press releases

28 June 2011
Urgent review needed of UK dairy farming’s priorities for R&D and Knowledge Exchange

To ensure that UK dairy farm businesses can remain competitive through the next decade, a better balance of basic and applied research and a better co-ordination of research and knowledge exchange are needed, warns the Dairy Science Forum.

To achieve this, the Dairy Science Forum is calling for an urgent review to rationalize both the funding for new research and also to ensure that existing research knowledge is appropriately disseminated into the industry where it can be of value.  DSF chairman David Black, MD of Paragon Veterinary Group in Cumbria and also MD of XLVets, explains: “Mechanisms need to be explored to ensure that research findings are taken out into the field and a meaningful difference achieved.  “At a meeting we held earlier this year, we concluded that the main “pinch point” is in the area of knowledge exchange and implementation.”
Over the next decade, strong growth in global dairy product consumption is expected, with diet change driven by population increase, social development and greater wealth. The DSF believe that a review of funding and research priorities is needed in the UK dairy industry, not just to promote a sustainable and profitable industry, but also to meet the extra demand on supply in the future. Mr Black adds: “The fundamental challenge for the UK dairy industry is to continue to improve competitiveness - it needs to be improving both its effectiveness and its efficiency. “However, although many farming businesses have made significant improvements in farm technical efficiency, there remains a large variation within systems. In fact, the variation in technical performance between farms with similar production systems can be as much as a third.“A better understanding is also needed of the drivers of behaviour change and barriers to adoption of new technology. “In planning for the future, apart from technical efficiency, dairy farmers face a raft of relatively new issues: water and air quality, human health attributes of the food they produce, and sustainability challenges in relation to fossil fuel, water, phosphate and nitrogen. “Excellent standards of animal health and welfare will continue to be high on the list of consumer requirements in addition to being vital for profitable and sustainable milk production,” concludes Mr Black.The Dairy Science Forum is a panel of experts each specialised in a particular segment of the dairy industry. To find out more on the Forum’s views, go to www.dairyscienceforum.org for the latest review paper which outlines the areas in which further dairy research is needed, and the areas where improvements in knowledge exchange should be sought.

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Further information from: John Sumner, secretary to the Dairy Science Forum.
Tel: 01694 724678. Email:  sumner_john1@sky.com
Issued by Rachel Queenborough, RQB Ltd. Tel: 01952 881111. Email: rachel@rqb.ltd.uk  

 

20 December 2010

Dairy sector’s R&D and KT up for review – Dairy Science Forum
 

Dairy scientists are to review future R&D and knowledge transfer requirements within the sector to meet with industry demand as well as growing interest in environment, consumer and animal welfare issues associated with dairy farming.

The strategic review was agreed by the Dairy Science Forum after meeting with representatives from Government and across the UK dairy chain supported by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers, DairyCo, the National Farmers Union and The Farmers Club.

“I believe that it is essential to draw both Government and industry’s attention to the current gaps in the UK’s dairy research and scientific knowledge transfer bases and subsequently highlight areas requiring action if we are to improve sustainability of the UK dairy farming industry,” said Dairy Science Forum chairman, Professor Wynne Jones. “This review is designed to do just that.”

Dr Sinclair Mayne, from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland argued: “For UK dairy farming to be competitive, then we need to achieve a better balance of basic and applied research, with more emphasis on applied research. We need more effective coordination of UK and EU funded dairy research, with greater emphasis on knowledge transfer of research results to dairy farmers. As for the funding, I believe that both retailers and milk processors should make a much greater contribution towards dairy related R&D than at present.”

David Garwes, former head of Defra’s livestock science unit described how the dairy farming sector’s R&D objectives had changed over the years from maximising efficient production, to increasing sustainability and more recently reducing environmental impact carbon footprints whilst maintaining food security. “We have seen a huge shift in emphasis however to increasing food production using less inputs with low emissions,” he said. “Furthermore, as the world population grows in both number and affluence, global demand for animal protein is rising faster than any other food category,” added the Technology Strategy Board’s David Alvis.

DairyCo’s Dr Duncan Pullar highlighted the benefit in knowledge transfer achieved from linking farming, veterinary and support sectors. “All stakeholders have an important part to play, however there is a need to sort out their roles and responsibilities.”

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Further information from the Dairy Science Forum’s John Sumner on 01694 724678 sumner_john1@sky.com
Issued by Liz Snaith Consultants on 01743 344986 / 07974 678833

Editor’s note: The Dairy Science Forum is a long-established, ad hoc group of individuals, each well recognised and specialised in a particular segment of the industry. Membership is limited and by invitation to ensure representation at an appropriate level across the breadth of the industry. Further information on the Forum and its members can be found at www.dairyscienceforum.org

 

 

 
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Further information from the Dairy Science Forum’s John Sumner on 01694 724678   sumner_john1@sky.com
Issued by Liz Snaith Consultants on 01743 344986 / 07974 678833
 
 
Editor’s note: The Dairy Science Forum is a long-established, ad hoc group of individuals, each well recognised and specialised in a particular segment of the industry. Membership is limited and by invitation to ensure representation at an appropriate level across the breadth of the industry. Further information on the Forum and its members can be found at www.dairyscienceforum.org