The Better Farm Beef Challenge NI is a collaborative venture between the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), The Irish Farmers’ Journal and ABP Food Group and is now entering its eighth year and third phase of delivery.
The overall aim of the programme is to improve farm profitability and sustainability. Participating farmers have been selected for the programme based on their positive attitude to change and potential for business improvement.
Such has been the success of the programme that participants who entered Phase 2 in 2014 have seen their gross margins more than double in three years through the adoption of best practice and new technologies. This knowledge transfer scheme is managed on a day to day basis by CAFRE Beef and Sheep adviser Darryl Boyd. Currently there are ten farmers participating on the programme across Northern Ireland, with each farm business faced with different challenges to overcome.
The benefits realised from the programme are disseminated to the wider suckler beef farming community through regular farm visits and weekly features in the Irish Farmers’ Journal.
Recently one of the programme participants, Jonathan Blair who farms near Ballykelly hosted a visit by Elaine Mitchell from BBC Radio Ulster’s Farm Gate. Together with Darryl Boyd, and Francis Breen Senior Beef & Sheep Development adviser (western region) Jonathan updated Elaine on the progress made on his farm and how the programme has impacted on his farm business.
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