2013 Joint Arable Conference Success

The very successful 1st Joint Arable Conference took place on the 15th January at Greenmount Campus, CAFRE.  This conference was jointly organised by the UAS/UFU/CAFRE and was focusing on improving profit through increasing yield.  The conference was well attended with over 230 delegates attending and they were treated to some excellent presentations.  David Shilliday from the UAS opened the conference and Tony O’Neill, Chairman of the Agri-food Strategy Board outlined his role and direction with his position.  The first presentation was Colin Patrick from Saaten Union, who outlined where plant breeding is at the moment and what direction it will take over the next 10 years.  This was followed by John Spink from Teagasc, on his presentation on the key factors for yield improvement and the presentation from Alastair Hodge, HGCA Monitor Farm, on Higher Winter Cereal Yields gave farmers an in-depth look at how Alastair achieves consistent high yields.  

The afternoon session commenced with Charlie Kilpatrick, CAFRE detailing the finance options available to farmers when looking to purchase new machinery.  This was followed by Dermot Forristal from Teagasc who gave a talk on Fertiliser spreading – Getting the Mechanics right, illustrated the effects of inaccurate fertiliser application rates.   Ian Beecher-Jones, HGCA then highlighted how a simple inclusion of precision farming can help to reduce costs by reducing the number of times needed to travel up and down the field before Phillip Reck from Co. Wexford then outlined his management techniques when using min till systems and achieving high spring cereal yields.  Andy Doyle from the Irish Farmers Journal then led a very good discussion and provided the delegates with an excellent overall summary before John Best from the UFU closed the conference.  

David Shilliday outgoing Chairman of the Ulster Arable Society commented on the success of this year’s conference.  He said; “The Ulster Arable Society are delighted to be working in conjunction with the Ulster Farmers Union and CAFRE in the organisation of the Arable Conference.  We, the Ulster Arable Society believe that the high turn out was a combination of excellent speakers, topics that were relevant to industry and the correct balance of practical and theoretic presentations.”  

Eric Long, Head of Crops, Horticulture and Sustainability Development Branch, CAFRE said “We are delighted with the resounding success of the first joint CAFRE, Ulster Farmers Union and Ulster Arable Society Arable Conference. The very large attendance along with very positive feedback from delegates reflects the merit of this collaborative approach to the planning and staging of the conference. The extremely large turn out also indicates the importance and significance of the arable crops sector to the local agri-food industry”

UFU Deputy President Barclay Bell said; “The UFU are delighted with the large turn out at the 2013 UAS/UFU/CAFRE Annual Arable Conference.  The UFU, CAFRE and UAS have worked hard on bringing this conference to the local arable sector and the UFU are very pleased with its success.   The conference focused on the main issues within the sector and outlined where efficiency can be achieved so that arable farming remains a viable sector within Northern Ireland.  The UFU hopes that the Agri Food Strategy Board will take this on board when producing their recommendations.”