GRASSCHECK BACK FOR 2019
The first GrassCheck bulletin of 2019 is being published this week. Grass growth and quality data along with meteorological data from dairy, beef and sheep farms spread right across Northern Ireland will feed into the AgriSearch and AFBI led GrassCheck initiative. The programme, which aims to provide livestock farmers with the latest grass growth and quality information to assist in managing grass throughout the season, has shown the real potential of grassland in N.I. Throughout 2018, dairy, beef and sheep farms achieved an average grass yield of 11.7, 10.4 and 9.4t DM/ha respectively,...

AGRISEARCH REPORTS ON VALUE OF FARMER-FUNDED RESEARCH
The 2018 annual report for the farmer-funded research and innovation body, AgriSearch has just been published. Outgoing Chairman, Michael Bell, outlines the value of research projects secured through the ability to leverage collaborative working, in the report he said, “AgriSearch continues to develop strongly on behalf of levy payers. I have had the privilege of leading the board of Trustees for two years and I believe we have delivered a huge value. The evidence for this is that in the past year £708k of levies donated have generated some £18.2M of project work. That’s a return of...

Plan to vaccinate cattle against lungworm six weeks before turnout
Vaccination can help create herd immunity to lungworm, but the oral treatment has to be given twice, four weeks apart, with the latter dose given two weeks before turnout. This means farmers need to buy their vaccine now. “The vaccine creates short-term immunity until longer-lasting cover can develop naturally by the cattle picking up lungworm larvae while grazing,” explains Catherine McCarthy, who has recently completed a PhD on the epidemiology of lungworm at the University of Liverpool. “First season grazing calves, cattle not previously vaccinated, bought-in cattle with unknown...

Pedigree ram nominations open for fifth year of RamCompare
  The search is on for the country’s best rams as pedigree breeders are invited to put forward rams believed to have good lamb growth, carcase weight and conformation. Now in its fifth year, RamCompare uses data from throughout the supply chain to inform genetic evaluations. During the three seasons, more than 6,600 ewes have been mated to over 138 leading rams through artificial insemination (AI) and natural mating. Over 200 rams will have been progeny tested by the end of next summer. Results from the project will enable commercial farmers to select Signet recorded rams that produce...

UPLAND FARMERS WANTED TO PARTICIPATE IN EUROPEAN PROJECT ON PERMANENT GRASSLAND
AgriSearch are looking for upland farmers to volunteer to participate in a European project; SUstainable PERmanent Grassland (SUPER-G). SUPER-G is a Europe-wide research project that aims to co-develop sustainable permanent grassland (PG) systems and policies with farmers, citizens, and policy makers; ensuring business viability, while supporting biodiversity and delivering several other Ecosystem Services.   The recruited farmers must be willing to participate in workshops and surveys throughout the project.  Two of the farmers from the newly established network will be selected to...