Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Demonstrating EBLEX work at Grassland & Muck 2014

It’s always useful to speak face-to-face with farmers, and last week at Grassland & Muck 2014, EBLEX representatives had the chance to do just that on their stand at the Stoneleigh Park-based event.

At the hub of the EBLEX, DairyCo and British Grassland Society (BGS) stand was The Forage Café, a place for visitors to take the weight off their feet after browsing the 190-acre event, and chat to a range of experts over a complimentary drink. 

Dr Liz Genever, one of the representatives on the stand, said that many visitors who called in for a brew and a well-earned rest were keen to find out more about the role of EBLEX, with many surprised to learn the extent of the work done on the levy pound. 

Other visitors made a beeline for the five interactive demonstrations on the stand, which offered information and advice on growing lucerne, using a plate meter to get the best out of livestock, analysing soil compaction, recommended grass and clover varieties and forthcoming changes to pesticide regulations. 

Experts manning each of the demonstration areas reported high levels of interest and said that the opportunity to speak with farmers in such an open way was hugely beneficial to both parties.  Liz was on hand to talk about lucerne and said that although many of the people she engaged with were aware of it, some of them were concerned about its suitability.  This is understandable because lucerne isn’t appropriate for all land types. Although when it is, it’s a great option that offers many benefits in terms of yield, protein and drought tolerance.

Dr Paul Hargreaves, from Scotland’s Rural College, demonstrated ways to identify soil compaction.  He said that a large number of people were keen to talk to him about how the heavy rainfall over the last two years has impacted their land, with many taking away tips on how to analyse their soil and respond to the findings accordingly.
Grassland and Muck wasn’t the only event taking place last week, with Beef Expo also on in Hexham.  This was another fantastic opportunity for the EBLEX team to meet and chat with farmers from all over the country, and there was particular interest in Graymar Irresistible, a heifer that was painted to show where different beef cuts come from.  The innovative idea helped the EBLEX team to win a highly commended award for their indoor trade stand. Congratulations to all involved!

If you couldn’t make it to Grassland & Muck this year, or if you did go and missed the EBLEX stand, then why not check out the short videos from each of the demonstrations on the EBLEX YouTube channel? In the below video, Liz talks about lucerne.

Such was the positive response to the set-up of the stand at Grassland and Muck 2014 that plans are already being made to replicate it at Grassland UK 2015, which is held at The Royal Bath & West Showground in May. If you’re there, call in to The Forage Café. The EBLEX team is eager to meet you!

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