Monday, 10 October 2016 09:59
A charitable campaign that has seen farms nationwide displaying bright pink silage bales in aid of breast cancer research has been hailed a huge success.
Organised by dairy nutrition company Volac, the campaign has raised over £18,500 for the ‘Breast Cancer Now’ charity from sales of a specially-produced pink film to wrap big bale silage.
Volac pink film on silage bales raised £18,500 for breast cancer research in 2016!
Jackie Bradley, from Volac, said: "This amazing £18,500 far exceeds the £10,000 raised in our similar campaign last year.
"The response has been nothing short of amazing with eye catching bright pink bales in fields up and down the country. A testimony to the generosity of farming folk and a very visible reminder that visiting your GP with any concerns or attending for free NHS scans is vital.
She added: "The campaign has enjoyed huge support from journalists and many farmers have done really creative things with pink bales to make them stand out even more!
"The aim was to help raise awareness of the disease – while all the time raising money for a charity that helps fund breast cancer research at over 30 centres across the British Isles."
Money was donated to the campaign from each roll of pink Topwrap film farmers purchased – with contributions coming from Volac, as well as Trioplast, the film's manufacturer, and from the merchant supplying the roll.
Special bright pink stickers were also available for farmers making more traditionally-coloured green or black bales, who also wanted to donate and demonstrate their support.
For further details of more than 100 research projects at 30 centres browse www.breastcancernow.org
 Two of these research projects supported by Breast Cancer Now are led by Dr Niamh Buckley at QUB. 

Dairy Farmers wanted
Thursday, 28 July 2016 16:38
Dairy Farmers wanted to participate in an exciting international project

AgriSearch (The Northern Ireland Agricultural Research and Development Council) is looking to recruit a small number of innovative dairy farmers as “pilot farms” for an exciting new European project.
EuroDairy is a network being initiated to increase the economic, social and environmental sustainability of dairy farming in Europe, at a time of unprecedented challenge for the sector.

Funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme, EuroDairy will foster the development and dissemination of practice-based innovations in dairy farming, targeting key sustainability issues following the abolition of milk quotas: socio economic resilience, resource efficiency, animal care, and the integration of milk production with biodiversity objectives.  

EuroDairy spans 14 countries, from Ireland to Poland, and from Sweden to Italy, encompassing 40% of dairy farmers, 45% of cows and 60% of European milk output.

EuroDairy will establish a network of 120 innovating dairy farmers (pilot farms) across Europe to demonstrate best practice, and push boundaries in the application of new knowledge.

AgriSearch is seeking to recruit a small number of Northern Ireland dairy farmers to participate in this European network. Pilot farms should be implementing innovations in one or more of the following areas:
Resource efficiency
Animal care
Socio-economic resilience

Pilot farmers should have:
Good physical and financial performance
Good communication skills
Good record keeping
Be willing to host farm visits from both local and international farmers
Be willing to participate in local meetings (including operational groups)
Be willing to go on an exchange to visit other farmers in Europe

Pilot farmers will be financially benchmarked for two years using the European Dairy Farmers financial comparison system.  For this reason, we would particularly welcome applications from farmers who are already participating in the EDF financial comparison programme.

Farmers will also be required to submit additional information (which will depend on the type of innovations they are implementing on their farms).

AgriSearch will be seeking to form farmer-driven ‘Operational Groups’ to target specific problems or opportunities for the dairy sector. The EuroDairy network will link these groups cross-border, so that innovations identified in one country or region, can be shared with another. Pilot farmers should be willing to participate in such operational groups.
Farmers who are interested in applying to become a pilot farmer should download an information pack and application form from the AgriSearch website www.agrisearch.org or request one by contacting Jason Rankin on 028 92681613 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Thursday, 28 July 2016 16:32
A new in parlour feeding system has proved a profitable investment for Herman Pieper, a progressive goat milk producer reports Jos Borsten.
Since fitting a new in parlour feeder milking time for 300 goats in a carousel parlour has been reduced and training new members of the herd made easier.
Farming near Eibergen, pop; 12,000, close to the Dutch border with Germany   Herman was primarily a beef and pig producer until 1999 when the decision was made to establish a dairy goat enterprise.
 So over the next two years he built up a milking goat herd and installed a 48 station carousel milking parlour.  However, after 15 years it was clear by last winter that the original in parlour feeding system needed replaced.
Dairy goat farmer Herman Pieper is delighted with a new Hanskamp in parlour feeding system that cuts costs, enhances performance and saves time.
 “It was not a very precise feeding system as the motor worked with a timer and feed often ended up on the floor beside the trough instead of in the trough. There was a lot of costly spillage around the rotary parlour and goats were not being fed to optimise their performance and our profits,” explained Herman.
 “A reliable feeding system that can dose pellets precisely is very important in ensuring individual goats are fed accurately to ensure they remain in good condition and that margins are maximised.”
 With the PipeFeeder HighSpeed system developed by innovative Dutch company Hanskamp already popular with dairy cow herd owners across Western Europe Herman decided to have it installed last February.
This control panel lets Herman preset the amount of pellets offered to each animal by the PipeFeeder HighSpeed system. Hanskamp feeders are designed for use with all major makes and models of milking equipment.
 “Now we have no pellets left scattered around the parlour and each goat gets exactly the correct amount of feed as the PipeFeeder has a very accurate braking system on the motor.”
Having deliberately installed the new feeding system before the start of kidding time Herman Pieper found that goats now learn the parlour routine much easier and faster than in previous years.
 “I also really like the way Hanskamp have designed their very robust PipeFeeder so that from the ControlPanel the amount of pellets dispensed per group or per individual goat can be simply set.
 “For young goats I can easily set the system to dispense 300g to 400g per animal. This ensures they remain eating and standing peacefully right through milking until turned out.
“The certainty that every goat will always receive feed helps get young goats moving quickly into the parlour. Early in the season when young goats coming into the herd are learning the milking routine this has cut milking time by half an hour as 300 animals go through the parlour.”
 When ordering the PipeFeeder Herman Pieper pointed out to Hanskamp that the exit point designed for dairy cows would need adapted to suit goats.
 “As a result we were the very first to install a new exit point for the PipeFeeder system designed by the Hanskamp team specifically for goats. It is no surprise that more diary goat farmers have since also opted for this PipeFeeder HighSpeed package. 
 “For those producing milk from cows or goats and seeking a precise feeding system with no problems I would strongly recommend the PipeFeeder HighSpeed from Hanskamp. Safe and simple to use it has proved an excellent investment as time and money is saved.”
 For further details tel; 0031 3143 93797, e mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or browse www.hanskamp.nl/en  

Wholecrop cereals ‘no brainer’
Thursday, 28 July 2016 16:28
Wholecrop cereals could be ‘no brainer’ for livestock farmers facing tight silage stocks 
Low cereal prices could mean making wholecrop cereal silage is a ‘no brainer’ for topping up this season’s tight grass silage stocks on dairy and other livestock farms, says Ecosyl silage specialist, Derek Nelson.

This, coupled with the drive to maximise use of home-grown forages to reduce reliance on bought-in feeds, makes wholecrop an obvious option, he maintains.

“We’ve seen in the past that wholecrop cereals have proved an ideal silage where grass yields or quality levels have been low,” says Mr Nelson.

“With cereal grain prices still relatively depressed, if you are growing cereals and need to make up for grass silage shortfalls, it makes sense to consider ensiling at least some as wholecrop this season – rather than harvesting the entire crop as mature grain. 
Ensiling cereals as fermented wholecrop makes a lot of sense for farmers needing to make up for grass silage shortfalls this season, says Ecosyl silage expert, Derek Nelson, with high yields and high starch contents achievable, but it is important to protect against aerobic spoilage

“Wholecrop wheat can deliver 12-15 tonnes of dry matter per hectare, which is more than three cuts of grass in a dry year. Also, including wholecrop as part of a mixed forage diet can increase dry matter intake, which is important for high-yielding herds. Even if you aren’t growing cereals, you can often buy standing crops.”

As with all silage, Mr Nelson says getting the maximum feed value from wholecrop demands effective preservation – with many farmers opting to make fermented wholecrop as a low cost and straightforward method. 

“Fermented wholecrop is a highly palatable and nutritious forage and can have starch contents as high as 35% dry matter. Also, harvest can often be slotted in immediately after second cut grass – which means you can assess grass silage stocks before deciding how much wholecrop to make. 

“Ideally, wholecrop for fermenting should be harvested at 45-50% dry matter, which is typically three to four weeks before combining when the grain is at the ‘soft Cheddar cheese’ stage but with no ‘milk’ detectable. 

“Because of its relatively high dry matter, wholecrop can be prone to aerobic spoilage during storage and at feedout, shown as heating. So it is well worth considering a dual-acting additive. A new product Ecocool, for example, which was launched last year for exactly this purpose, contains the bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum strain MTD/1 for efficient fermentation plus Lactobacillus buchneri PJB/1 for reduced heating and spoilage.”

When planning wholecrop harvest, Mr Nelson says, cutting at 45-50% dry matter provides a good balance between providing moisture and sugars for fermentation and achieving a good starch content in the grain to maximise feed value. However, be careful not to miss the optimum harvest window, he says, since cereals mature rapidly, and, once dry matter reaches 45%, it can increase in hot weather by 2% a day.

“You can still achieve a good fermentation at dry matters of up to 50%, particularly with a proven silage inoculant. Also, it is possible to produce well-fermented wholecrop below 45% dry matter, but early harvesting will affect yield and starch levels.

“Chop length is also important. For optimum rumen conditions, diets must contain sufficient effective fibre. Aim for around 20 mm,” Mr Nelson adds.

Thursday, 28 July 2016 16:26
ORDER pink Topwrap bale silage film and for every roll bought Trioplast, your local merchant and Volac will jointly donate £3 to Breast Cancer Now the charity funding projects at 30 research centres.
 Last year this Volac pink wrap campaign generated over £10k for research into breast cancer, a disease impacting on one in every eight women at some stage in their lives.
Jim Davidson, left, of Trioplast helps Volac forage specialist Noel McGrath and NI manager Alistair Sampson display the cheque presented to Breast Cancer Now, which supports research at QUB. Last year £10, 591.65 was raised when farmers ordered pink Topwrap silage bale film.
 These brightly coloured bales across the countryside also serve as a reminder that women should avail of free NHS breast screening health checks. Appointments no woman should miss no matter how busy their precious life has become.
 Currently Breast Cancer Now funding for research includes two projects at Queen’s University Belfast led by Dr Niamh Buckley.
 Topwrap RS1900 pink bale wrap from Volac has 1900m of film on a roll, as opposed to the standard green wrap sold with 1500m. On average Topwrap RS1900 is 7% cheaper than standard wrap and wraps 26.6% more bales.
Farmers and contractors are urged to order their pink wrap promptly from their local merchants.

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