A GROUP of fourteen commercial egg producers from Northern Ireland recently completed a two-day CAFRE Farm Innovation visit to England.

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 their ranges to enhance bird welfare and for the purpose of capturing ammonia emissions – a role that was studied at a practical level with a view for potential implementation on Northern Ireland's 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.

CAFRE's Farm Innovation Visits offer an opportunity for NI 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 NI’s farming industry. The trips are part of the NI Rural Development Programme and part funded by the EU.