Improving labour efficiency in calf rearing through innovative calf feeding and housing systems

Date published: 13 December 2022

Applications are invited for this study tour to the Northern Germany region.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is offering dairy farmers the opportunity to travel to the Northern Germany region to learn about the latest innovative calf housing and feeding systems to help improve labour efficiency.

As part of the visit, the group will be able to see the latest in calf feeding and housing technology. The aim will be to demonstrate the benefits of good housing and feeding systems, in terms of not only labour efficiency, but also calf health and welfare and how these approaches can be used to address agricultural and environmental challenges on a larger more detailed scale than in NI. The visit will also strive to demonstrate how effective calf housing and feeding systems on NI farms can help to improve their resilience in the future.

The tour will include visits to four dairy farms over two days. It is proposed to fly to Hamburg from Dublin airport on an evening flight.

The first day will involve a visit to the Holm & Laue production facility to see how their products are developed and produced. This will include a presentation on their latest in calf feeding technology. This will be followed by a visit to a local dairy farm to see their housing and calf rearing system.

The second day will be spent visiting another two - three dairy farms with various innovative calf housing and feeding systems, as well as a presentation and discussion by a calf nutrition company.

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 group will leave from Dublin Airport and the tour will take place from 22-24 February 2023.  The tour will be led by CAFRE Dairy Advisers.

Applications are invited from one member or employee of a dairy farm business or calf rearing business that has reared a minimum of 50 calves (born or purchased at less than 2 months of age) per year in 2021/22, 2020/21 or 2019/20, is over 18 years old on the application closing date and not in full-time education.

18 places are available on this trip. Should there be sufficient interest it is proposed that subsequent trips may take place later in 2023. 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.

The Farm Innovation Visit Scheme, which is part of the NI Rural Development Programme and will cover the costs associated with setting up the visit, accommodation, travel outside of Northern Ireland and meals when in Great Britain. Participants will be expected to meet any additional costs, including farm relief and travel insurance.

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

Applications can be completed online from Monday 12 December until Friday 30 December at 4:00pm.

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