School pupils experience AFBI

Jack Hanna, Katie Bailey and Michael Clarke (Forthill Integrated College, Lisburn) tour the pig unit at Hillsborough to hear about careers in agricultural research from AFBI’s Aimee Craig

Jack Hanna, Katie Bailey and Michael Clarke (Forthill Integrated College, Lisburn) tour the pig unit at Hillsborough to hear about careers in agricultural research from AFBI’s Aimee Craig

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The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) recently held a Science Demonstration Day for schools at its Hillsborough research farm.

Pupils from schools and colleges across Northern Ireland obtained a fascinating insight into the latest scientific advances in livestock production.

Lydia Poots and Sophie Thompson (Dromore High School) with Chris Johnston (AFBI) at the boiler which provides hot water for the Hillsborough site from burning renewable willow woodchip

Lydia Poots and Sophie Thompson (Dromore High School) with Chris Johnston (AFBI) at the boiler which provides hot water for the Hillsborough site from burning renewable willow woodchip

The demonstrations spanned the current research programmes in beef, dairy, pig and sheep production, as well as research on animal welfare and the environmental impacts of livestock production.

For example, the current challenges within pig production systems were highlighted and pupils viewed research in progress which aims to increase sow productivity and improve the welfare of pigs born into large litters. Pupils also had the opportunity to meet the scientists who are leading these research programmes and took the opportunity to ask questions about all aspects of the work, as well as experiencing life in the day of a research scientist.

AFBI Chair, Mr Colm McKenna, commented on the visit by saying: “I am delighted that approximately 150 GCSE and A level students from Omagh, Bangor, Dromore, Belfast, Lisburn and Derrylin had the opportunity to meet AFBI scientists and find out about agri-food research taking place right here in Northern Ireland. Hopefully this first-hand experience will inspire them to a future career in science. ”

Dr Conrad Ferris explains the value of good quality silage for housed dairy cattle

Dr Conrad Ferris explains the value of good quality silage for housed dairy cattle