USSEC organized a team travel training program for a group of Polish specialists representing key dairy and beef producing farms, dairy nutrition advisors, and AminoPlus importers in May. USSEC Technical Director Northeast Europe Jerzy Kosieradzki, and USSEC Dairy & Aquaculture Nutrition Consultant - Europe Jan van Eys organized this activity in Bretagne, France.
Some of the visits were organized through BCEL Group - Quest (Bretagne Conseil Elevage), a local company that coordinates milk recording and pedigree books in Bretagne as well as providing farmers with a range of valuable services. Additional farm and feedlot visits were organized directly or through contacts in the local industry.
The Polish group traveled for a full week visiting dairy and beef farms, a feed manufacturing company, a feed additive company, a milk testing laboratory and a technical agricultural/livestock production school with an experimental farm. At each visit a detailed document in Polish was provided to the Polish visitors, and at each visit, a point was made on the importance, role and inclusion rates of soybean meal in compound feed and the associated performance levels.
The selected farms covered much of the entire range of dairy production methods and systems in the visited region of France – largely pasture-based systems. The feed plant, the laboratory and DHI-type organization (BCEL) work in close contact with these farms and have a major influence on their feeding systems. Soybean meal is critical to all these farms, either as a component of the compound feed or as a raw material included in the total mixed ration. Currently, like most of the dairy production in Europe and the Americas, payment arrangements are such that revenue per liter of milk remains below the cost price. This leads to an overall difficult situation in the dairy sector and a reduction in investments, including concentrate feeding.
At the end of the dairy industry tour, a summary discussion was organized to review the findings and opinions of the Polish participants. Some problems observed by the Poles were thoroughly explained and corrective measures presented to the trainees. The ongoing milk price crisis resulted in the French farmers feeding fewer concentrates and soy products, which are greatly recognized for their quality. Once profitability improves, sales of those should increase as well.
Leaving France in Rennes, the Polish customers expressed their appreciation to the U.S. soybean farmers for providing them with such a great learning opportunity and a professional knowledge exchange among the participants.
- Animal Utilization