Hello from Wageningen - BGS at #EGF2015

Hello from Wageningen - BGS at #EGF2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Delegates gather in Wageningen for the 18th Symposium of the European Grassland Federation (EGF) 15th – 17th June. They are all looking forward to a diverse programme of plenaries, speed presentations and posters organised around three themes: Diversity in high output dairy systems in Europe, Grassland and fodder crops in high output systems and, High output and high eco-efficiency. Many of the participants are from across Europe, however others have come from as far as Canada and South America.

Wageningen itself is home to a university which leads globally in the life sciences. The research and innovation in food and agricultural science that’s grown around it has earned the area the official nickname “Food Valley”. Delegates will get the opportunity to experience a small part of that first-hand on Tuesday, when the mid-symposium tour heads out to see the lastest developments in grass breeding and Dutch grass variety testing in Lelystad and the new dairy buildings of Aeres Praktikcentrum Dronten where three distinct systems are being applied.

Dairy farming in the Netherlands has seen immense change in   recent decades, the average herd number now being ten times greater than fifty years ago, at about 85 cows. In the same timeframe milk per cow per year has increased twofold and output per hectare has trebled to 15, 000 kg per year. The themes of the symposium aim to reflect the questions, challenges and opportunities raised by this experience within the sector; how can grass and fodder crops be used optimally for sustainable intensification, will further optimisation enhance profitability, to what extent will societal preferences influence future direction in the industry, and so on?

So whilst delegates, myself included, are all looking forward to the symposium programme, good networking and elucidating conversations I hasten to add that the weather here is just about the same as in most of the UK at the moment, hence even if you couldn’t make it in person you can rest in the knowledge that we’re not experiencing a heatwave without you, just sit back and imagine you were here by following the goings on at twitter #efg2015.

CharlotteEvans, BGS Technical Project Manager

 

Image: Marcia Stienezen (Chair of Organisers,2nd from right) with student helpers and delegates as they arrive at the symposium.

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