Dunbia visit tops the agenda

Geoffrey Read of Thompsons inspecting a pit of first cut silage in the area.
Geoffrey Read of Thompsons inspecting a pit of first cut silage in the area.

As the winter programme of events for the South Derry/Londonderry Group got underway, the members kicked things off in November with a trip to the Dunbia plant in Dungannon getting a guided tour of the local beef processors’ production and packaging facility.

Treated to a spot of lunch and a short presentation after the tour, the members were able to take away some tips and advice in ensuring that produce reaches the processor in top notch condition to ensure the best grading possible.

The meeting also gave members the opportunity to directly quiz representatives from Dunbia on topical issues such as pricing and imports from South America.

The opening group meetings, held at the Terrace Hotel in Magherafelt, continued on a similar topic in regards to increasing farm efficiency and profitability.

In November James Keane, from Teagasc, gave some insightful findings on research emanating from the Republic of Ireland on maximising suckler herd performance while in December John Arrell, from Sixty-5 Technologies, and Padraig Shelvin, from Glenside Soil Solutions, demonstrated how efficient soil management plays a huge factor in grassland management and how technology is increasingly playing a role on todays farms.

In addition, the group also had the annual silage competition providing three local winners who have gone through to judging on a province wide level. They are William Sterling (dairy), Sam Neely (beef) and Johnny Hutchinson (maize). The group wishes them the best of luck in the regional competition and would like to thank Geoffrey Read, from Thompsons, for taking the time in judging the group entries.

Looking forward to 2017, the group will be joined by the rest of the county on January 23 at the Roe Park Resort for the Presidents’ roadshow which will be chaired by Richard Halleron, agricultural journalist at Farming Life.

The roadshow will give members insight into the union’s stance on all things farming including the hot topic of Brexit which continues to generate debate in farming circles.

In February, the Terrace Hotel will provide the venue to the group’s meeting on Farm Finances and Succession Planning with representatives from the Bank of Ireland and NFU Mutual presenting.

To round off the programme a social evening on Friday, March 3, will be held at the Royal Hotel in Cookstown with the Brook Boys providing the entertainment. Tickets will be available from the group office prior to the event.

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