News and Views - April 2017

International experts gather for AFBI's 'Science Outlook Conference'

At AFBI's recent conference 'AFBI Science: Shaping Livestock Farming for 2030’ a full house of conference delegates heard from international experts from New Zealand, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland as well as Northern Ireland. Discussion focussed on what the future might hold in the areas of animal health, precision agriculture and sustainable intensification.

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AFBI issues Nematodirus  Warning

AFBI Veterinary Sciences Division wishes to advise sheep farmers of the likely risk of Nematodirus worm infection in young lambs occurring at this time of year. Nematodirus infection results from the ingestion of large numbers of infective worm larvae present on contaminated pasture. Lambs grazing the same pasture in the previous year are normally the source of this contamination.

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AFBI Host National Trust Land Management Forum

AFBI hosted a recent National Trust Land Management Forum meeting at AFBI Loughgall.     Professor Jim McAdam, Head of Grassland and Plant Science Branch welcomed the group and highlighted AFBI’s plant science research relevant to the Trust.

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Brexit and Beyond

Prof John Davis, Director of Economics in AFBI and President Elect of the British Agricultural Economics Society (AES) will be making a presentation on the Implications of Brexit for the Agri-Food sector in NI during a half day Conference "Brexit and Beyond" taking place at the RDS in Dublin on Mon April 24.

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Glass eels make an appearance at Castle Espie!

Robert Rosell and Warren Campbell (AFBI) had a very successful day on 1 April entertaining visitors with glass eels and eel stories at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre at Castle Espie. Eels are an abundant but mainly unseen creature in the WWT ponds and AFBI use one of the outflows to sea as a site to count glass eels arriving from their larval ocean migration in spring.

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The Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) lab at AFBI

The Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) laboratory in AFBI Stormont has seen a massive increase in the numbers of ear notch samples processed since the introduction of the compulsory BVD eradication scheme. In the 2016-2017 financial year, AFBI processed 370,000 samples, up from 144,000 in 2015-2016, (a rise of 157%). During March 2017 as the peak in the calving season approaches, around 36,000 samples have been processed. The AFBI lab has continued to keep to an average turnaround time from submission of samples to reporting of one to two days. 

Meet the Scientist - Dr Elaine Groom

This month Dr Elaine Groom - Northern Ireland Contact Point (NICP) for Horizon 2020 Agri-Food & Bioeconomy talks about her role in AFBI. 
I graduated from Queen’s University in 1987 with a degree in Botany and completed a PhD in microbiology in 1991.  I then spent five years as a postdoc in England before returning to NI in 1996.  I joined AFBI in March 2015.  My role is principally to assist applicants from NI seeking agri-food research funding from the EU's Horizon 2020 Framework Programme.

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DID YOU KNOW .......

AFBI will feature at the 2017 Balmoral Show, promoting its services in feed and forage analysis, grass variety breeding, BVD testing and the AFBI Cattle Health Scheme which celebrates its 10 year anniversary this year. AFBI will have expert scientists from each area available to discuss how to get the best out of your business and protect your investment in land and animals. You can meet our scientists at our stand in the Government departments exhibition in the Eikon complex.

AFBI will also be promoting the impacts that our research has had on the agri-food industry in Northern Ireland, as well as interactive displays in our mobile exhibition unit at stand D11 beside the Spar arena.