Farming for the Future - Major Open Days at AFBI Hillsborough on 18-19 June

Date published: 20 May 2024

Area of Expertise:

Livestock farming in Northern Ireland is heavily reliant on grassland, which covers approximately 93% of the farmed land area.

Well managed grass-based farming systems can play a significant role in Northern Ireland’s ability to build resilience to climate change and improve our local air and water quality, whilst delivering efficient and profitable food production. 

The open days are a great opportunity for all farmers in the livestock sector in Northern Ireland to see and hear how the latest AFBI research on grassland productivity can help to understand past and future trends in response to changes in weather patterns and longer-term temperature change.  AFBI modelling is predicting that due to higher average temperatures in the future, there is the potential for NI to grow more grass in the future, but this grass growth will be more volatile due to extreme dry and wet weather events.  AFBI researchers will discuss these future predictions of grass growth patterns and strategies for farmers to help manage these to maximise the production of grass and the production of meat and milk from future grass swards.  The key solutions that could be adopted by farmers will include aspects of precision grazing management, harnessing biological nitrogen from legumes and adding novel species to build diversity into grassland platforms. The goal is to ensure that farms will be able to withstand the climatic, environmental and economic challenges that are currently facing meat and milk production in the future.

The first day- on Tuesday 18 June- will focus on dairy systems, while the focus will be on beef and sheep systems on Wednesday 19 June.

Guided tours will leave every half hour between 10am and 2.30pm on 18 and between 1pm and 5.30pm on 19. Guided tours will include talks on soils, grassland management, livestock nutrition and genetics and environmental sustainability amongst other topics.  There will also be focus areas where farmers will have a chance to chat to scientists and CAFRE development advisors on a one-to-one basis. The grassland focus area will feature exhibits on virtual fencing, grass budgeting and grass varieties.

Pre-registration is essential for these events and can be found at:


or by scanning the QR code:

Notes to editors: 

AFBI’s Vision is “Scientific excellence delivering impactful and sustainable outcomes for society, economy and the natural environment”.

AFBI’s Purpose is “To deliver trusted, independent research, statutory and surveillance science and expert advice that addresses local and global challenges, informs government policy and industry decision making, and underpins a sustainable agri-food industry and the natural and marine environments”.

AFBI’s core areas:

  • Leading improvements in the agri-food industry to enhance its sustainability.
  • Protecting animal, plant and human health.
  • Enhancing the natural and marine environment.

Share this page