Filling the forage gap: Managing nutrients for a better silage crop
Press release on behalf of Organic Centre Wales 11-05-11
For immediate release
Organic Centre Wales is organising a demonstration farm event to help farmers make the best use of muck and slurry to increase silage production. The event will be held on Monday 23 May and is hosted by Arwyn and Carol Evans of Foel Cathau, who farm 60 suckler cattle and 450 ewes in the hills above Llangernyw.
Arwyn commented, “Since completing organic conversion in May 2010, my main challenge has been conserving enough forage - we are faced with a seven month winter where we are! I am hoping that with a little advice I will be able to work out a system that will make me more self sufficient, and using slurry and FYM to best effect is an important part of that.”
The event will look the issue from several angles. Gary Owen from ADAS will focus on handling and storage facilities, and steps farmers can take to minimise the volumes of manure and slurries generated. He also give guidance on how to assess the storage needs of the business and how to draw up an investment plan and provide practical advice on meeting a whole range of legal and agri-environment scheme commitments such as NVZ, COGAP and the organic standards.
Nichola Taylor of the Environment Agency will talk about the benefits of soil testing and spreading manures wisely. These include being able to optimise the pH and match the nutrients supplied by slurries and manures to what's already in the soil and what the crop needs. She will draw on Catchment Initiative work that the EA have undertaken in the area, and offer farmers in the Vale of Clwyd and in the catchment of the Elwy free soil testing as part of the project.
Daniel Downes of the Grassland Development Centre will be on hand all day to advise on grassland issues, and making the most of nutrient inputs to improve silage quality and quantity.
Mari Jones, Organic Centre Wales, Aberystwyth University SY23 3EB. Tel. 01970 622248, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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. See www.organiccentrewales.org.uk.
2. Farming Connect, Farming Connect is an integrated, Wales-wide scheme for farm and forestry businesses in Wales. First set up in 2001, a new range of services was launched by the Welsh Assembly Government in June 2008. It is funded through the Rural Development Plan 2007-2013 which is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Assembly Government. Working closely with its partner organisations, the scheme provides an accessible and flexible range of services including one-to-one support, knowledge, expertise, training and advisory services tailored to individual need. Many services are fully funded, and others are subsidised by 80% for all eligible farmers. All of them help farmers to run their businesses more efficiently. For further information call the Farming Connect Service Centre on 08456 000 813
3. The Organic Conversion Information Service (01970 622100) is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government to provide information to producers considering conversion – an information pack and up to three free on-farm visits are available.