DAIRY & BEEF PILOT FARMERS WANTED FOR 2017 GRASS PROJECTS
 Applications are now open to become a pilot farmer for two of AgriSearch’s latest projects: GrassCheck 2017 and Beef from Grass.  Working with research partners AFBI, the projects will recruit 12 dairy farms and 18 beef farms from across Northern Ireland to monitor grass growth and quality through the 2017 growing season to better understand grass growing conditions across the region. Both projects are focused on assisting farmers to improve grass management following recent industry data highlighting the economic benefits of improved grass utilisation. Work carried out by AFBI has...

PILOT FARMERS WANTED FOR GRASSCHECK
  In Northern Ireland grazed or ensiled grass is by far the main source of forage, occupying an estimated 93% of the total farmed area.  However, the current performance of managed grasslands remains far below its potential with an estimated 7.5 tonnes of grass dry matter utilised per hectare on dairy farms. This has been echoed by a continuing decline in milk from forage, which has fallen steadily from 3,228 litres/cow/year in 2000 to 1,686 litres/cow/year in 2015 (CAFRE benchmarking, 2016).   GrassCheck is AgriSearch’s longest running programme, although the format has altered over the...

SYNCHRONISATION AND AI THE FOCUS FOR AGRISEARCH SUCKLER FARM WALKS
  A series of two beef farm walks organised jointly by AgriSearch, AFBI and CAFRE, focusing on the role of synchronisation and artificial insemination in the suckler herd will be held on 30th November and 1st December 2016.   Artificial insemination (AI) provides the opportunities to select the best genetics for each individual cow within the herd and enables farmers to breed for specific traits such as calving ease for heifers, maternal characteristics (i.e. milk) for breeding replacements, or terminal characteristics (i.e. growth, carcass).  It is practically impossible to select a stock...

Meet your scientists on the AgriSearch stand at the Winter Fair
  Research scientists tasked with seeking solutions to problems facing dairy farmers will be on the AgriSearch stand during the Royal Ulster Winter Fair on Thurs, 8th December 2016.   These scientists (from both AFBI and Queen’s University) are conducting investigations selected for support by AgriSearch, the Northern Ireland Agricultural Research and Development Council, are keen to discuss practical issues of real concern to milk producers.   Topics to be addressed include calf health, high protein crops and forages, precision grazing technologies and emerging technologies to detect...

PORTAFERRY SUCKLER FARM WALK
  Portaferry farmer Artie Birt is hosting the second of two AgriSearch farm walks this coming week.  On Thursday 1st December, from 11am fellow farmers can view the results of AFBI research supported by AgriSearch.   Artie runs approximately 170 spring block calving cows on 290 acres with all progeny finished.  For the past two years Arti has synchronised all cows and heifers as part of an AFBI study to evaluate low labour synchronisation protocols, relative to traditional synchronisation protocols.  As a result of adopting these new practices Arti only needs two sweeper bulls of the...