Commodity Watch - Annual Arable Conference 2015

Saturday, 27 December, 2014

Commodity Watch 

The annual joint CAFRE, Ulster Arable Society (UAS) and UFU Arable Conference has become a fixture in all arable farmer diaries for the last 3 years.  The past success of the event has been due to the combination of the topical subjects covered and the high standard papers delivered by researchers and technologists, which have been complemented by arable farmer speakers.

The 2015 event will be held at CAFRE’s Greenmount Campus on Tuesday 13th January and will focus on both the implications of CAP reform and other topical agronomy issues.

The key note speaker will be Guy Smith, who is currently Vice President of the National Farmers Union.  Guy farms 500 hectares of combinable crops on the north east Essex coast.  Guy Smith was Chair of Eastern Region NFU and the Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) Communications Committee.  He has undertaken two Nuffield Scholarships.  He was named NFU Farming Ambassador of the year in 2004.

The morning session will be chaired by the current UAS Chairman and specialist arable farmer Robert Moore.

In a similar fashion to the 2014 event, the proceedings will begin with a series of three talks, the first of which will be from Keith Johnston (DARD) who will outline the shape of the new CAP schemes due to be implemented from January 2015.  This will be followed by Co Down arable farmer Andrew Herron who will provide an insight into the plans that he has made for his arable farm to meet the challenges of CAP reform.

The final session of the morning will be a joint paper given by AFBI’s Deputy Chief Executive, Sinclair Mayne, and Dr Ethel White of AFBI Crossnacreevy.  This paper will give insight into current local arable research and future arable research priorities.

Over the lunch break growers will have the opportunity to view CAFRE’s Biobed Filter technology project, for the bioremediation of sprayer washings.

The afternoon session chaired by CAFRE’s Eric Long, will focus on agronomy issues of grass weed control and soil phosphate management.  David Wall, who is a Soil Scientist at Teagasc, Johnstown Castle together with Robin Bolton, CAFRE Senior Crops Development Adviser, will deliver the first paper entitled Efficient Soil Phosphate Management.  Over the last few years grass weed control in arable crops has become a greater challenge due to limitations on herbicides availability and cultivation techniques.  To address these issues Dr Stephen Moss of Rothamsted Research will deliver a paper, sponsored by the HGCA, on considerations for arable (grass) weed control.  The final paper of the day will be delivered by Co.Meath arable farmer and Irish Farmers Journal columnist Gerald Potterton. Gerald will give a farmers view on the practicalities of managing soil fertility and weed control on his farm.

The final discussion and question and answer session, with questions from the audience, will be facilitated by Andy Doyle the Irish Farmers Journal’s Tillage Editor.

6 Basis and 3 Nroso points will be available for attending this event (an application has been made for IASIS points).  To register (pre-registration is required with the event cost being £20, please make cheques payable to the Ulster Arable Society), please contact Development Service Admin, Greenmount Campus, tel: 028 94442 6770.