DAERA offering dairy farmers a free trip to learn innovative heifer raising techniques

Date published: 21 January 2020

Northern Ireland dairy farmers are being offered a fantastic and free opportunity to learn about the latest and innovative practices about rearing heifer’s by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

Dairy herd replacements are a major investment for dairy producers.

Applications are being sought from local farmers for a study tour which will include a number of visits to farms in the south west of England as part of the Farm Innovation Visits Scheme. And, the tour will be delivered by DAERA’s College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE).

Rearing dairy herd replacements always represents a major investment for dairy farmers seeking to safeguard the future of their business. So, it’s crucial that heifers are reared in the most cost efficient manner possible in order to maximise performance throughout their lifespan.

The two-day study tour will therefore hone in on innovative practices in rearing and managing dairy heifer replacements that will help achieve key performance targets.

Areas that will be covered during the 48-hour trip will include heifer nutrition and management to meet target growth rates, an examination of simple and low cost heifer rearing systems, management of the first lactating heifer in the herd and the overall economics of rearing heifers.

One member or employee of a farm business which reared at least 25 heifers per year in 2017-18 or 2018-19 and who is over 18 at the time of the event and who is not in full-time education is eligible to attend. Preference will be given to those who complete phyiscal and financial benchmarking of their dairy business including heifer replacements.

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. Sixteen places are available and these 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 Great Britain. Participants will be expected to meet any additional costs, including farm relief and travel insurance.

The group will leave from Belfast International Airport on the morning of Tuesday February 25 and return on the evening of Wednesday, February 26. The tour will be led by CAFRE Advisers Gavin Duffy and Jane Sayers. 

Dairy farmers who are interested in participating in this study tour can find out more details and complete an online application at the CAFRE website.

Applications open on Wednesday, January 2, 2020 and close on Monday February 3 at 4pm.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The department may take photographs and videos at announcements and events to publicise its work. Photographs, interviews, videos or other recordings may be issued to media organisations for publicity purposes or used in promotional material, including in publications, newspapers, magazines, other print media, on television, radio and electronic media (including social media and the internet). Photographs and videos will also be stored on the department’s internal records management system. The department will keep the photographs and recordings for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they have been obtained. The department’s Privacy Policy is available on our website.
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  3. All media enquiries to DAERA Press Office, pressoffice.group@daera-ni.gov.uk or tel: 028 9052 4619.

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