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ambitious and diligent want to know they will be supported in their chosen career.


It benefits the farmer owner or manager too. In the 2002 MORI report ‘A Nation Ready to Learn,’ one third of workers said they could do their job better if they had more training. Furthermore, a farm business that can prove it invests in itself and its people is more attractive to customers who need to justify their decisions further down the chain. Proving investment in skills to support welfare and food safety is exactly why


CASE STUDY


rian Dalby, his wife Sheila and son John farm the 218 ha (545 acre) mixed Cestersover Farm at Pailton, Rugby, Warwickshire. Selling to Arla as a co-op member, they milk 90 pedigree Friesians and rear their own replacements, selling up to 50 surplus heifers each year. They also take all bull calves through to finishing on a barley beef system and grow a little more than 100 ha of wheat, barley and oilseed rape. Brian signed up their herdsman Darren Ellis to Dairy Pro last year so they could keep a better track of training and development and Darren could have a record of his skills for the future.


B


Brian adds, “We operate a relatively simple system. Yields are at about 7100 litres a cow at 4% fat and 3.5% protein, with cows being fed on 1.5 tonnes of oats and blend a year, as well as grass in the summer and high dry matter tower silage in the winter. Even though we have no plans to make the system any more complicated, we know we need to keep expanding our knowledge base in line with new trends.” With Brian feeling the industry


has changed a lot during the past 10 years, he believes dairy farmers are becoming far more accountable. “Customers will increasingly expect farmer suppliers to represent them in a good light, so we need to do our bit to deliver that. Arla is an example of this as they want us to maintain our skill set and some of Darren’s training will come through Arla’s own courses that are registered on Dairy Pro,” he adds. Darren has been with the business for two years now, having come from Derbyshire and a lifetime working with cows. His aim is to maintain the exceptionally low replacement rate of 11% through having a problem-free herd with high health and welfare. “You


constantly need to learn new things as the industry changes; what’s


happening, when it’s happening and how


to deal with it,” says Darren. “Breeding well balanced cows that are healthy and convert grass well is important, but you can never know too much about feeding or foot trimming either. There are also new diseases we need to manage every year and technology is always moving fast.”


He says Dairy Pro helps him keep track of what he does to increase his knowledge. “This includes the Arla courses, going to the Livestock Event, even reading the weekly farming papers. There are plenty of opportunities and the print out summarises it all for you at the end of the year,” he explains.


Red Tractor Dairy introduced the new recommendation last October that at least one member of a farming business should be enrolled on a professional development register


Learning to analyse nutrients in slurry correctly is another training course pointed by Dairy Pro.


Dairy Pro points are gained from attending a XLVet foot trimming course.


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