ONE of the major strengths of the UK agricultural industry was having the best farmers in the world, Jon Duffy, of Frontier Agriculture, told delegates at the Malvern Farming Conference at the Three Counties Showground.

The conference, organised by the TCAS, was based on the Oxford Farming Report, Power in Agriculture, and themed A Local Take on Global Challenge.

Mr Duffy said Government had recognised agriculture had to invest in order to produce more to help feed an increasing population. “We are in the second agricultural revolution. We have to collaborate in the supply chain. It can only work if it comes right back to the grower recognising added value.

“We need to reinvest, employ the best people, recognise cooperative advantages and embrace technology.”

John Berry, of Haygrove Polytunnels, said agriculture was the most interesting industry to be involved in and he described how his company had revolutionised soft fruit growing by embracing modern technology.

The UK beef industry was only a small player on the world market and Simon Fryar, of Meadow Quality Livestock, said as farmers looked to produce more beef from grass he could see more returning to native breeds.

Patrick Gethin Lewis, of Gamber Growers, said the challenges of the weather meant there had been a 25 per cent reduction in the yield of potatoes this year, 25 per cent of the crop was still in the ground and growers were unable to make plans for next year.

The main speaker was Dr Alan Renwick, of Scottish Agricultural College, who said there was a shift in agricultural power towards China and Brazil with an opening up of markets leading to major changes in trade.

Globally there would be increased competition for resources such as water, fertilisers and energy and as they became more scarce, alternative methods of production would need to be developed and adopted throughout the world.