A recent trip to the British Cattle Breeders Club Conference proved a great experience for a group of Reaseheath agriculture students.
Our first year Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture cohort had the opportunity to hear from a range of speakers at the Telford based conference, primarily focusing on beef production.
The first speaker, Yorkshire Dairy Goat’s Managing Director, Daivd Alvis, explained how his goat milking business provided him with a blue print (bioinformatics) for using data to analyse the performance of his Stabiliser beef herd.
Farmer Stuart Roberts went on to present his predictions the future landscape of beef breeding, drawing on his experiences in the industry and making reference to his own Stabiliser herd. Stuart described beef as the ‘best quality protein that people aspire to’ and that the ‘ruminant was the greatest way of turning cellulose into protein’.
The third session saw students gain an insight into cattle genotyping and discussion was held around the impact this would have on traceability. Dean Holroyd (Group Technical and Sustainability Director, ABP) spoke about improving carcass trait measurement using virtual imaging, followed by a PhD student who talked about developments in pen-side fluke infestation diagnosis in cattle and sheep, so that animals could be individually dosed according to individual fluke infestation levels.
After lunch AHDB’s Kim Matthews delivered a presentation about improving the eating quality of beef, with students picking up tips on ‘getting it right at every stage between production, processing and consumption’. The final sessions of the day focused on breeding strategies for TB resistance including a presentation from the Director of farm animal veterinary practice, Lambert, Leonard and May, Den Leonard, who spoke from ‘a vets perspective’ on approaches towards eradicating the disease.
All in all, it was a great learning experience and one which the students very much appreciated the opportunity of attending.