Busy year for East Tyrone

UFU members being addressed by Tom Halpin at this beef farm
UFU members being addressed by Tom Halpin at this beef farm

Once again it has proven an extremely busy year for the East Tyrone Group. The group had its annual trip in August. This year the members spent two enjoyable days visiting County Meath and the Tullamore Show.

The first stop was to Ratoath Garden Centre at Ashbourne for a tour of their excellent show gardens. Lunch at Headfort Arms Hotel in Kells was followed by a visit to Tom Halpin’s beef farm. Tom is part of the Teagasc/IFJ BETTER farm beef programme which is aimed at improving the profitability and sustainability of Irish beef farms.

It was interesting to hear how Tom has been able to consistently improve profitability through carrying out simple changes to his farm. After a comfortable night’s accommodation in the Mullingar Park Hotel the members enjoyed the next day’s visit to Tullamore Show.

The first meeting of the Winter programme was a joint meeting with the South Londonderry and South Tyrone Groups. The speaker was Mr Michael Hanley, CEO of Lakeland Dairies. He gave the well attended meeting an informative overview of how global market influences are producing the current volatility in the dairy sector.

At the November meeting, members heard a presentation from Neill Elliott of Future renewables, entitled ‘Farm Energy and the Future’. Two further presentations were made by David Rowe from HSE NI and Kevin Acum from Risk Management Services, NFU Mutual. Both discussed farm safety, with Kevin also discussing his role within the NFU Mutual and how this company is attempting to reduce accidents through their new Farm Safety Hub.

The final meeting of 2015 was also very well attended. The speakers were Kieran McCavana from NIEA and Jonathan Cuddy from Filefarm. Discussions on nitrates regulations, inspections and form filling, produced a lively debate amongst the members. It was both interesting and useful for our members to get an insight into the extensive service Jonathan offers clients, through assisting farmers meet cross compliance standards, Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) calculations and completing IACS forms.

The group would like to congratulate the winners of the annual silage competition.

Results were as follows:

Dairy Section - 1st, Maxwell McLean; 2nd, Paddy Donnelly; 3rd, Andrew Kelso.

Beef Section - 1st, Leonard & Robert McIvor; 2nd, Paul Miller; 3rd, Glen Cuddy/Victor Patterson.

Thanks go to all those who took part and to Geoffrey Read of Thompson Feeds for judging the competition.

The Winter Programme continues to press ahead with the January meeting, entitled ‘Farm Business Improvement Scheme and Non-Agri diversification funding opportunities’. Alan Hopps, Senior Dairying Development Adviser, DARD and Eamon Gallogly are the speakers.

In February, the group look forward to visiting the Ashfield and Wilson, Claas dealership, for their AGM.

In March the group will finish their winter programme with an Ulster Rugby game.

If you have any queries contact the office in Cookstown on 028 8676 2632.