A group of 14 commercial egg producers from Northern Ireland recently completed a CAFRE Farm Innovation visit to England for two days.
The group visited Cumbria and were hosted by The Lakes Free Range Egg Co, which gave an overview of the importance of trees planted on its ranges to enhance bird welfare and for the purposes of ammonia mitigation. Trees can play a role in the interception and capture of ammonia emissions and it was this role that was studied at a practical level with a view for potential implementation on Northern Ireland farms.
The second day of the trip was based in Yorkshire at Sally farm, a 600 acre, 64,000 bird multi-tier farm which used innovative technology such as air to air heat exchangers and ground source heat pumps to reduce dust and ammonia emissions in the poultry house. The group also saw first-hand how to mechanically reduce red mite using a new technology based on electrical currents which reduces the need for chemical control on farm.
The group came away with information, technology and many ideas which could be adapted on their home farms to help in the move towards more sustainable production.
Farm Innovation Visits are an exciting new opportunity for farmers across a range of disciplines to visit farms across the UK or Europe and gain first-hand experience of on-farm innovative approaches. Each trip focuses on innovations within a specific sector which are not currently practiced within Northern Ireland’s farming industry. The trips are focused and led by CAFRE advisers. Farm Innovation Visits are part of the NI Rural Development Programme and part funded by the EU.