Moy Park staff to strike at feed mill

Union members at Moy Park’s feed mill in Randalstown have voted to hold a strike due to an ongoing dispute about pay and holiday entitlements.

The strike is scheduled to take place on Monday 6 June. Around 40 people are employed at the site which produces feed for Moy Park poultry units.

“In the absence of movement, this strike is going ahead on Monday from 7am and will shut down production at this critical site. Even if Moy Park can source alternative supplies, there will undoubtedly be an impact for farming,” said Sean McKeever from union Unite.

However, Moy Park maintain the scheduled strike action will not cause operational issues at the mill next week.

“The proposed strike by up to 19 Unite members at the mill will not disrupt our operations or customer service levels,” a Moy Park spokesperson said.

The company said an 8.6% pay increase has been available since April 2022 but Unite argue this was linked to changes to holiday and special day premiums.

Multi-species sward farm walk

A farm walk focused on multi species swards takes place near Downpatrick on Monday 13 June 2022.

Beef farmers Paul and Frank Turley established six different sward mixes over 40 acres last year. The event will include a tour of the swards and a discussion around the management on the Turley farm.

There will be two farm walks on the day, with the first session starting at 3pm and the second begins at 7pm. Pre-registration is required by visiting the AgriSearch website

Dexters sell to 3,250gns at Kilrea

A top price of 3,250gns was paid for a four-year-old cow with calf at foot during the NI Dexter Cattle Group’s show and sale in Kilrea Mart last week.

The highest priced lot at the sale came from the herd of David McCalmont, Islandmagee. The short legged red cow, Ballyhartfield Lottie, and her heifer calf had been placed reserve champion in the show beforehand.

The show champion was Derryola Red Rum, a 14-month-old non-short, red bull bred by Ryan Lavery, Aghalee which later sold for 2,000gns.

A new breed record for a maiden heifer was set when Ballinderry Crumble, a 10-month-old from the McAreavey Family, made 3,000gns. Cadian Rose, a red, non-short heifer exhibited by Matthew Bloomer set a breed record for an in-calf heifer when it sold for 2,000gns.

Agri crime in NI hits another new low

The number of burglary and theft incidents occurring on NI farms has fallen to a new low, the latest figures from the PSNI indicate.

In the 12 months to 31 March 2022, there were 196 agricultural crimes recorded in NI, representing a 33% reduction on the previous year.

It is the fifth year in a row that the rate of agricultural crime has fallen, and it fits with a long-term trend of less crime occurring on local farms.

For example, when the PSNI first started keeping records of agricultural crime in 2010/11, there were 937 cases reported over the 12-month period.

The latest figures show that farm related crime has fallen across all regional policing districts in NI. The Newry, Mourne and Down district has the highest rate of agricultural crime, with 39 incidents occurring during 2021/22.

Mullan new NIFDA chair

The managing director of ABP in NI, George Mullan, has taken over as chair of the board of the NI Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) for the next two years, replacing Dale Farm CEO Nick Whelan. The new vice chair of NIFDA is Moy Park Director, Ursula Lavery.

Speaking after his appointment, Mullan called for the restoration of the NI Executive at Stormont to help the food industry plot a way through various challenges such as sustainable growth, climate change, food inflation and supply chain issues.