager, Saaten Union, Colin is responsible for the day to day running of a national network of variety selection and agronomy trials on cereals and oilseed rape. This work also includes National List and Recommended List trials on oilseed rape, wheat and barley. In addition Colin is responsible for the early generation seed production of the company’s cereal varieties and provides commercial and technical support for the company’s range of products. Prior to his current position he worked as Trials Manager for Arable Research Centres (ARC) in the West of England and before that he was involved in the development and trialling of novel crops such as Evening Primrose and Borage for Scotia Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Originally from a mixed family farm near Bushmills in Co Antrim, Colin still has close family ties in the area.

11am - Key Factors for Yield Improvement

Dr John Spink, Teagasc, Oak Park is a graduate of the University of Leeds and started his career as an oilseed rape crop physiologist at Rothamsted Research. This was followed by 20 years in ADAS based in Hereford in the west of England, where he was involved in a wide range of research projects covering agronomy, crop physiology and disease control in a wide range of arable crops. He was head of crop physiology and agronomy, crop protection and bio-energy in ADAS, prior to moving to Teagasc, at Oak Park, Carlow in 2009, where he is now head of the Crop Science Research Department.

11.30am - Practical considerations for Higher Winter Cereal Yields Alastair Hodge, (HGCA Monitor Farmer) farms 154 hectares of combinable crops alongside running five cottage lets and finishing cattle throughout the year under management agreement. He currently grows winter wheat and barley for feed, as well as oats and milling wheat.

Afternoon Introduction – Eric Long (CAFRE)

1.30pm - Managing Machinery Costs

Charles Kilpatrick is CAFRE’s Senior Business Technologist responsible for benchmarking and business management support to Northern Ireland’s commercial horticulture industry, arable crops and renewable energy sectors.

Charlie will emphasise how all arable businesses should be ‘Planning for Profit’. In his talk, he will identify the various measures and performance indicators that can direct any producer towards greater efficiencies and improved returns.

2pm - Fertiliser Spreading – Getting the Mechanics Right

Dermot Forristal, Teagasc, Oak Park is a researcher in Teagasc’s Crops, Environment and Land Use Programme and is based at the Oak Park Research Centre in Carlow.

Dermot’s research interests are largely mechanisation based. While soil cultivations and soil compaction have been continual research themes, with in depth studies of minimum tillage in particular, Dermot has also worked on machinery costs, fuel and energy use and has an interest in all things mechanical.

2.30pm - The Potential for Precision Farming

Ian Beecher-Jones, HGCA Be Precise Project Manager, is a farmer’s son from Worcestershire who has run his own Agricultural consultancy business for six years with a major focus on Precision Farming.

He has been running the HGCA Precision Farming project, Be Precise for five years which is aimed at sharing the fundamentals of precision farming with growers, agronomists and machinery suppliers. This is now expanding in to the Horticultural and Potato sectors through Horticultural Development Company and the Potato Council.

He’s a 2006 Nuffield Scholar having studied Agricultural Engagement with Education. He was previously Director General of BAGMA, the UK farm machinery dealer’s trade association for 13 years.

3.15pm - Practical considerations for Higher Spring Cereal Yields

Philip Reck – Specialist Barley Grower, manages 1049ha (2590 acres) of light to medium loams within 20 miles of Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, Ireland.

Cropping is cereals and oilseed rape, all min-till established. Philip was the Irish Sprayer Operator of the Year for 2010 and covers nearly 20,000 acres per annum.

3.45pm - Discussion and Overall Summary

Andy Doyle, IFJ

4pm - Close – John Best (UFU)