In the current climate consumers are focusing more and more on the environmental impact of their food. This is a major current challenge, to ensure profit for Welsh farmers whilst producing sustainable red meat.
In a bid to offer possible solutions, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is hosting two events – titled Innovative Farming for a Sustainable Future – where progressive farmers and young researcher will discuss the challenges, and HCC will give its response as it seeks to address key issues for the future.
The first of the two events will be held at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor, Glynllifon Campus on Tuesday 4 February starting at 18:30 with guest speaker Alwyn Phillips of Pen-y-Gelli-Farm, Caernarfon. Alwyn is a farmer who runs a data driven farm and makes the most of innovative programmes to improve his business and make it more profitable.
The second event will be held at Coleg Sir Gâr, Gelli Aur campus on Thursday 6 February starting at 18:30 with guest speaker Carmarthenshire farmer, Aled Picton Evans who runs a beef rearing and finishing unit with a key focus on production on pasture. Aled has developed innovative ways of making the most of grassland on his farm, where he seeks to finish dairy beef cattle.
Speaking at both events will be enthusiastic researcher Non Williams who is currently working on her PhD, ‘Optimised management of upland pasture for economic and environmental benefits’ at Bangor University under the supervision of Dr Prysor Williams and Dr James Gibbons. Last year, Non won the best poster prize at a Climate Change and Livestock Conference in London.
“A large proportion of the United Kingdom’s agricultural land is classified as uplands,” explains Non. “The majority of this land is used for livestock production but pasture productivity is often low. Improving pasture productivity and grass utilisation could provide numerous benefits such as increasing the length of the grazing season, thereby reducing supplementary feed requirements and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and upland cattle systems.
“The red meat sector is under considerable pressure to reduce its environmental burden. The findings of this project can be of relevance to this challenge.”
Non’s PhD is funded through the Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS 2) scheme. KESS 2 is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys. HCC is also collaborating on the project.