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Heifer rearing is well known to be an important part of any dairy enterprise as heifers are the future of the dairy herd.
Research at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) supports the view that high hydrostatic pressure can be a very successful “cold pasteurisation” treatment for a wide range of foods.
Published: 22 Jul 2015
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), Greenmount Campus, have issued the first potato blight warning for 2015. Full Infection Periods were recorded between 8th and 14th July at sites across Northern Ireland. The first field outbreak of blight in Northern Ireland this year was confirmed in a crop of King Edward near Coleraine on 15th July. Growers are advised to protect all crops with approved fungicides.
Background
Until relatively recently, genetic selection programmes within the Holstein breed focused mainly on milk production, with less emphasis on functional traits. The subsequent decline in these functional traits within the Holstein breed, especially fertility and health, has now been well documented.  Crossbreeding has been suggested as one option to overcome some of these problems. Potential benefits of crossbreeding include the introduction of desirable traits from another breed, the positive effects of hybrid vigour, and a reduction in the negative effects of inbreeding.
Published: 20 Jul 2015
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), Greenmount Campus, have issued the first potato blight warning for 2015.
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) have recently announced plans to host a major Dairy Open Day later this year under the theme 'Surviving Today - Planning for Tomorrow'.
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) recently hosted a visit from the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative Society (LNFCS) to discuss the current DCAL funded research programme on Lough Neagh eels
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Teagasc researchers met in Teagasc Athenry, Co Galway recently to discuss initial results of an  ongoing collaborative research project entitled ‘RamLamb’. “RamLamb” is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) in ROI and undertaken by AFBI, Teagasc and University College Dublin (UCD).
Ash dieback was first diagnosed in Northern Ireland in November 2012 in a small number of infected ash trees at a recently planted site. All of the ash trees in the batch were removed and destroyed. Following this positive finding, throughout 2013 and 2014 the Plant Health Inspectorate of DARD carried out an intensive survey of recently planted ash trees across Northern Ireland. This included tracing the sources of the infected trees and then identifying where trees from the same source had been planted.  By mid June 2015 ash dieback has been found on almost 100 sites, almost exclusively on young recently planted (< 5 years) trees and as a result close to 100,000 young ash trees have been removed and destroyed in order to contain the spread of the fungus.  Intensive surveys of the hedgerows, ash trees and other sites close by have been closely examined for any evidence of spread to ash in the wider environment. But what are the risks?
Scientists at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Hillsborough recently organised a highly successful scoping workshop in the area of ‘Precision Technology’.
In Northern Ireland, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) have set a number of important renewable energy targets, including 10% heat from renewable sources by 2020. As a driver, The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) provides payments to help with the economics of domestic and non-domestic installations of biomass boilers.  Energy from woody biomass is ideal for heat production with Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) willow being the main renewable energy biomass crop grown in N.Ireland. The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) has been involved in the growing and utilisation of energy crops including SRC willow for many years. Recent research into the use of paper-based laminate covers to protect stacked harvested willow stems has demonstrated how this simple and convenient method can maximise the amount of energy obtained by reducing moisture content (MC) and conversely increasing the calorific and financial value of the biomass crop.
The Assembly Committee for Agricultural and Rural Development (ARD) recently visited the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Loughgall for an update on the research and development work being undertaken in support of the local agri-food sector. Members attending included Committee Chairperson Mr. William Irwin MLA, Mr. Sydney Anderson MLA, Mr. Thomas Buchanan MLA and Mrs Jo-Anne Dobson MLA.
Professor John Davis of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) was recently invited by the European Commission to participate in a recent conference in Milan to initiate the scientific programme of the Milan Expo.
The need for a renewed focus on maximising milk from quality forages was the overriding message at the recent Dairy Research seminar at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) at Hillsborough. Over 100 representatives from the local dairy sector attended the event, organised by AFBI Hillsborough, in partnership with AgriSearch.
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) recently played host to a large group of students and staff from the Gurteen Agricultural College in Co Tipperary at its Hillsborough site during a two day trip to Northern Ireland.
Bacteriologist, Dr Adrian Allen from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), has received a Northern Ireland Public Sector Fulbright Award to enable him to research at the University of New Hampshire on one of the most prestigious and selective scholarship programmes operating world-wide.
A group of approximately 40 students from Kildalton Agricultural College, Co Kilkenny, visited Hillsborough as part of the annual exchange with students from CAFRE Greenmount.
 
The annual Agri-Food and Bioscience Institute (AFBI) post-graduate symposium was held recently at AFBI Hillsborough, with over 70 participants, including full and part-time students and their supervisors.
 
Dr Tianhai Yan of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Hillsborough was invited to attend an expert group meeting held in Catania, Italy with scientists from across Europe (UK, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Italy and Finland).
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) recently hosted the Executive Committee of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Bioenergy at AFBI Hillsborough.
Dr John Bailey, one of AFBI’s experts in farm nutrient management and the associated environmental issues, has alerted industry stakeholders of an impending threat to the dairy industry in Northern Ireland. Speaking at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute’s (AFBI) Dairy Technical Seminar at Hillsborough on Thursday, Dr Bailey explained that the increased usage of concentrates for milk production has in the past 3 years, reversed the decline in total phosphorus inputs to agriculture and once more raised the national P surplus appreciably above 10 kg P/ha/yr. More worryingly, the beneficial reductions in P concentrations in water-bodies achieved over the past 20 years now appear to be halting and possibly even reversing.
A research consortium including the University of Alberta, Canada, the University of Liege, Belgium and the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Northern Ireland has been successful in securing funding for a research project to investigate feed efficiency in dairy cattle. The project is funded by Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency Ltd for a 3-year period and will be coordinated by Professor Graham Plastow’s team at the University of Alberta. AgriSearch, through the milk producers’ levy are also providing funding for part of the project work to be undertaken in Northern Ireland.
Published: 12 Jun 2015
Representatives from the British Association of Seed Producers recently visited the Agri-Food and Biosciences Insitute (AFBI) Forage Grass Breeding Programme at Loughgall to examine the novel techniques AFBI scientists are utilizing to produce varieties with high seed yield.