AgriSearch Sheep Farmer Co-Researchers meeting to discuss latest results
Farmers involved in AgriSearch funded on-farm sheep research met at AFBI, Hillsborough, Northern Ireland recently to be updated on the latest results by Dr Ronald Annett. Looking first of all at Lameness Dr Annett report that the findings to date had indicated that the main problems were scald, foot rot and shelly hoof, there were some granulomas and injuries with no CODD or white line abscesses being found. Prevalence of shelly hoof, scald and foot rot differs between farm type (hill and lowland), farms, season and genotype.  The reoccurrence of footrot and shelly hoof suggest...

New Final Report Released on Heifer Management as AgriSearch PhD Student Alastair Boyle Graduates
A new final report on dairy heifer management is now available to download from the AgriSearch website. “Strategies for maximising health, welfare and performance in first lactation heifers” was undertaken as a PhD study by Dr Alastair Boyle who recently graduated from Queens.  Dr Niamh O’Connell and Dr Conrad Ferris also formed part of the research team. It takes 2 years and approximately £1,220 to rear a dairy heifer to the point of replacement. Heifer replacement rate impacts on overall herd profitability and greenhouse gas emissions. The calving period is highly stressful for dairy...

A new report is available for download from the AgriSearch. The study looked at strategies for maximising health, welfare and performance of first lactation dairy heifers.  It was carried out by Alistair Boyle as his PhD with assistance from Dr Niamh O'Connell and Dr Conrad Ferris. The study sought the answer to four questions: In summary, the research suggests that it is beneficial from a welfare perspective to introduce calved dairy heifers into a lactating group containing older animals after evening milking, and also to mix them with older animals prior to calving....

AgriSearch PhD Student Alistair Boyle with Dr Sinlair Mayne (DARD Scientific Advisor), Mark Brown (DARD Deputy Secretary) and Jason Rankin (AgriSearch Project Officer)A new report is available for download from the AgriSearch website.  This PhD study was carried out by Alistair Boyle with assistance from Niamh O'Connell and Conrad Ferris.  The study looked at managment strategies for first lactation heifer to maximise health, welfare and performance.  In particular the study set out to answer four questions: Are there benefits in introducing dairy heifers to the main dairy herd in the evening rather than the morning? Does housing nulliparous cows with multiparous animals prior to calving influence welfare and performance after...

New Farmers booklet launch on beef from the dairy herd
Maximising returns from beef progeny sourced from the dairy herd is the subject of a new farmers booklet launched at the Winter Fair by AgriSearch. The booklet reports the results of a research project aimed to evaluate the health and lifetime performance of dairy-origin calves.  360 spring born bull calves of four genotypes (Holstein, Angus X Holstein, Limousin X Holstein and Belgian Blue X Holstein) were sourced from 12 farms throughout Northern Ireland. The immunity status of the calves was determined using a ZST test.  Calves with inadequate immune status required a greater number of...