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Published: 26 Nov 2015
You are invited to attend a lunchtime seminar on "Cutting P fertiliser inputs - no quick fix to improve water quality" given by Rachel Cassidy, Agri-Environment Branch.
Published: 20 Nov 2015
The past year has been dominated by the development of an AFBI strategy to chart the course of the Institute to a sustainable future over the next five years. The main objective of the strategy is to allow AFBI to achieve its vision of providing world class science to all its government and private sector customers within the constraints of the pressures on public finances.
An interactive afternoon starting with a general introduction to AFBI Veterinary Sciences Division and information on the services provided to veterinary surgeons will take place at AFBI Stormont, 12 Stoney Road, Belfast, BT4 3SD on Wednesday 25th November, 2015 from 2-5pm.
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) wishes to bring to the attention of farmers the need to consider the risk of liver fluke infection in cattle and sheep. Acute fluke has already been diagnosed this year in both the Belfast and Omagh laboratories.
Management and feeding of grass silage to maximise animal performance is particularly important this winter when margins are low.  It is also essential for farmers who have invested heavily into making silage, to know what its true feeding value really is.  Winter diets can then be formulated to maximise silage feeding value, particularly for autumn and winter calving dairy cows were concentrate supplementation adds substantially to production costs.
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) has hosted the 8th meeting of the European Veterinary Surveillance Network (EVSN) in Belfast.  Close to 40 veterinary scientists (pathologists, virologists, epidemiologists etc) involved in animal disease surveillance in Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, England & Wales, Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland were in attendance.
A Danish research group working in association with the Agri Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative (LNFCS) are to use Lough Neagh eels in breeding trials in an attempt to complete the full European eel life cycle in captivity for the first time. The European eel is one of our most enigmatic fish species, with its very existence linked in folklore to our patron Saint, Patrick. Yet, incredibly in the 21st century much of the eel’s life history continues to be shrouded in mystery and its very reproduction and breeding areas still remain the subject of conjecture and theory.  Strangely for a fish so important and widespread in fresh waters from North Africa to Norway, their spawning event has never been directly observed. Even the breeding  site, presumed to be in the Sargasso Sea just North of the Bermuda triangle, is only inferred from the first appearance of larvae in the ocean. From there the larvae migrate across the Atlantic to Europe and enter rivers and lakes in spring as tiny transparent “glass” eels and “elvers”.
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) held a very successful pig conference entitled ‘Research to Drive Sustainable Pig Production’ at their Hillsborough research farm this week. The conference was attended by representatives spanning the UK and Ireland and it highlighted the work that AFBI is currently undertaking to support increased efficiency in the local pig sector. Dr Sinclair Mayne (Division Director) and Dr Elizabeth Magowan (Head of Pig Production Research) at AFBI Hillsborough, welcomed delegates to the event. Papers presented at the conference highlighted recent research in areas as diverse as  sow nutrition to finishing pig management, reflecting the breadth of areas currently in focus at AFBI Hillsborough.
The November AFBI Lunchtime Seminar will be held on Tuesday 17th November 2015 in Room G5, AFBI Headquarters, Newforge Lane, Malone Upper, Belfast, BT9 5PX and will be given by Mr Chris Johnston from Crops, Grassland & Ecology Branch.
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), in partnership with Catalyst Arts in Belfast, have hosted for the first time an “Artist in Residence” aboard its research ship the RV Corystes. The Belfast based artist, Alice Clark joined AFBI scientists on two research expeditions as they carried out scientific studies in the Irish Sea.  Alice is particularly interested in the interface between science and art and was keen to show how science can become an art form in itself and to demonstrate its importance in our everyday lives.
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) has welcomed a delegation of senior officials from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) to its Hillsborough research farm.  CAS is the national academy for the natural sciences of the People's Republic of China and the delegation was interested in the current agri-food research programme within AFBI and in mechanisms of agri-food research funding in the UK.
AFBI is pleased to announce the publication of three reports detailing results from its pesticide usage monitoring programme.
A delegation from Banat’s University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, King Michael I, of Timişoara in Romania recently visited the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI). They were joined by the Economic Counsellor of the Romanian Ambassador in the United Kingdom, Mr Manuel Donescu. The aim of the visit was to sign a Memorandum of Understanding which will strengthen links between the organisations and open the way to greater collaboration on research, knowledge exchange and training.
Sustainable intensification of dairy farming means producing more milk with less input of chemicals such as fertiliser and herbicide, and less energy/fuel usage. Sustainable intensification will only be able to be achieved if farmers take advantages of the latest research findings and technology.
Beef industry representatives and scientists from across Europe met on 1-2 October for a workshop entitled "Sustainable beef quality for Europe – a Workshop for Industry and Scientists". The meeting was initiated by Dr Linda Farmer of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in Northern Ireland and organised with Dr Laura Nuccilli of the British Embassy in Rome (who sponsored the meeting), Prof Antonella Baldi (University of Milan) and Dr Kees de Roest (Centre for Research on Production of Animals, Italy). The meeting was held at the University of Milan and was associated with the Milan Food Expo 2015.
The “Practical on-farm Renewable Energy” event, organised by DARD, CAFRE, AFBI and the UFU provides practical information to the agricultural and rural sectors about available renewable energy options
Scientists at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) have recently completed a research project in which the detailed genetic profile of all cows and replacement heifers in its Hillsborough dairy herd has been obtained. This work was part of a project funded by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and involved the genetic analysis of blood samples from the herd, which has one of the highest PLI (Profitable Lifetime Index) values in the UK.
A new record yield of over 14 t/ha has been set in 2015 for AFBI winter wheat trials.  In the recent harvest, two winter wheat varieties, KWS Barrel and Avatar, achieved over 14 t/ha in the  variety trials conducted by AFBI Crossnacreevy. Average yields of plots treated with fungicides in the trial at Limavady in 2015 were 13.0 t/ha, placing it 7th out of 27 trials in the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB) UK trialling system.  These yields were on average 2 t/ha higher than the 2014 NI trial average and 2.5 t/ha higher than the 5-year NI trial average for 2010-2014.  Full results of the performance of the 49 varieties in trial in Northern Ireland in 2015 are available at www.afbini.gov.uk. In this article the varieties most suitable for the NI market, potential newcomers and the importance of disease resistance when selecting winter wheat varieties to sow, are discussed.
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) jointly held a wood chip quality workshop recently to explore and highlight aspects of generating heat from biomass.
Dr Tianhai Yan, from the Agriculture Branch of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), has been notified by the prestigious Amercian Journal of Dairy Science that his paper on the measurement of methane emissions from dairy cows, is one of the 100 most highly cited papers published in the journal since the beginning of 2012.
The transition period is normally defined as the last three weeks of the dry period and the first three weeks of lactation.  A large number of changes take place during this time, including a reduction in food intake, changes in hormone levels, social changes (joining a new group and adopting to a new routine), and changes in diet type and quality.  These changes combine to make the transition period a time of ‘stress’ for the cow, and as a consequence, the cow’s immune system becomes suppressed making her more susceptible to infections.  Diseases which occur during this time can have a long term impact on cow performance during the following lactation.
The Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP), of which AFBI is a member, launched its latest Report Card recently at the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) annual science conference in Glasgow. It focuses on how climate change could affect the implementation of marine biodiversity legislation – and in particular legislation used to establish marine protected areas.