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Grassland event discussions to focus on efficient feed production

May 4 2018

With the weather beginning to turn after a challenging few months, the thoughts of livestock farmers invariably turns to grass production – both for growing livestock and to produce silage for next winter.

Grassland management will be the centre of attention at the forthcoming Royal Welsh Grassland event in Four Crosses near Welshpool.

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) will be heavily involved at the biennial show on May 16. As well as acting as sponsors of the event and having a stand presence to discuss its latest work and distribute literature, HCC is organising a seminar series featuring contributions by top researchers on efficient grass management.

HCC’s Industry Development Officer Gwawr Parry, who will chair one of the seminars, said; “The successful production of home-grown feed is crucial to the red meat industry, so HCC is therefore pleased to be support the Royal Welsh Grassland event in Four Crosses on May 16. We’re delighted to have secured a number of excellent speakers for the on-site seminar series, some of whom bring an international perspective.”

“HCC also has a number of handbooks to distribute which give practical guides on grassland management and effective silage production, and we’ll be launching the 2018 edition of the Recommended Grass and Clover List” added Gwawr.

Two of the confirmed speakers are specialist grass breeding researchers at Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS).

Dr. Christina Marley will focus on the SUREROOT project, a £2.5million research venture backed by the BBSRC and a range of industry partners including HCC, to develop new grasses and clovers which reduce the risk of flooding and drought.

“SUREROOT is developing grasses and clovers with an increased root system and understanding how they can improve productivity and protect soil under extreme weather conditions”, said Dr. Marley.

Silage research scientist Rhun Fychan will outline SMARTsilage, a collaborative project which aims to save over £8m for Welsh farmers every year.

Rhun commented; “In clamp silage systems, ensiling losses are estimated to total 25%. This alone is a significant financial loss, but will also impact on silage quantity and animal performance. SMARTsilage brings together expertise to improve silage efficiency and reduce ensiling losses by exploiting new and existing technologies.”

Other speakers at the Grassland Event seminar series will add an international flavour. Anu Ellä, from Finland’s ProAgria, will give a presentation on the challenges of managing grassland in Scandinavia, while HCC Scholar Thomas Howells will outline his experience of studying Tecnograzing in the uplands of New Zealand.

The seminars will also include a discussion of the long-term future of agriculture after Brexit, featuring HCC Chairman Kevin Roberts.

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