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Telford dairy event attracts thousands

By Shropshire Star, 13 September 2018, 17:27PM

It is one of the biggest events in the farming calendar and yet again it attracted thousands of people to Shropshire.

Brexit, TB and winter feeding were among the topics which featured at UK Dairy Day as it returned to Telford International Centre yesterday.

It has been a challenging time for dairy farmers who have been working hard to feed animals following this summer's heatwave. Many have also seen milk yields drop by 20 per cent.

A shortage of forage for dairy farmers this summer has also forced farmers to break into winter fodder supplies.

Despite overwhelmingly being in support of leaving the EU, many farmers are concerned with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

UK Dairy Day is is now in its fifth year having launched in 2014 and it is organised by Holstein UK.

Yesterday's event brought together all facets of the dairy industry; farmers, students, breeders, geneticists, vets, feed merchants, dairy equipment suppliers and milk buyers – plus professional service providers, charities, and colleges.

Rebecca Barningham, one of the organisers, said: "The feedback from dairy farmers was that there needed to be an event. They said there was a gap in the autumn which needed filling.

"We looked at various locations and thought Shropshire was ideal as it is a very strong county for producing milk. Once we found this venue we haven't looked back since and there are no plans to move the event.

"It is a tough industry so that is why we wanted to make it free to attend and we have got some fantastic sponsors which enables us to do that.

"The event had just grown and grown. We were expecting 8,000 people here today but we think we will be up on that."

The event featured more than 300 trade stands across internal and external exhibition areas.

There was also the chance for farmers to learn about new products, services and technologies on the market to enhance their dairy business performance and efficiency.

An array of practical demonstrations took place throughout the day in the external area. The breed village featured type classification and linear scoring demonstrations and in the external trade stand area there was foot trimming, blocking and knife sharpening demonstrations.

The calf rearing zone, covered with a polytunnel, saw suppliers and experts offer advice throughout the day on calving, rearing, health, hygiene, feeding and housing.

Organisers also welcomed the National Brown Swiss Show, which, for the first time, hosted its national show at the event.

The National Brown Swiss Show joined The Holstein Show and The Ayrshire Show, both of which host their celebrated national events at UK Dairy Day.

All three national shows formed part of the Cattle Show, which took centre stage in the main ring throughout the day.

Farmers came from as far as Scotland, Cornwall, Wales and Ireland for the Cattle Show.