Our Cattle Breeders Conference at the end of January concludes my year as chairman on a high. Such a good attendance speaks volumes about the way in which the British Cattle Breeders’ Club has developed. We were particularly proud and honoured to have Defra and AHDB launch TB Advantage – the world’s first breeding measure of TB resistance – at the Conference.
Across two-and-a half days the blend of speakers, the quality of their presentations, and their enthusiasm all combined to stimulate debate in the hall, and on-going discussion beyond it. Changing the programme format to end with a panel session on the last afternoon also ensured that delegates could head
for home at a good time.
There are too many speakers to mention individually. Suffice to say that the attendee feedback survey confirmed the thread that ran through the programme. Genomics remains an important, and intriguing, technology and was a recurring theme across many papers. Looking outside our own industry, and our own borders, the methodical use of genomics being deployed by Yorkshire Dairy Goats enabled us to learn valuable lessons for the cattle sector; while the focus on precision dairy is raising the stakes in The Netherlands as well.
Similarly, the fast emerging developments in embryo transfer, combined with karryomapping and genomic screening offers scope for ever greater genetic progress. At the same time, it was highly encouraging to hear how other players in the supply chain are partnering our breeding interests to provide more value to consumers.
We were blessed to have some first rate examples from practising farmers. Each showed an enthusiasm, along with attention to detail, which will bring inspiration and success to the cattle industry – from animal health and welfare to marketing to communication.
In conclusion, I would like to thank, and congratulate, Heidi Bradbury after her first year as secretary. It is never easy to follow someone who knows the ropes after a number of years in post; in BCBC’s case, Heidi made sure everything went without a glitch. I offer my best wishes to the committee for the forthcoming year, and I have no doubt that Iain Kerr, my successor, will bring the same professionalism and level of achieve-ment that he has shown at the British Limousin Cattle Society.
For anyone who may be tempted to come along for the first time, or who missed this year’s Conference, please go to www.cattlebreeders.org.uk and dip into some of the papers, which are available as ‘Talking Slides.’
Already I am looking forward to next year’s Conference from Monday 23rd to Wednesday 25th January – put it in the diary now.