Britain's dairy industry is suffering because research scientists and producers are failing to communicate according to a top dairy researcher.

In a lecture to the Royal Agricultural Society of England at the Royal Society of Arts in London, Dr Bridget Drew, Director of Dairy and Food Research at ADAS Bridgets, points out how other countries seize on the research our industry has failed to develop and exploit. She says: "The message is loud and clear. If we do not take advantage of these new opportunities there are others who will." The classic example of this according to Dr Drew is spreadable butter.

At the lecture Dr Drew is being presented with the RASE's National Agricultural Award in recognition of her services to the dairy industry, by Junior Agriculture Minister, Joyce Quin.

Dr Drew calls for better co-ordination between farmers and scientists at the basic end of research and those applying the research like scientists at ADAS Bridgets. Her aim is to undertake work which can be taken home and put straight into practice by farmers. But farmers also need to be able to influence what sort of basic research is carried out - the circle needs to be complete.

In the lecture attended by key industry figures, Dr Drew also highlights the double standards faced by conventional milk producers. She says: " I believe the hygienic quality of British milk is second to none. It is an unjust and potentially dangerous system that penalises a conventional producer with a heavy financial penalty for producing milk with a cell count above 150,000, while at the same time allowing his neighbour to produce organic milk with more than double that cell count and still sell it at a premium."

Notes for editors:
  1. The National Agricultural Award was formerly known as the Massey Ferguson Award until 1998 and recognises outstanding contributions to the advancement of agriculture in the United Kingdom. The Award was established in 1964 and its administration was assumed by the RASE in 1999. Last year's winner (also from Hampshire) was Malcolm Isaac, the pioneer in watercress and baby-leaf salad production in the UK.

  2. Dr Drew is the first woman to win this Award.