Councillors reject climate motion

A motion calling for councillors on the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon (ABC) council to send a clear message that the target for NI to have net zero carbon emissions by 2045 is unattainable and will decimate farming, has failed to gain support from other parties. Brought by DUP councillor and Tandragee farmer Tim McClelland, it was only supported by DUP members and two independents.

“It is sad that all other parties did not support the motion. What message is that to send to our most important industry? A sad result,” said McClelland.

Breeding ewe lambs increases performance

Breeding replacements as six-month-old ewe lambs, as opposed to 18-month-old hoggets, leads to improved lifetime performance, according to a new study by AFBI.

The research, which started in autumn 2013, followed 141 ewes for seven breeding years.

It found ewe longevity was unaffected by age at first mating and all replacements eventually reached the same mature weight.

However, replacements that were bred as ewe lambs produced an additional 1.22 lambs over their productive lifetime, compared to ewes that were first bred as hoggets, the study found.

The extra lambs were mainly born in the first year, as scanning rates in subsequent years were similar for both ewe lambs and hoggets.

Solid financial year for Dale Farm

NI dairy co-operative Dale Farm recorded an operating profit of £14m for the year ending March 2021 across its group of companies, up from £12.2m in the previous year.

Overall group turnover was up £19m to stand at £524m, leaving an operating profit margin of 2.7%. That is broadly in line with performance in recent years, and just ahead of the 2.4% reported by Lakeland Dairies for 2020.

Problems with mastitis tubes

Supply problems with certain antibiotic products for treating mastitis in lactating cows are expect to run well into next year.

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) states that it will be spring 2022 before Multiject IMM is available again. Issues around the supply of Tetra-Delta are expected to be resolved by early 2022 and it will be autumn 2022 before Combiclav is available.

Several products that previously had supply problems are now listed as available by the VMD. This includes the likes of Synulox, Mastiplan and Cobactan.

Entries for 2021 Balmoral Show open

Entries for the 2021 Balmoral Show have opened and are set to close on Wednesday 28 July at 5pm.

Show organisers, the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society, state that entries must be submitted online or posted.

The 2021 Balmoral Show is scheduled to take place from Wednesday 22 September to Saturday 25 September. Tickets will be available to purchase online from Friday 23 July.

New chair of CAFRE advisory group

Maynard Mawhinney has been appointed the new chair of CAFRE’s college advisory group. Industry representatives make up the group and provide advice to the management team at CAFRE.

Mawhinney has been involved in various roles within the agri food industry throughout, including a 10-year stint as director of food, drink and commercial tourism at InvestNI. He takes over from outgoing chair Dr Mike Johnston from the NI Dairy Council.

Ahoghill dairy farmer Harold Johnston has been appointed as a new member of the college advisory group. Johnston, who is a board member of the Dale Farm Co-op, will represent the dairy sector in the group. Both Mawhinney and Johnston will serve three-year terms in their roles.