AFBI staff participated in the Northern Ireland Potato Festival held recently at a number of venues including the Giant’s Causeway and Ballycastle.
While every grazing season brings its own challenges, the 2013 season will certainly be remembered for its extremes. Once again the AgriSearch and DARD funded GrassCheck project has monitored grass growth throughout the season, and has provided timely information to farmers throughout the year.
Attendance at the 2012 Winter Fair broke previous records and this year’s event being held at the Kings Hall Pavilions on Thursday 12th December looks set to follow that trend. This year the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) will have scientists presenting the latest results of animal health, grass, and dairy research programmes and giving advice to farmers to assist their businesses.
On 1 January 2007 an Action Programme to implement the EU Nitrates Directive was introduced across the whole of Northern Ireland. This has had a number of implications for dairy farmers, including ‘closed periods’ for fertiliser and manure spreading, the requirement to have a minimum of 22 weeks slurry storage capacity, and the introduction of a stocking rate limit. The latter is set at 170 kg livestock manure nitrogen per hectare, which is equivalent to 1.87 cows per hectare (a typical Northern Ireland dairy cow produces 91 kg of manure nitrogen per year, thus 170 divided by 91 = 1.87).
Professor John Davis, Head of Economics in the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), has told a recent meeting of agri-food industry stakeholders that the costs associated with meeting potential local greenhouse gas reduction targets would have significant negative impacts on the agri-food sector. He said, “dairy, beef and sheep production would be most severely affected and agri-food exports could decline by up to 18% in the long-run.” Professor Davis cautioned that great care would be needed in designing greenhouse gas policy to avoid damaging the local agri-food sector.
Professor Tim Brocklehurst and Ken I'Anson of the Institute of Food Research at Norwich recently visited AFBI Food Science Branch.
AFBI and the Cork based company, MR Gum Innovation, have been awarded funding from InterTrade Ireland’s FUSION programme to design a non-stick biodegradable chewing gum.
The 47th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Irish Branch of the Association of Veterinary Teaching & Research Work (AVTRW) was held recently at the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Hillsborough.
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) winter wheat variety trials, funded by The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and by the Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA), have been harvested in recent weeks. The poor autumn conditions in 2012 meant that only two of the possible three winter barley variety trials were sown - in late October and early November 2012. Establishment at both locations, Crossnacreevy and Hillsborough, was good although the cold spring detrimentally affected early yield formation processes, namely the production and growth of leaves and tillers and the growth of the developing ear. The warm, sunny weather of June and July certainly boosted the later yield formation processes, especially grain-filling, so giving a lift to yield.
Staff at the Veterinary Sciences Division (VSD) of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), using a forecasting system based on rainfall data, have predicted that the overall risk of liver fluke infection during this autumn and winter in Northern Ireland will be high.