'Green Genes' Revolutionising cattle breeding for a sustainable future

How can farmers adapt to meet the climate change challenges? This was the question posed at our annual conference in Telford, Shropshire in January.

Acclaimed academics, scientists and leading farmers told delegates how a combination of tools could help farmers deliver Net Zero.

These included adopting carbon calculators, breeding more efficient animals, greater supply chain collaboration and moving to regenerative agriculture. 

  • Professor John Gilliland, from Queens University Belfast and AHDB adviser, presented findings from the ARC Zero project, which involved seven farms in Northern Ireland.
  • ffinlo Costain, Chief Editor of 8point9.com and former chief executive of the think tank Farmwel, spoke about how regenerative farming was fundamental to delivering ecological security and turning the tide on the climate crisis.
  • Organic dairy farmer, Wil Armitage from Leicestershire, said soil health was a key part of a healthy business alongside healthy cows, people and profit.
  • Aberdeenshire suckler farmer Duncan Morrison explained how running a simple, low-cost grass-based system had helped him build a ‘lean and mean’ business.
  • Mark Smith, EMEA Beef Director at Genus ABS, said: “Sustainability starts with genetics. It’s permanent and cumulative - it carries on generation after generation.”
  • Dairy farmer Rory Christie, from Dourie Farming Co in South-West Scotland, revealed how he and three other farmers, led by geneticist Mike Coffey from SRUC, have helped create the first crossbreeding genomic index as part of the Fast Breeders Project.

BCBC Chairman, Ben Harman, said: “In the face of perceived challenges ahead, there was an overwhelming positivity from speakers and delegate alike.

“While it was clear that there is no silver bullet, the use of accurate data in our management and breeding decisions will help us improve our environmental and economic sustainability.”

Presentations from the 2024 conference and past conference's are available for BCBC members to view online via British Cattle Breeders Club (talkingslideshd.com) 

Date for your Diary - the 2025 Conference will be held from Monday 20th - 22nd January in Telford, Shropshire.

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