Level II course open for applications

The CAFRE agricultural business operations (level II certificate) course is open for applications until 31 July.

The course is delivered one evening a week over 20 weeks from late September 2023 to late February 2024. It will be delivered at the three CAFRE campuses with classes in beef, sheep and dairying being offered. The course costs £150 and the level II certificate meets eligibility criteria for the young farmers’ payment and the regional reserve scheme.

Places can be booked by calling 028-9442 6880 or emailing Industry.TrainingAdmin@daera-ni.gov.uk.

Rural Support running farm survey

Cookstown-based charity Rural Support is running a survey as part of a project on the changes facing NI farmers.

Respondents to the short survey will be entered into a draw to win either a £200 voucher donated by Taggart Jack or a £100 voucher from John McElderry (M&T) Ltd. The survey is available on Rural Support’s website, or paper versions are available in NFU Mutual offices across NI.

Surge in cattle imports from ROI

Imports of beef cattle from the Republic of Ireland (ROI) for direct slaughter at NI plants has reached a 17-month high.

The latest figures from DAERA show that 530 animals moved north of the border for processing last week. Prime cattle accounted for 410 of the imports, with the remainder being cull cows. The overwhelming majority of these animals end up in food service markets, where country of origin labelling is not an issue, unlike the UK retail sector.

Beef prices at abattoirs in ROI have slumped in recent weeks and are lagging more than 40p/kg behind prices paid by NI plants. This differential has prompted some local processors and wholesalers to look south of the border when sourcing cattle and use a greater number of ROI animals in weekly throughput figures.

Food and farming event at Queen’s

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is holding a full-day conference in Belfast on Tuesday titled “Save our Wild Isles: Food and Farming”.

The event is taking place at Riddel Hall in Stranmillis and is being held in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast and The National Trust.

A range of speakers are lined up, including representatives from local dairy processors, environmental groups, the Ulster Farmers’ Union, DAERA and the Agri Food and Biosciences Institute.

Pre-registration is required. Search for the conference title on www.eventbrite.com