CAFRE, AFBI, AgriSearch and DAERA are joining forces to hold a webinar on Monday 8th March at 7.30pm which will discuss the growing of protein crops in Northern Ireland and the potential for their use in dairy cow diets.
Dr Rosemary Agnew will initially overview the new DAERA pilot support scheme for protein crops which has just been announced by DAERA.
Leigh McClean from the CAFRE Crops Advisory Team will then discuss crop husbandry and agronomy of protein crops and Simon Best, an arable farmer from Scarva, will outline his experience of growing field beans.
Finally, Dr Conrad Ferris of AFBI will highlight the results of recent research at AFBI Hillsborough which has demonstrated the potential of field beans to partially replace imported protein sources such as soya bean and rapeseed meal with no significant impacts on cow performance.
The presentations will be followed by a question and answer / discussion session chaired by AgriSearch Chairman Seamus McCaffrey.
AgriSearch Chairman Seamus McCaffrey said, “The importance of food security and shorter food supply chains has been highlighted by the current Covid-19 pandemic. Imported protein supplements are expensive and subject to price volatility. In addition, the long-term supply of non-genetically modified protein into Europe cannot be guaranteed. Reducing imports would both increase resilience in the sector and improve the carbon footprint and environmental sustainability of local dairy systems.”
Dr Elizabeth Magowan, Director of Sustainable Agri-Food Sciences Division in AFBI commented “It is really important that farmers and industry are provided with knowledge and advice, from recent experiences and research, on how to harness the benefits of this important DAERA scheme. I am delighted that AFBI, CAFRE and AgriSearch have joined forces to bring forward this important webinar to ensure their collective intelligence on the growing and feeding of home grown proteins is available for farmers and the wider industry.”
Dr Eric Long, Head of Knowledge Advisory Service at CAFRE said DAERA’s pilot Protein Crops Scheme will provide local arable farmers with additional break crop options and the opportunity for NI’s agri-food industry to reduce dependence on imported protein supplements for livestock rations and thereby improve productivity, sustainability and resilience. Knowledge of protein crop production and utilisation is key to realising this potential. CAFRE welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with Agrisearch and AFBI to deliver this webinar.”
The webinar will be hosted on the CAFRE WebEx portal. For further information visit: Growing home-grown proteins and their use in dairy cow diets | CAFRE