30th July, High Peak Organic Dairying Conference
We were privileged in hosting Hi Peak Organic Dairy conference 2013 at Yeo Valley headquarters on Tuesday .We welcomed a number of industry experts from all areas of the organic dairy supply chain. This aimed to give a well-rounded, very real view of the current and potential future position of the industry at all levels. The day consisted of valuable knowledge sharing and gave a great platform for discussion of relevant and evolving issues in the Organic sector.
Morning Speakers included:
- Peter Melchett (Soil Association).
Concluded nutritional benefits of organic milk are becoming more supported and along with climate change will be drivers for organic food demand over the next 5 – 10 years. The Horse meat scandal was mentioned and how that had caused sustained growth in organic sales. Surveys presented showed around 61% of UK farmers would grow a GM crop but only 15% would eat a GM produced product. Organic food will increasingly be part of school and hospital meals.
- Edward Garner (Director, KANTAR: Food Retail Expert)
The UK are the biggest seller of own branded products in Europe. At Waitrose and Sainsbury’s more customers are prepared to pay more for organic food and care more about local, environmentally friendly and fair trade products. New campaigns to support British food, helped by horse meat scandal, have boosted organic sales. Aldi and Lidl Market shares are growing. Tesco have devalued food market through price match marketing campaigns. Most organic food is bought through repeated purchase. High amount of organic buyers buy online and milk being bought online is increasing.
- Richard Hampton (OMSCO).
Over the past few months the growth in organic milk volume has been greater than conventional milk. An increase in the premium price of organic dairy products is needed to sustain the development in the sector and the increase in sales seen over the past few months. The premium needs to move from the current 6-8 ppl to 8-10 ppl .In the past marketing campaigns have had a positive impact on organic sales. Mr Hampton was confident about the growth prospects for the organic dairy industry.
In addition to this Duncan Sinclair (Agricultural Manager at Waitrose) gave a valuable impromptu speech on their role within the organic supply chain and view on their Organic products.
This was followed by a Question and answer session with all speakers on the Panel along with Ian Proctor (Managing Director at Hi Peak) and Paddy McLaughlin (CE Devenish Nutrition). The discussion was chaired by Peter Melchett.
The afternoon session was meant to complement the morning session and gave a practical and logistical view of day to day on an organic dairy farm. Speakers included:
- Mary Mead (Co-founder Yeo Valley)
A Presentation allowing us behind the scenes of the UK’s best known organic Dairy herd.
- Mike Sainsbury (Organic Dairy Farmer): Lyegrove farm
Overview of his organic dairy and arable farm in the Cotswolds with his view on the challenges and lessons he has learnt since becoming organic in 2006.
- Peter Griffin (Nutritionist at Hi Peak) & Morgan Sheehy (Ruminant Director at Devenish Nutrition)
Firstly Peter outlined current issues surrounding raw materials and discussed the need to improve efficiency and development from other sources. He also discussed common mistakes organic farmers make and then gave solutions on how to utilise forage quality and protein, advising the need to try and spread protein and energy supplies. This was followed by Morgan Sheehy who stressed the importance of appropriate nutrition in the 3 week transition period and the role of accurate body condition scoring (BCS) and energy balance. Morgan outlined Devenish’s recent research into this which concluded cows that maintained BCS 15 days prior to calving had improved lactation curve characteristics compared to cows that did not maintain that BSC.
Again an informative question and answer session followed with honest words from both panellists and producers. This discussion was of particular importance to us and our new partners Devenish Nutrition in order for us to lead the way in organic feed nutrition research and technology moving forward.
We hope everyone enjoyed the day and that delegates left feeling their questions had been answered with a feeling of support and unity from the Organic industry going forward. As a team we would like to thank everyone who came along and made the day a success! All the presentations are now available on our website and we welcome all feedback and questions. Finally we would like to thank Yeo Valley in providing an exceptional venue and very tasty organic lunch for all who attended.