Ty Gwyn Farm at Trawsgoed in Ceredigion will be the venue for an event to be held on Tuesday 25 May, at which farmers will be able to get some useful information about managing organic milk contracts. They will also find out how plant research conducted at IBERS can benefit them. The event is being organised by Organic Centre Wales as part of the Farming Connect Organic Development Programme and is aimed at all organic dairy farmers.
Aberystwyth's 220 ha organic dairy unit milks just under 150 cows producing 6,000 litres each, and has a well earned reputation for providing useful and reliable information to the dairy sector.
“How many farmers actually achieve the maximum price in their contract is a moot point,” said Senior ADAS Consultant Carolyn Smith, who will be leading the event. “Taking time to examine the milk contract and its constituents carefully will help maximise the price that farmers receive.
“The variety of milk contracts available is confusing enough, apart from the complexity of individual contracts. Farmers might be producing to a contract that pays on compositional quality, or it might be a liquid or 'white water' contract. Then there are the variables of seasonality and volume, as well as the hygiene bands which reward or penalise accordingly.”
And it is because grassland and efficient use of forage is vitally important to efficient milk production that Heather McCalman of the Grassland Development Centre at IBERS, Aberystwyth University, will update producers on a plant breeding programme that aims to prepare farms for the challenges of the future. All organic farmers that grow red clover would love to grow a crop that persisted for at least four years and have increased pest and disease resistance. These are just two of the objectives being tackled by the breeders, who are simultaneously continuing the quest for high quality and yield.
IBERS high-sugar grasses also have much to offer organic farmers as they can increase productivity and reduce the amount of methane produced by ruminants. The tradition of excellent grass breeding continues as the researchers turn their attention to improving the efficiency of P and N use, both from the soil and within the plant. This is important to organic farmers, who seek to be productive with minimum impact.
“With these two important themes being discussed at our event at Ty Gwyn, I would urge organic dairy farmers to attend - I'm sure that time away from their farms will be amply rewarded,” said Phil Jones of OCW, the event organiser.
The event will be held at Ty Gwyn, Trawsgoed SY23 4LL, beginning at 11.30am and ending at 3.30pm. Please bring footwear that can be disinfected as some of the time will be spent in fields looking at a variety of forages. Places are free, but you should book your lunch with Phil Jones on 01970 622100.
, Organic Centre Wales 01970 622100.
Notes for editors
1. Organic Centre Wales is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government to provide information on organic food and farming to producers, food businesses, consumers and others. It is based at Aberystwyth University and run by a partnership consisting of the ADAS, the Organic Research Centre Elm Farm, and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University.
2. The Organic Conversion Information Service (01970 622100) is funded by WAG to provide information to producers considering conversion – an information pack and up to three free on-farm visits are available.
3. For information on when the Organic Farming Scheme is likely to be open next, contact the organic helpline on 01970 622100.
4. Farming Connect, working closely with its partner organisations, provides one to one support, knowledge, expertise, training and advisory services tailored to the needs of farmers in Wales. Many of these services are fully funded or subsidised and the service is both flexible and accessible. You can register with the Farming Connect Service Centre on 08456 000 813 or contact Farming Connect directly at your nearest WAG Divisional Office. OCW is funded by Farming Connect to deliver the Organic Development Programme.
5. The Grassland Development Centre (GDC) at IBERS, Aberystwyth University, seeks to bridge the gap between farming and research, working closely with the other Farming Connect Development Programmes to offer technical support to farmers across Wales. The team are also involved in many other R & D projects including DefraLINK, BBSRC Knowledge Transfer initiatives and Welsh Assembly supply chain efficiency programmes across Wales.