Members of the Feed Adviser Register (FAR) play an integral role advising farmers on optimum livestock nutrition to maximise returns and reduce nutrient losses.
Actively engaging with local farmers throughout the Province on a daily basis, and often providing valuable advice on a wide range of topics, spanning animal nutrition, health and welfare and efficiency improvements, it is estimated that the 134 registered advisers could be advising around 10,000 farmers or 40% of all farm businesses in Northern Ireland.
FAR was set up in 2013 as a UK wide voluntary industry initiative to help reduce emissions from livestock farming. It provides assurance that those delivering advice have undertaken the necessary training and continued professional development, as verification of technical competence.
A major focus of FAR is on reducing nutrient losses. Using inputs like feed and fertiliser more efficiently can help to reduce ammonia and greenhouse gas emissions to the air, while decreasing the risk of phosphorus and nitrogen entering water courses and maximising returns at the same time.
The Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association (NIGTA) have developed specific environmental training for Northern Ireland feed advisers in response to the challenges farmers are facing locally.
This is being delivered by CAFRE at Greenmount College and at the end of the one day training event, advisers must successfully complete a validation test to be awarded a certificate of competence.
The initiative has been widely consulted on and warmly welcomed by government, agricultural and environmental stakeholders.
The intention is that all registered feed advisers in Northern Ireland will complete the training and be able to demonstrate competence in delivering advice on farm to reduce nutrient losses and ultimately maximise returns.
The four training days already completed have been ruminant focused with 47 feed advisers gaining their accreditation to date. Special courses for pig and poultry advisers will follow in the coming months.
Two further training sessions are scheduled for later this month and spaces are still available for advisers wishing to attend on either 23rd or 25th January at Greenmount College.
Further details from firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07818 888877.