‘Making the most of what you’ve got’ conference for arable growers

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The ‘Making the most of what you’ve got’ Arable Conference will take place on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at Greenmount Campus CAFRE.

This all day conference jointly organised by CAFRE, the Ulster Arable Society and the Ulster Farmers’ Union will provide arable growers with an update on current agronomy and business management issues.

The event organisers have arranged for a variety of top speakers to address delegates on the day. They are as follows:

Opening address –

Martin Grantley-Smith, AHDB, Strategy Director Cereals and Oilseeds

Martin is the AHDB Strategy Director for Cereals and Oilseeds, a role he took on two years ago. He is responsible for ensuring that AHDB has the right plans in place to meet the needs of the industry, oversee their delivery and develop good relations between AHDB, its levy payers and other stakeholders. He is accountable for all relevant levy spend and reports to the Cereals and Oilseeds Board

Previously he headed up the Business Development team for AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds (formerly HGCA), working with the Sector Board to shape the priorities and the business plan. Before it was merged into the AHDB, he worked for the Meat and Livestock Commission. He has significant agricultural and post-farmgate experience in a number of different areas; marketing and exports, strategic planning and development, project management and managing industry and Government relations across the UK. He has travelled extensively to the main cereal and oilseed growing areas in the world.

He is an Animal Physiology graduate from the University of London and has a PhD in Ruminant Nutrition from Reading University.

Ethel White – Head of Plant Research Station, AFBI Crossnacreevy

Ethel White is currently the senior scientist in charge of AFBI Crossnacreevy, the Plant Testing Station and the Official Seed Testing Station for Northern Ireland. She has been involved in the variety evaluation programmes in cereals and potatoes for many years and is now also involved with the grassland programme. Along with other senior staff at Crossnacreevy Ethel represents DAERA on UK technical committees with colleagues from the other DAs overseeing variety and seed matters.

The DAERA Cereals, Organic Manures and Soils (COMS) E&I project she is speaking about at the 2018 Arable conference, was developed out of a proposal developed by the Ulster Arable Society to look at the effects of organic manures on cereals and their soils.

Her research has also focused on nitrogen use efficiency in winter wheat. She contributed to the development of the N-Max guidelines included in the NI Nitrates Action programme. Oat quality for milling, and how it is influenced by variety, crop management and the environment, is an on-going interest. She contributes to the CAFRE Greenmount delivery of the BSc in Agricultural Technology at Queens University.

Steve Townsend –

Important nutrition

considerations for Northern Irish farms

For the past 19 years Steve Townsend has been working with farmers advising them on minimum tillage and no-till systems in the UK, Ireland and Europe. He has expertise in soil testing and crop nutrition programmes. Prior to running his own business, Steve spent 13 years with Monsanto, the last five of which he lead the ECOtillage project looking at minimum tillage for the UK within a partnership with Simba International. Steve is also a hobby farmer, running 9.6ha of Gloucestershire grassland with his family - wife Sharon and daughters Holly and Katie, keeping sheep, cattle and pigs.

Shay Phelan – Crops

Specialist, Teagasc

Shay is a native of Co. Laois, from a tillage farm where they grew malting barley, sugar beet and winter cereals. He graduated with an honours degree in Animal and Crops production from UCD in 1995. Shay joined Teagasc in 1997 as a dairy advisor before being appointed a tillage and potato crops advisor in Co. Dublin in 2001. He also worked in counties Meath, Kildare and Laois up until 2016 when he was appointed as the Tillage Crops and Potato Specialist based in Oakpark Carlow and covering the northern half of the country.

Rod Smith – Arable

Farmer, Northumberland

Rod farms over 1000 acres of predominantly heavy clay arable land in the North East of Northumberland.

He farms in partnership with his wife who also helps him in the Restaurant/Coffee shop and newly built bar and extended campsite.

Rod believes that intensive arable farming can co-exist with conservation backed up by numerous awards won on that front; Tye Trophy in 2009 for conservation; 2010 won UK’s most beautiful farm award and also the Silver Lapwing award for conservation.

Iain Johnston – Crops

Advisor, CAFRE

Iain is a past student of Greenmount and Harper Adams graduating in 1999 before taking up a role in AIB finance and Leasing in West Cork. In 2003 he joined the Department of Agriculture working on the Rural development programme.

In 2011 Iain joined the Crops Team in CAFRE as an arable crop technologist and worked on projects on crop nutrition, disease control and pesticide safety.

In 2012 he took up the role of Crops Development Adviser for the central region in Northern Ireland which involves development work with three cereal business development groups.

The role also involves promoting the benchmarking of physical and financial performance of arable farms to help growers identify areas to target for improving their enterprise performance. Since joining CAFRE crops team Iain has completed Basis Certificate in Crop protection, Facts certificate in crop nutrition, and Basis soil and water management certificate.

John McCallister – Land Mobility Programme Manager

John McCallister was born and grew up on a family farm in Glasker near Rathfriland, County Down. He attended CAFRE Greenmount and subsequently worked as a dairy farmer for almost 20 years and has since worked part time in beef farming.

During this time John has also headed up the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster as president 2003-2005 and sat on the Ulster Farmers’ Union Executive Committee. John took up the post of Land Mobility Manager in 2017 and has been working hard on launching the scheme across Northern Ireland.

Debate and discussion to include: Bruce Steele, Agronomist and Robert Moore, Arable Farmer, Facilitated by Andy Doyle, Tillage Editor, Irish Farmers’ Journal.

How to Book your Place?

Conference cost is £25 per person and booking is via the UFU website www.ufuni.org/events. If you have difficulty booking online, please contact Angela Scott at UFU HQ on 028 9037 0222.

Note: Places cannot be reserved and payment in full is required at the time of booking by credit or debit card. For conference speakers or facilities queries contact: CAFRE KT admin on 02894426790 or Email: kt.admin@daera-ni.gov.uk