Farmers learn from the experts on Eblex study tours

English farmers were given the opportunity to visit Scotland and Northern Ireland as part of Eblex study tours last month aimed at providing lessons for beef and sheep farmers.

The tour saw English farmers gaining knowledge from beef and sheep farmers in other parts of the UK, as part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Skills and Knowledge Transfer Framework, funded by Defra and the European Union.

Beef and sheep producer Mark Jelley, who went on the tour, said: “The tour was excellent – it offered so much more information than a farm day could, with access to some of the leading experts in this area and their facilities.

“I understand the subject far more clearly now and will be able to disseminate my findings through online farmer forums as well as using my expanded knowledge for my post-graduate work.”

The first of two tours went to Northern Ireland, where the English farmers visited a meat processing plant to learn about video imaging analysis and to the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute. The attendees also visited farms including farms run by the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise.

The second tour took place in both Scotland and Northern Ireland with a focus on health and welfare.

Producers were given the opportunity to engage with world experts and were taught how to identify parasite eggs under the microscope, among other valuable lessons.

Eblex regional manager Steve Dunkley said: “The study tours provided those who took part with the opportunity to learn from experts in their area as well as seeing first-hand examples of ‘best practice’ in livestock production.

“It also gave them the chance to spend time with like-minded people and discuss any challenges they might be having on their own farm. The next step will be to communicate their learnings to a broader farming audience, whether through formal events organised by Eblex or through those who took part communicating directly with their peers.”