Hot topics on the menu at 2018 BETA Feed Conference

Latest feed sector news and developments topped the menu at the 2018 BETA Feed Conference supported by Premier Nutrition, as industry experts took to the podium to give a series of specialist presentations on a diverse range of highly topical subjects.

More than 100 delegates gathered at the St Johns Hotel, Solihull, on 27 June for the British Equestrian Trade Association' eighth conference dedicated to the needs of those working in the feed industry, such as retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and equine nutritionists.

Professor Meriel Moore-Colyer, director of research and knowledge exchange at the Royal Agricultural University, provided a whistle-stop tour of forage, taking in available choices, looking at decisions and making recommendations.

University of Liverpool director of veterinary postgraduate education Professor Catherine McGowan explored changes in our understanding of laminitis in a lengthy and in-depth talk on the different factors involved in the development of this painful condition.

Mars Horsecare director of science Dr Pat Harris, also a member of the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition's equine studies group, looked at the way in which nutrition was associated with recent developments in equine gastric ulcers. Her presentation focused on a study that evaluated the effect of dietary change in combination with omeprazol treatment and the effect on gastric health in maintaining the dietary change post-medical treatment for equine squamous gastric disease.

Ben Mayes, of Mayes & Scrine Equine Veterinary Practice and a former British Equine Veterinary Association president, looked at the relationship between the feed industry and veterinary world in an aptly titled talk, “A Veterinary View”. He emphasised that goodwill was a key ingredient in maintaining good relations and noted that, although feed companies were extremely efficient in working with large yards and professional riders, it was something that vets didn't do enough of and he would like to see them getting more involved in this area.
Political commentator John Arnold provided a topical talk on Brexit, looking at the current political climate and the negotiations and potential for new trade opportunities as we prepare to move away from Europe.
Food Standards Agency feed delivery manager Julie Benson highlighted the organisation's vision to safeguard public and animal health by driving up sustained improvements in business compliance through intelligence-led enforcement. She emphasised the extremely successful relationship the FSA enjoys with the equine feed industry and provided examples of how this has led to the prevention of over-zealous enforcement by Trading Standards.

Risk Evolves managing director Helen Barge looked at ways in which small companies could plan for potential disruption risks to their business operations and supply chains. Putting a continuity plan in place, she stressed, was the key to dealing with problems such as the loss of key members of staff and cybercrime.

“We are extremely pleased with how well the conference went and the feedback we have received from delegates has been amazing,” said BETA executive director Claire Williams. “Our panel of feed industry experts certainly hit the mark with our delegates, including many of the country's leading equine feed manufacturers and one of its largest independent retailers. We originally started the conference because it is crucial that members of this rapidly changing sector are kept up to speed with all developments and it has continued to grow year on year, which is fantastic.”