CIEL, which is the UK Centre of Innovation and Excellence in Livestock, is a new consortium of leading research institutes and private companies in the UK that has been formed to create a step change in livestock farming through collaborative research and innovation.
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), as one of the key CIEL partners, recently hosted a seminar to set out research priorities and report recent findings in the area of ‘Feed and Forage efficiency’ across dairy, beef, sheep and pig systems.
Under the chairmanship of Mr Paul Billings (Germinal Holdings), delegates from across the UK, spanning both industry and academia, were informed about the biological relationship between animal growth and feed use efficiency by Dr Mark Young of CIEL. Mr Justin McCarthy, Editor of the Irish Farmers Journal emphasised the need for better grass utilisation across Ireland to increase profit margins for producers.
Dr Sinclair Mayne, AFBI’s CEO, supported this message while highlighting additional benefits to the environment that improved grass utilisation could bring.
Mr Robin Irvine, NIGTA CEO, concluded the morning session by outlining the likely availability of raw materials and the role of feed use in future farm business models.
In the afternoon, parallel sessions on dairy, beef and sheep and pig production, reported work from AFBI researchers as well UK colleagues on opportunities to improve feed efficiency in dairy cattle, beef, sheep and pig production systems.
Dr Elizabeth Magowan, the event organiser reflected that “AFBI is excited about the opportunities CIEL is bringing through increased collaboration with other UK research scientists and companies. This will create new knowledge and bring novel innovations to Northern Ireland livestock farming which will maintain industry competitiveness. This seminar represents one of the first stepping stones in realising that ambition”.