A £10m investment in new beef research facilities at AFBI Hillsborough and CAFRE’s Greenmount campus has been announced by Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots.
As revealed in June 2020, the main beef research unit at AFBI has fallen into such a state that it can no longer be used for research work. Plans for a new unit have been in train for a number of years.
“The current beef facilities at AFBI and CAFRE are no longer fit for purpose. Investment in new beef facilities will ensure that AFBI and CAFRE have the capacity to carry out leading-edge research and demonstrate technologies in order to support the delivery of education programmes and underpin beef farms across NI for the next 30 years”, Minister Poots told MLAs on Tuesday.
He added that the new facilities will help show what is achievable in reducing the carbon footprint of beef production, and suggested that the development might take three to four years to complete.
It is understood that the plans involve the suckler herds across AFBI and CAFRE being concentrated at Greenmount campus, with all progeny taken to AFBI Hillsborough for finishing.
The £10m investment has been welcomed by the chair of the UFU beef and lamb committee, Pat McKay.
“The new beef facilities at AFBI and CAFRE will have substantial benefits for our relationship with retailers and new export customers, as we will be able to showcase why beef produced in NI is so sought after, in appropriate, efficient facilities”, he said.
Last Wednesday, Minister Poots also confirmed that £75m will be spent upgrading educational facilities at both Greenmount and Loughry campuses.