Last Thursday we hosted the inaugural Livestock in Low Input Systems (LILS) conference at Howside Organic Farm in Cumbria, and we’re pleased to say it was a huge success!
We had over 30 delegates attending the day, which involved a series of talks and discussions, followed by a delicious, locally produced organic lunch, and then a farm tour during the afternoon, where farmer Richard Maxwell shows us around his flocks of organic Herdwick sheep and continental cattle.
Kicking off the talks was ruminant forage specialist and President-Elect of the British Grassland Society Dr Johnny Bax, who discussed the effect of bugs and bacteria in growing grass, making forage, and the digestion of forage by livestock.
Following him was Russ Carrington of the Pasture Fed Livestock Association (PFLA), who discussed the current market for grass-fed meats, why it’s appealing to consumers, and how PFLA is continuing to grow throughout the UK.
Russ was then joined by Nick Cole from Meadow Quality and David Marshall of Farm Stock (Scotland) Ltd. for a question and answer panel session, which focused on the issues faced by farmers who live in areas where they don’t have easy, direct access to the market, and how farmers working together can reap benefits for each individual.
During the farm tour, the attendees were also able to take part in soil analysis and discussion surrounding soil pH and the best way to make the most of their forage.
The takeaway message of the day was about farmers taking back control of their businesses; how they can harness the land to the best of its ability for the benefit of their livestock, and make the most of the land and livestock opportunities presented to them.
The discussions ended on how farmers can add value to their product and tell their message to the consumer, taking back control of their product and being able to market themselves more successfully and effectively than the large companies.
An excellent day out was had by all, and the beautiful surroundings of Ennerdale Water really were the icing on the cake.
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