Norfolk Farming Conference examines the role of science in agriculture
The roles that new technology and science will play in the future of farming and food production will be discussed at the Norfolk Farming Conference on 21 February.
The event, called “The Norfolk Farming Conference Goes Global”, will examine what farmers in our region can learn from the latest scientific research at the John Innes Centre, NIAB and elsewhere, and how technological developments will change the face of food production in coming years.
Our recent weather, the pressure to increase yields and the latest developments in plant science and microbiology will be discussed by industry experts at the conference, which is organised by purchasing group Anglia Farmers (AF).
Bill Clark, Commercial Technical Director at NIAB TAG, will look at the reasons behind low wheat yields in 2012 and prospects for the next 10 years.
He said: “With wheat prices at an all-time high, yield is a key driver for profitability on farm. On-farm yields have been on a plateau for a decade or more, but research can help individual farmers get off the plateau.
“Agronomic research in our field experiments has highlighted some key factors that can limit on-farm yields. Plant breeding research has also produced significant yield potential in near-commercial breeding lines which offer the potential for very large yield increases of up to 20%.
“A combination of plant breeding and agronomic research should allow farmers to raise yields well above those currently achieved.”
Professor Dale Sanders, Director of the John Innes Centre, will give delegates an insight into the centre’s latest research and the benefits it can bring the agricultural community.
He said: “Instead of struggling with yield grains of half a percent, can we jump to five percent and more? Can we do this at the same time as reducing pollution and agriculture’s contribution to global warming, while also adapting crops to the extremes of weather wrought by climate change?
“Science can help achieve goals that seem impossibly conflicting. What we achieve in the UK can inspire and benefit farmers, breeders and researchers the world over.”
Taking up the theme of the challenges of changing weather, Dr Clare Goodess, Senior Researcher at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, will talk about our recent weather and future projections for the effect of the climate on farming.
AF chief executive Clarke Willis, chairman of the conference organising committee, said: “Our line-up of expert speakers will give delegates an insight into the latest research which is being carried out to provide farmers with the knowledge they need to stay one step ahead.”
The event, which takes place at the John Innes Conference Centre in Norwich from 8.30am to 3.45pm, will also feature a series of presentations examining the lessons UK farmers can learn from around the world.
For more information, visit www.norfolkfarmingconference.org