Excited for the future of grass

Scott Laidlaw at the ATP Workshop

Scott Laidlaw at the ATP Workshop

10 October 2012

The Advanced Training Partnership (ATP Pasture) for Sustainable and Efficient Food Production recently launched their training programme at Livestock 2012 on the 4th September. The partnership consisting of the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), The National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) and Bangor University is also celebrating the success of its inaugural CPD workshop ‘Get Smart with Grass’, which took place at the end of September.

Get Smart with Grass was the first of an exciting training programme, working towards addressing the skills needs of the UK’s pasture based beef, sheep and dairy supply chain. The two day workshop featured leading grassland expert Dr Scott Laidlaw of the Agri-Food Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland. Scott provided a detailed insight into the complexity of grasslands and delegates from a range of industry backgrounds left “feeling excited for the future of grass”.

Topics such as the effects of climate change on pasture management, grass species and grazing for profit were also covered in the workshop, providing delegates with a unique insight into new technologies and the ground breaking research taking place into sustainable grassland within IBERS and NIAB.

A particular focus at the ‘Get Smart with Grass’ workshop was the uptake of new technologies within the sector.  In order to explore this the workshop  included a visit to Steve Brandon’s award-winning farm, where he discussed the precision farming techniques which saw him win the British Grassland Society’s National Grassland Management Award in 2010.

Following on from the success of Get Smart with Grass, the ATP will be holding a number of workshops over the coming year. The first of which will focus on carbon foot printing and life cycle assessment for the pasture based agri-food industry, ‘Find Your Footprint’ will take place on the 31st January and the 1st February.