Tuesday, December 20, 2016
The provision of sufficient, nutritious food for the increasing world population, combined with efficient
use of nutrients and minimal losses to the environment, was the persistent theme of Agri-Tech Innovation Showcase at Rothamsted Research North Wyke on 8th December 2016. Around 80 participants including agri tech companies, academics and farming organisations attended the event, at which speakers highlighted the need to develop science-based management strategies that optimise and tailor use of non-renewable and resource-intensive inputs in the context of an increasingly unpredictable climate.
The opening session, chaired by Prof Angela Karp, Associate Director Rothamsted, heard from Prof Michael Lee, Head of the North Wyke site, Dr Ryan Law, Agricultural Research Manager at Dunbia, Duncan Forbes, Managing Director of Kingshay, Callum Harvey, Knowledge Transfer Manager with the Knowledge Transfer Network and David Rodda MBE, Rural Delivery Manager from the Cornwall Development Company.
Dr Law stated the challenges faced by the meat processing industry due to variability of beef quality, in respect of age, weight, breed and conformation grade and fat class, highlighting that other European countries had much better consistency with lower variability. Duncan Forbes outlined current challenges and opportunities for dairy farming, emphasising the importance of forage based diet that could help to gain better margins per litre of milk produced. Callum Harvey and David Rodda, spoke about current and future funding opportunities in agri-tech R&D and innovation.
In the second session, around 20 scientists and agri-tech companies gave pitches about collaboration opportunities they offer.
The day was completed with Robert Orr and Liz Dixon from Rothamsted North Wyke leading a tour of the facilities giving an overview of the precision agriculture practiced on the farm platform for beef and sheep farming. The farm platform produces over 1 million data sets a year on soil, water, nutrient losses in run off, plant and livestock management from its three 21-ha farmlets each having 30 cattle and 75 sheep to compare (a) using mineral fertilisers, (b) using legumes in place of inorganic N fertiliser; and (c) reseeding with the latest grass germplasm and innovative management.
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BGS is a membership organisation which acts as a communication forum, through events and publications, for the profitable and sustainable use of grass and forage.