The College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) has announced that its Technology Demonstration Farm (TDF) programme is back up and running again.
Launched in November 2019 the programme was halted because of the Coronavirus pandemic. CAFRE established the TDF network to provide farmers with the opportunity to see new technology and innovations at work that they could then consider adopting into their own businesses.
A number of visits to the dairy farms had taken place prior to the advent of Covid-19 and the restrictions that came with it. Those visits however received excellent feedback and as a result, CAFRE is now taking bookings for future visits to all eighteen TDF farms.
To date CAFRE has recruited four dairy, four sheep and ten beef farmers to demonstrate technologies within a number of themes including feed efficiency, mobility improvement, grassland management and breeding.
Dairy TDF farmer John Rafferty from Poyntzpass in Co Down said: “I have had five TDF visits to my farm to date and the feedback has been very positive indeed with excellent discussion having taken place. I am really looking forward to welcoming more groups onto the farm again.”
The College will also be appointing two additional Pig TDFs this autumn and applications will be invited from other agricultural sectors in due course. Further details will be on the CAFRE website, Discover CAFRE Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
The programme has already attracted the attention of the media and one of the Beef Fertility TDF farmers John Egerton from Roslea in Co Fermanagh was filmed recently on his home farm by the BBC Northern Ireland discussing the advantages of TDFs. This will be screened on BBC One NI on the Home Ground programme later this month.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the European Union are funding the establishment of this network of Technology Demonstration Farms across Northern Ireland as part of the Rural Development Programme under the Innovation Technology Evaluation Demonstration (ITED) Scheme.
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