The high cost of feed remains the biggest problem facing organic and free range poultry producers. Organic Centre Wales is organising an open day on Friday 29 July, as part of the Farming Connect Organic Development Programme, to help producers grow more of the ration on the farm. The event brings together producers, researchers from IBERS and a poultry nutritionist to look at some of the latest developments in this area.
The programme will consider varieties of oats and other cereals that are particularly suitable for poultry feed; examine the potential of various protein crops including peas, beans, lupins and lucerne; and look at more novel approaches to the issue including enhancing the range with cover crops to supplement the birds' diet. Speakers will include the nutritionist Cliff Nixey, and Michael Lee and Sandy Cowan from IBERS.
The afternoon session will include a visit to Nantclyd Organics near Llanilar, where Liz Findlay grows oats and peas for her laying flock and sources the remainder of her cereal requirements from Welsh organic arable producers. She has also grown cover crops on the range for the first time this year.
Tony Little, the event organizer at Organic Centre Wales, said: “This is a very timely event. Organic poultry feed will get more expensive as the derogation to use up to 5% of non-organic ingredients is removed at the end of this year, and organic soya is getting harder and harder to source. We need to move towards a more resilient and more sustainable way of producing poultry meat and eggs, and growing your own feed - or at least sourcing it more locally – has a major role to play.”
The event runs from 10 till 4 on Friday 29 July at IBERS Plas Gogerddan, Penrhyncoch, Aberystwyth SY23 3EB, with a farm walk at Nantclyd Organics, Llanilar. It is free and includes lunch, but please book your place with Tony Little at OCW.
1. Tony Little OCW, firstname.lastname@example.org 01970 622248
1. Organic Centre Wales is funded by the Welsh Government until September 2011 to provide information on organic food and farming to producers, food businesses, consumers and others. It is based at Aberystwyth University and run by a partnership consisting of the ADAS, the Organic Research Centre Elm Farm, and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University. See www.organiccentrewales.org.uk.
2. Farming Connect is an integrated, Wales-wide scheme for farm and forestry businesses in Wales. First set up in 2001, a new range of services will be launched by the Welsh Government in September 2011. It is funded through the Rural Development Plan 2007-2013 which is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Assembly Government. Working closely with its partner organisations, the scheme provides an accessible and flexible range of services including one-to-one support, knowledge, expertise, training and advisory services tailored to individual need. Many services are fully funded, and others are subsidised by 80% for all eligible farmers. All of them help farmers to run their businesses more efficiently. For further information call the Farming Connect Service Centre on 08456 000 813
3. The Organic Conversion Information Service (01970 622100) is funded by the Welsh Government and run by OCW to provide information to producers considering conversion – an information pack and up to three free on-farm visits are available.