Digest 70


With the 2015 Cattle Breeders Conference behind us, it’s timely to reflect on my year as Chairman and pass on the baton to my successor Roger Trewhella.

I am indebted to those involved in the organising committee who again offered real support and worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the conference and together delivered such an interesting programme.

This, along with the professionalism of our Secretary Lesley Lewin, aided by Heidi Bradbury, resulted in an incredibly well received event.

The theme ‘Meeting market demands through co-operation’ gave us the opportunity to consider the current dynamics in the marketplace for beef, both at home and overseas. With growing world population and affluence, comes a desire to consume increasing amounts of protein which is forecast to outstrip supply. That presents both a great challenge but also a great opportunity to satisfy this demand – what industry wouldn’t want such a situation at their feet?

The programme over both days offered the opportunity for high quality speakers to present their thoughts of what the sector could or should do to capitalise on the potential. On the beef day, Professor Patrick Wall highlighted the importance of protein in the diet but also the negative image of meat held in some quarters, while Professor Chris Calkins discussed how the US beef industry had addressed consumer demand by developing new cutting methods. Genetic advancement and recording was featured, as was managing volatility and sustainability for the beef sector. Australian Tom Gubbins and Paul Westaway closed the day with an up-beat farmer view on what lies ahead.

The dairy day delivered stimulating sessions on how to develop the sector for the future, using the latest academic research and innovation, while being profitable. Dr George Wiggins discussed what genomics can offer the sector in these goals while Professor Liam Sinclair encouraged the uptake of science at the farm level. The day was closed by farmers Andy Gubb and David Homer sharing their journey and their future aspirations.

I was delighted with the attendance at the Club Dinner and would like to thank our ‘Any Questions’ panel of Professor Patrick Wall (University College Dublin) Minette Batters (NFU) and farm business consultant, David Alvis who shared their views across a wide range of subjects ably chaired by Paul Westaway.

The BCBC is a club, run by the enthusiasm of its members for like-minded industry professionals to share their knowledge and I hope those who attended got a real sense of that ethos. As I pass onto Roger Trewhella, I would like to encourage you all to join us again next year, 18th – 20th January, for the next instalment. Finally, on behalf of the club I would like to express a final thanks to our outgoing secretary Lesley Lewin who retires after some 14 years in the role – we wish her all the very best for the future.

We also welcome our new secretary Heidi Bradbury who will take us forward in 2015.