Further decline in NI milk production

Milk production in NI totalled 184.6m litres during November, a drop of 0.92% on the same month during the previous year, according to the latest statistics published by DAERA.

November was the third consecutive month that milk production was lower year on year. From January to November 2023, NI milk production stands at 2.315bn litres, marginally lower than the 2.321bn litres produced during the same period in 2022.

Loughans Angus bull sale tops 3,600gn

Pedigree Aberdeen Angus bulls from John and Rory Best, Poyntzpass, sold to a high point of 3,600gns, during an online auction facilitated by Markethill Mart via MartEye, which ran from Friday, 26 January, to Monday, 29 January.

There was a 100% clearance of 14 bulls, resulting in a sale average of £2,966. Topping the sale was Loughans Ran Y711, a son of Gear Blue Moon N294.

FFA back UFU position on TB

The steering committee of Farmers For Action (FFA) in NI has confirmed its support for any legal challenge brought forward by the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) on DAERA plans to cut the amount paid for TB reactor cattle. A public consultation on the proposals closes on 8 March.

In a statement, Sean McAuley from FFA also said his organisation has no confidence in the current consultation process run by NI civil servants given the use of “loaded questions” or a “lack of relevant questions”, which allow government to “bulldoze their will on the people of NI”.

The advice from FFA is to “fill in the consultation if you are so minded”, but also to write to NI Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris, telling him cuts to reactor values are unacceptable.

Surge in demand at Rural Support

Local farming charity, Rural Support has confirmed it has recruited additional farm business mentors and counsellors, after seeing a 40% increase in calls and referrals.

According to the organisation’s head of farm support, Gillian Reid, the rapid pace of change within farming is taking its toll and for many, it is overwhelming.

“When added to significant pressures from weather, rising interest rates, input costs and market uncertainty, it gives the term resilience a whole new meaning,” she said.

Information on the services and programmes provided by Rural Support can be found at www.ruralsupport.org.uk.

A free confidential support line (ring 0800-138-1678) is open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm.