Scanning global, thinking local - The Global Research Unit
The Global Research Unit based at AFBI Hillsborough, has produced another set of valuable and timely reports for the Agri-Food industry in Northern Ireland. Under the direction of Dr. Vanessa Woods, a senior researcher at Hillsborough, the Global Research Unit team has produced eight state of the art literature reviews to date, commissioned by DARD policy, the wider industry and the Chief Executive of AFBI, Dr. George McIlroy.
Pictured (L-R): Greg Forbes, Dr. Vanessa Woods, Manager of Global Research and Zoe McKervey peruse one of the latest publications from the Global Research Unit
The first five reports embraced novel areas of research which have subsequently proven to be of tremendous value to the industry. These reports included areas such as meeting the EU biofuels Directive in Northern Ireland, alternative uses for manure, bioremediation of farm effluents using novel methodologies and assisting the farming community in dealing with European legislation such as the Nitrates Directive.
A further three reports have just been released by the team and these embrace topics that are very pertinent to modern agriculture. The sixth report entitled “Beneficial nutrients in bovine milk for human health-A review of current knowledge” provides a detailed review of the international scientific literature regarding the nutritive value of milk as part of the human diet and examines factors affecting the levels of these important nutrients in milk.
In an era where agriculture is changing and there is a greater emphasis placed on niche markets with value added products, this report will serve as a very valuable asset for the dairy industry.
With the Environment and Renewable Energy Centre at Hillsborough well underway, the team have provided a condensed review of the literature which highlights the potential of Miscanthus, more commonly known as Elephant grass as a renewable energy resource in Northern Ireland.
Finally, a further report examines the use of one of the worlds fasting growing trees, known as the Paulownia tree, as a renewable energy option for Northern Ireland. This tree introduces the potential for a novel and innovative renewable energy option for consideration in Northern Ireland. Its suitability for the Northern Ireland climate is currently being examined by researchers in the Environment and Renewable Energy Centre at Hillsborough.
All reports can be downloaded from the AFBI website at the following address http://www.afbini.gov.uk/gru-publications.htm