Desmond Patterson retires after 32 Years of Dedicated Service to the Agri-Food Industry
Dr Desmond Patterson, AFBI Hillsborough, recently retired after more than 32 years of dedicated service to research in support of the agri-food industry in Northern Ireland.
Sinclair Mayne and Lynne Dawson discuss Dr Desmond Patterson’s keynote address to the European Association of Animal Production on ‘Beef Production from Grass-Based Systems’
Desmond, who heralds from the north coast of Antrim, started working as a commercial nutritionist with Robert Holmes Ltd then E.T. Green Ltd, before embarking on a career in agricultural research in 1975.
Initially undertaking research in the area of pig nutrition, Desmond examined the most effective means of promoting pig growth during the post wean and finishing periods. In 1997, he moved into calf research where key information was generated which is still used today by nutritionists and food scientists across the world.
In the early 1990’s, Desmond moved to a position within the dairy research unit at Hillsborough and rose through the ranks to become Head of Dairy Research in 2002. He initiated research across a broad range of topics including: feeding the high genetic merit dairy cow; high dry matter grass silage; fatty acid composition of milk; and boosting levels in milk.
Desmond produced over 60 scientific papers, almost 200 press articles and presented many papers at high profile conferences. Most recently, he was invited to present a keynote international paper to over 1000 delegates at the European Association of Animal Production. The paper entitled ‘Beef Production from Grass-Based Systems’ highlighted the role of grass in sustainable beef production systems and provides a blueprint for profitable beef production in Northern Ireland.
Additionally, through his lecturing role at Queens University Belfast from 1985, he taught and influenced the development of many undergraduate students and was supervisor of six postgraduate students, four of whom have embarked on research careers within AFBI.
Aside from his extensive knowledge and experience across a broad spectrum of agriculture, Desmond’s personality and north Antrim humour will be missed by all at AFBI. We wish him well for the future and a long and happy retirement.