The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is offering 16 dairy farmers the opportunity to travel to the Netherlands to learn about innovative ways to reduce ammonia emissions.
The three day study tour will take place from the 11 June - 13 June 2019 and will focus on the latest developments in dairy nutrition, housing, slurry storage and slurry application methods to reduce ammonia emissions.
Ninety four percent of Northern Ireland’s ammonia emissions are from agriculture with a large proportion coming from dairy farms and there is concern that high ammonia levels are damaging sensitive habitats. The UK has signed up to targets to reduce ammonia emissions so this is a very important area for the future of dairy farming and one which will shape future investment decisions.
The NI industry is not alone in facing this issue. Over the last 20 years the dairy industry in the Netherlands has been highly successful with innovating and producing practical solutions. Farmers to take part in the tour will see how Dutch dairy farmers are using the latest technologies in nutrition, housing and flooring systems, slurry storage and slurry application systems to reduce ammonia emissions from their intensive dairy farms. Hearing directly from farmers in the Netherlands will help participants to better understand the ammonia issue and consider how to improve the efficiency of nutrient use on their own farms.
This study tour is part of the Farm Innovation Visits Scheme which is being delivered by DAERA’s College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE).The tour will include visits to several progressive dairy farms that have implemented the latest technologies to control ammonia in addition to a visit to the Leeuwaren Dairy Campus Research Centre, a dairy nutrition talk and a visit to a leading manufacturer of slurry application equipment.
The group will leave from Belfast International Airport on the morning of the 11 June and return in the evening of the 13 June. The tour will be led by CAFRE Advisers George Mathers and Alan Agnew.
Applications are invited from one member or employee of the farm business who is at least 18 years old on the application closing date and not in full-time education. To increase the benefits arising from the study tour, all applicants must identify a group of farmers to share their findings with upon their return. 16 places are available, which will be allocated on a competitive basis.
The Farm Innovation Visit scheme, which is part of the NI Rural Development Programme and part funded by the EU, will cover the costs associated with setting up the visit, accommodation, travel outside of Northern Ireland, breakfast, lunch and evening meals when in the Netherlands. Participants will be expected to meet any additional costs, including farm relief and travel insurance.
Applications open on Wednesday 1 May and close at 4.00pm on Wednesday 15 May.
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