Badger cull decision to be made by Muir

It will be up to Agriculture Minister Andrew Muir to decide if wildlife intervention should be included in a bovine TB eradication strategy in NI, the Alliance MLA has confirmed.

The person responsible for policies related to animal and plant health in NI has changed in recent weeks due to new regulations which stemmed from the Windsor Framework. Various powers moved from Minister Muir to the UK government’s Environment Secretary Steve Barclay, although the Conservative MP has since handed back most responsibilities to DAERA.

In response to a written question from TUV leader Jim Allister, Minister Muir confirmed that his department has control over “disease awareness, disease preparedness and disease control”.

“This includes responsibility for bovine Tuberculosis, including wildlife intervention,” he said.

Butter and powder prices rise at GDT

The first New Zealand GDT auction of June saw positive price trends for butter and milk powders, boosting the index by 1.7% to its highest value since 4 October 2022.

Tuesday’s auction is the fifth event in succession to end with a positive result and means out of the last 13 auctions going back to early December, 11 have recorded a price increase.

Butter rose by 1.7% and is at its highest level since April 2022 with cheddar recording a more modest 0.2% increase.

Skim (SMP) and whole milk powder (WMP) both received a price boost, rising 3% and 1.7% respectively, bringing WMP to its highest price level since October 2022. At Wednesday’s Dutch Dairy Board auction, butter rose by €100 to €6,780/t and has now increased in value for six consecutive weeks. Butter is now trading at its highest value since October 2022.

WMP rose by €30 to €3,760/t, which is its highest price since January 2023, although SMP fell by €10 to €2,470.

NIIAS conference set for Greenmount

The NI Institute of Agricultural Science (NIIAS) is holding its annual conference at CAFRE Greenmount on Wednesday, 12 June 2024.

The theme of the event is “how can science deliver sustainable agriculture in a changing climate?”

Speakers include Dr Frank O’Mara from Teagasc, Aileen Lawson from the Ulster Farmers’ Union, John Egerton from the Ulster Grassland Society and a representative from DAERA.

The event costs £20 for NIIAS members, £25 for non-members and £10 for students. A buffet will be served from 5.30pm and the conference begins at 6.30pm.Pre-booking is required by emailing