News and Views - July/August 2018

AFBI Launches Soil Testing and Training Initiative for the Colebrooke & Strule Catchment Areas

On the 6th July AFBI launched the ‘Colebrooke & Strule Soil Testing and Training Initiative’. This is a free soil sampling and analysis and training initiative, open to all farmers within designated sub-catchments in the Colebrooke and Strule river systems of Fermanagh and Tyrone.

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AFBI and Barenbrug Extend Grass Variety Marketing Agreement

AFBI and leading international grass breeding company Barenbrug Holding BV (Barenbrug), based in the Netherlands, have enjoyed a strong commercial partnership over the past number of years and recently signed a five year extension to the current partnership arrangement, during a visit by senior AFBI staff to Barenbrug Headquarters in Nijmegen in the Netherlands.

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End of an Era for AFBI Grass Breeder

David Johnston AFBI's grass breeding programme leader, retired on 31 July, 2018 after 39 years’ service. At AFBI Loughgall recently, past and present staff from across the Institute, as well as commercial partners, came to celebrate his career and wish him well in retirement.

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AFBI, Industry and DAERA collaborate to improve sire recording at birth

It is well known that successful breeding, which includes the selection of high performing sires, will improve key production and profit-driving characteristics, such as beef or milk production, fertility or calving ease. However, even though half of a calf’s genetic potential comes from the sire, researchers at AFBI have found that less than 10% of calf births registered in Northern Ireland included information that could identify the individual sire.

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European Grassland Experts Visit AFBI Hillsborough

Leading scientists working on grassland research across Europe recently gathered for the European Grassland Federation Conference in Cork.  At this event AFBI played a prominent role, with Professor Trevor Gilliland opening the conference with the keynote plenary presentation on ‘Resilience in Grasses’ with a further 28 presentations or poster displays delivered by AFBI’s research teams.

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AFBI Seminar highlights advances in poultry research

A highly informative and enjoyable poultry research seminar was held at AFBI Hillsborough on Friday 22 June 2018. The seminar brought together poultry industry specialists from throughout Northern Ireland to hear about and discuss the latest advances taking place in the AFBI poultry research Programme.

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AFBI's first Fulbright Scholar attends 70th Anniversary Event in London

Dr Adrian Allen, AFBI’s first Fulbright Scholar, participated in an event organised by the UK Government at 10 Downing Street, London to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the US-UK Fulbright Commission. Since 1948, the Fulbright Commission has funded international exchange programmes promoting free exchange of people, ideas and expertise - recognising that these underpin the success of modern, liberal democracies and the promotion of harmony and progress.

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Meet the Scientist - Donnacha Doody

This month Dr Donnacha Doody - Agri-Environment Branch talks about his role in AFBI.  I joined AFBI in May 2007 as a Senior Scientific Officer (SSO) working on soil hydrology. In 2011, I was promoted to Principal Scientific Officer (PSO) and now lead the Catchment Science Research Unit in Agri-Environment Branch. 

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AFBI Job Vacancies

Current job vacancies in AFBI can be viewed on the Northern Ireland Civil Service Recruitment Website

They include:

  • Catchment Science - Higher Scientific Officer


AFBI has diagnosed the 1st cases of pneumonia in 2018 in cattle due to lungworm (hoose/husk) at Omagh & Stormont. Wetter conditions may result in increased pasture infectivity. Farmers are advised to take appropriate preventative action .....

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