‘Positive mood’ as Telford dairy event draws thousands - with pictures
A cautiously optimistic dairy industry gathered in Telford for one of the most important events in the sector's calendar.
Farm gate prices for dairy farmers have rebounded in recent months after a lengthy slump which exhausted many to the point of leaving the industry.
With many dairies returning 30p per litre to farmers for their cows' milk, thousands of producers and associated businesses came together at Telford's International Centre for UK Dairy Day 2017.
While final figures were still being tallied it was thought to have beaten last year's record attendance figure of 8,000, and saw farmers in more relaxed mood than at the height of the price-crash last year.
Rebecca Barningham, part of the event's organising committee, said: "The feeling at the moment is very positive among the visitors, which I think reflects the dairy industry.
"It's more positive than it has been for a number of months. We have drawn visitors from across the Midlands, Wales, the South West and the North East which is fantastic for Telford.
"We haven't got visitor numbers at the moment but we feel the numbers are up. We don't ever expect to grow massively as the industry is tight, but the event has a broad appeal."
Among the visitors was NFU president Meurig Raymond, who said: "There's an excellent show here and speaking to dairy farmers there is an air of confidence that was not here last year.
"The dairy industry has been in two or three years of financial difficulty – prices are now back at a level where most farmers are making a profit."
The event is now in its fourth year having launched in 2014, and as well as thousands of farmers there were 171 cattle on-site and more than 300 dairy business exhibiting in 2016.
The event is organised by Holstein UK, and now includes the National Holstein Show and the National Ayrshire Show.
"This brings the dairy industry from the country to the town," Ms Barningham added.
"It's very positive and there are some amazing cows going through the ring and being shown.
"We also have viewers from across the world watching on the live stream."
The event included a number of new sections, including the Making More From Milk Zone, which allowed farmers to discuss the key issue of farm diversification, and the Calf Rearing Zone which provided tips on birthing, growth, health, hygiene, feeding and husbandry.