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Managing feedstock goes on the agenda.

Byline: Karen Dent

WINTER feeding will dominate the agenda of the next Northumberland Monitor Farm project meeting.

The meeting at Donkin Rigg Farm near Morpeth will also look at how making small changes to farm buildings can significantly improve stock health and will review the scheme's summer activities and forthcoming plans.

Cliff Lister from animal feedblock manufacturer Caltech will discuss the importance of efficiently managing feedstock to ensure that costs are minimised and the condition of livestock is optimised.

He will cover how supplementation can aid the digestion of forage and extend stocks, and the importance of ensuring feed is kept in optimum condition.

Jamie Robertson, a research fellow at Aberdeen University will look at how simple changes to farm buildings can dramatically improve stock health and welfare.

He believes that many buildings are not fit for purpose, leaving stock at greater risk of sickness and reduced productivity, although many problems can solved through simple and relatively cheap updates.

And Donkin Rigg farmer Simon Bainbridge will review the summer activities on the farm.

Meetings over the summer looked at issues including grass aeration, seed performance, trace elements, renewables, lamb selection and tup purchasing.

The steering group for the monitor farm is now exploring how the information that has been generated so far can be put online so it is easier for other livestock farmers to access.

Co-facilitator John MacFarlane said: "The ethos of the Northumberland Monitor farm is to recognise the inherent production potential of the soil at Donkin Rigg and to maximise the financial return from that by efficient management of the soil, forage, livestock and business activity in a sustainable way.

"Simon is trying to do that by becoming self sufficient in his inputs and cutting out inefficiencies where he finds them."

The steering group has been carrying out its own review of the programme so far and putting together plans for autumn and winter topics and on-farm improvements.

The feed and farm building meeting takes place next Tuesday at 2pm, while a lunchtime event on November 22 will discuss Donkin Rigg's cattle breeding policy and the effect of trace element supplementation. Into next year, the first meeting of 2012 will be devoted to sheep farming and will be held at Morpeth Rugby Club on January 17.

To attend the October 18 meeting, pre-register with Helen or Sandra at Eblex by phoning 0870 241 8528 or by emailing
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 13, 2011
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