NEWS: NIAB TAG launches technical forage crop service for farmers

4 Sep 2012

Livestock and dairy farmers will have access to locally-relevant forage crop variety and agronomy information with the establishment of a new UK technical crop service.

The NIAB TAG Network, the leading UK arable technical and advisory service, launched its new ‘Forage’ membership package at the Livestock 2012 Event today. The new service will be complemented by the development of NIAB TAG’s first Forage Crop Centre. Based near Dartington in Devon, the Centre provides a focal point for the expansion of the organisation’s research and information services in grass, clover and forage maize.

“Our new ‘Forage’ subscription service will help transfer the benefits of improved grass, clover and forage maize varieties and new developments in forage crop agronomy effectively onto livestock, dairy and mixed farms, by providing succinct guidelines and advice on grass, forage maize and arable crop agronomy management,” says Ben Freer, NIAB TAG’s Head of Technical Services.

Research results and advice will be delivered through various routes including member-only events and field days and the NIAB TAG Network’s interactive website. Members will benefit from a set of new forage specific in-house publications, including pasture management strategies and bulletins on forage maize dry matter development and grass variety heading dates. The subscription package, available at an annual cost of £199, also provides guidelines on combinable crops agronomy, geared specifically to members managing both livestock and arable crops.

“Our investment in the Forage Crop Centre in the south-west shows our continuing commitment to providing a wide range of crop services to farmers across all regions. Our Forage Crops Specialist Dr Gareth Burns will be working with members to develop a new trials programme to understand better the impacts of husbandry on the relative performance of forage crop varieties, helping to fine-tune selection and contributing to increased production and reduced costs,” explains Mr Freer.

The NIAB TAG Network already provides impartial variety and agronomy information, advice and support to over 2,800 UK arable growers, advisors and industry clients; influencing more than 20% of the country’s arable area. Members fund the largest, and longest running, independent variety and agronomy dataset and trials programme in the UK with over 7,500 crop plots.