CAFRE Staff visit Technology Demonstration Farm


February 23, 2022

Technology Demonstration Farms (TDFs) provide a network of local farms which allow other farmers the opportunity to see new technology and innovations which they could adopt on their own farms. The first of these TDF farms were appointed in 2019 and since then almost 300 TDF farm visits have been completed. Staff from CAFRE’S Projects Delivery and Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Policy branches recently visited the sheep TDF farm of Roger and Hilary Bell at Kells in County Antrim to see and hear for themselves how TDFs function.

Roger and Hilary Bell’s 500 Texel cross Mule ewe sheep farm is one of the original group of Sheep Technology Demonstration Farms appointed under the theme Grassland Management.

The 65 ha farm is run by husband and wife team who are passionate about grassland management and have been measuring grass for many years. In 2021 12.9 tonnes of grass were produced per ha. Best management is practiced throughout the sheep flock using a number of technologies such as the rising plate meter, AgriNet software, EID system, FEC sampling and the use of TGM flock recording while meticulous record keeping and attention to detail has brought this farm to where it is today.

Roger Bell recently said “As one of the original Sheep Grassland Management TDF farmers, I have been pleased to host a series of groups of farmers over the past few years and have really enjoyed the interaction with other farmers who are keen to learn and debate. I have enjoyed hosting the visits immensely and I am looking forward to hosting more visits both face to face and online over the months ahead.”

Jason McFerran from CAFRE said “it was great to visit such a good farm where detailed measuring and recording using the most up to date technologies is used to great effect to manage all aspects of the farm business. Roger is a great communicator and is an excellent TDF host farmer who is keen to pass on to others what he and Hilary have learned over many years of experience “.    

CAFRE has now appointed 41 TDFs in total and there are plans to appoint new Dairy Feed Efficiency TDFs in the very near future. Details of all the TDFs and how to book a visit are available on the CAFRE website: www.cafre.ac.uk/TDFs 

At the moment CAFRE is taking group bookings only by emailing kt.admin@daera-ni.gov.uk

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the European Union fund the Business Development Groups Scheme and the establishment of Technology Demonstration Farms across Northern Ireland under the Innovation Technology Evaluation Demonstration (ITED) Scheme, as part of the Rural Development Programme.

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