Tremendous interest in AgriSearch’s new on-farm research projects
  Over 80 farmers from every corner of Northern Ireland have applied to become a pilot farmer in the new GrassCheck and “Beef from Grass” projects.   AgriSearch’s Chairman Michael Bell said, “We are really encouraged by the enthusiastic support for AgriSearch and these new projects which aim to maximise the use of grass - our greatest asset”.    “A recent study undertaken by AFBI for the Sustainable Agricultural Land Management Strategy, showed that for every extra tonne of grass dry matter utilised per hectare, margins improved by £441 per hectare per year on dairy farms and by £204...

GrassCheck 2016 – A tale of two halves for grass growth in 2016
  With annual Grasscheck grass growth up 21% compared with the 2007 – 2015 long term average, 2016 at first glance appears to have been an excellent year for grass production. But a closer look at both grass growth and quality highlights an incredibly volatile season and shows what a challenging year it has been for managing grass across the Province.   As in previous years AgriSearch’s GrassCheck project, conducted by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and supported by CAFRE and DAERA has been monitoring grass trends throughout the season. Grass growth rates and grass quality...

DAIRY & BEEF PILOT FARMERS WANTED FOR 2017 GRASS PROJECTS
 Applications are now open to become a pilot farmer for two of AgriSearch’s latest projects: GrassCheck 2017 and Beef from Grass.  Working with research partners AFBI, the projects will recruit 12 dairy farms and 18 beef farms from across Northern Ireland to monitor grass growth and quality through the 2017 growing season to better understand grass growing conditions across the region. Both projects are focused on assisting farmers to improve grass management following recent industry data highlighting the economic benefits of improved grass utilisation. Work carried out by AFBI has...

PILOT FARMERS WANTED FOR GRASSCHECK
  In Northern Ireland grazed or ensiled grass is by far the main source of forage, occupying an estimated 93% of the total farmed area.  However, the current performance of managed grasslands remains far below its potential with an estimated 7.5 tonnes of grass dry matter utilised per hectare on dairy farms. This has been echoed by a continuing decline in milk from forage, which has fallen steadily from 3,228 litres/cow/year in 2000 to 1,686 litres/cow/year in 2015 (CAFRE benchmarking, 2016).   GrassCheck is AgriSearch’s longest running programme, although the format has altered over the...

SYNCHRONISATION AND AI THE FOCUS FOR AGRISEARCH SUCKLER FARM WALKS
  A series of two beef farm walks organised jointly by AgriSearch, AFBI and CAFRE, focusing on the role of synchronisation and artificial insemination in the suckler herd will be held on 30th November and 1st December 2016.   Artificial insemination (AI) provides the opportunities to select the best genetics for each individual cow within the herd and enables farmers to breed for specific traits such as calving ease for heifers, maternal characteristics (i.e. milk) for breeding replacements, or terminal characteristics (i.e. growth, carcass).  It is practically impossible to select a stock...