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A new study has been initiated at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) to develop a more accurate means of predicting the nutritive value of wheat for broilers.  Wheat is the major component of broiler diets but there is considerable variability in its nutritive value across different batches. This variability results in major differences in bird performance and is a significant cost to the broiler industry.
Staff at the Veterinary Sciences Division (VSD) of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), using a forecasting system based on climate data, have predicted that the overall risk of liver fluke infection during this autumn and winter in Northern Ireland will be lower than in recent years.  A lower risk is predicted because of the relatively low rainfall during June and July.
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) are jointly hosting a major Conference for the Northern Ireland beef industry on Thursday 13th November 2014 at the King’s Hall Conference Centre, Belfast from 10am to 4pm.  
The recent spell of warm, dry weather has resulted in an increased occurrence of crown rust on perennial ryegrass swards, especially on those retained for a late silage cut.  Crown rust (Puccinia coronata) is characterised by small orange powdery pustules on the leaf surface and is most apparent from late summer to autumn. For many years this disease has been quite widespread in southern parts of the United Kingdom, but it is now more apparent in other areas and has also been seen on swards on the western side of Ireland, from Co Cork in the south as far north as east Co Down.   A distinct feature of this disease is that the orange rust spores readily become attached to clothing, boots and machines which come into contact with it.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) recently hosted two important EU meetings in Northern Ireland on agriculture and water quality in Europe.
Wood fuel is generally viewed as a renewable and sustainable biomass energy source that can be used to reduce the burning of fossil fuels and the associated greenhouse gas emissions. However, there are often arguments and contradictions about the environmental and cost benefits of wood biomass, with opinions often based on anecdotal reports or information that may be less than impartial.
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Researchers representing five of fifteen key European partner institutes involved in the 5-year EU-funded research project entitled GPlusE (Genotype and Environment) visited AFBI sites at Hillsborough and Newforge recently.
Dow Agri-Sciences European Division staff recently held a meeting in Ireland and included a visit to the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute’s (AFBI) grass breeding programme at Loughgall as part of their schedule. This visit was arranged in conjunction with international seed specialist Barenbrug, who has been the commercial partner on the AFBI grass breeding programme since 1991.
Two post graduate students at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Vincent Griffith (left) and Daniel Enriquez Hidalgo (right recently graduated as Doctors of Philosophy (PhD) from the School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast.  Both students were supervised by Trevor Gilliland (centre) and funded by Teagasc Walsh Fellowships. The studies were conducted mostly at Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, under the co-supervision of Michael O’Donovan.
Published: 06 Oct 2014
A farmers’ group from England, hosted by Dairy Co, recently visited the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Hillsborough and were presented with information on a number of completed and ongoing Hillsborough research projects.
Findings from the DOLMANT project provide new insights on the complexity of our lakes
A new understanding of Ireland’s lake ecosystems was presented last week when the findings of the DOLMANT (Development of targeted ecological modelling tools for lake management) project were the focus of attention at the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre. The research team involved in this three year project included staff from the project lead, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, University of Ulster and Trinity College Dublin.  The project was also supported by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Environmental Protection Agency and Inland Fisheries Ireland and was part funded through the EU’s INTERREG IVA Cross-border Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.
Results of the latest winter barley variety trials at the Agri Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), funded by DARD and the HGCA, have just been released.  The average treated yield of all varieties across all three sites (Limavady, Hillsborough and Downpatrick) in 2014 was 9.3 t per ha, 0.5 t per ha higher than 2013, with the untreated yields averaging 7.0 t per ha, 0.7 t per ha higher than in 2013.  Limavady was the highest yielding site with an average treated yield of 10.7 t per ha compared to 9.0 and 8.5 t per ha for Hillsborough and Downpatrick, respectively.  Disease levels in the untreated trials were variable - the highest were recorded at Downpatrick where Rhynchosporium, Ramularia and mildew reached significant levels of infection in susceptible varieties.  At Limavady levels of disease were relatively low with moderate levels at Hillsborough.