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.

Thursday, 28 July 2016 16:20
As they prepare for the Royal Highland Show Rodney Magowan reports from the farm of James and Sam Martin.

AT the 1982 Royal Show an Ulster lad hardly into his teens was intrigued by   a small stand promoting the then virtually unknown Belgian Blue breed.
 At the 2016 Royal Ulster he won the prestigious Interbreed championship with stunning British Blue cow Springhill Golden Girl. The first Blue to take the Balmoral interbreed beef award thought certainly not the first time in the spotlight for Springhill stock.
 Reflecting on his family’s Balmoral success James Martin of Newtownards, Co Down recalled returning home from Stoneleigh 34 years ago determined to find out more about the Blues.
Springhill Golden Girl with Springhill Leo at foot making history at Balmoral 2016 with the very first Royal Ulster British Blue Inter Breed Champion. A proud moment for James and Sam Martin seen here with breed steward Conn Williamson, a former British Blue Cattle Society President and, right, judge Arwel Owen from Welshpool. Photograph by Catherine MacGregor.
  “Only in 1987 were we finally able to acquire foundation stock for our Springhill Herd, one of the two oldest British Blue herds in Northern Ireland. Interestingly our herd and that of the Morrison family likewise formed in the 1980s both produce white bulls.
 “Our first Blue was a heifer out of Belgium with further foundation stock coming from the Watford Park Herd in Northants,” added James, who now farms with 21 year old son Sam.
 Aside from their beef breeding enterprise centred on 25 British Blue cows the Martins have a 150 strong dairy herd milk of mainly Holsteins, though the family has long had an interest in Jerseys. 
 “My late Dad milked some Jerseys and more recently we were farmer co-researchers with AFBI, Hillsborough looking at the role of Jerseys in boosting milk value. 
 “So over the years our pedigree Blue breeding has been grounded in the realities of commercial milk and beef production. Indeed the bulls we produce are especially appreciated by dairy farmers seeking white bulls that add colour as well as shape and value to calves from Holstein cows.
 “The sheer docility of the breed is another huge bonus for suckler and dairy herd owners, The British Blue, pure or half bred, is a pleasure to behold and a pleasure to work with in an era of ever fewer helping hands on farms. Our priority is producing bulls that are mobile, willing and able to work siring small, fast growing calves easy on cows at calving time.”
 The 2016 Royal Ulster interbreed championship was won against a tremendous turnout of beef cattle at Balmoral not least in the Blue classes. 
 Explaining that this cow is a five year old homebred daughter of Gitan Du P’ Tit Mayeur out of Springhill Country Girl a delighted Sam Martin said that winning is never taken for granted despite the herd’s decades of success at shows and sales across the UK.
 Springhill Golden Girl was shown with her four month old bull calf at foot, Springhill Leo, a naturally conceived and naturally born son of Springhill Gladiator, one of three bulls from the Martin family currently at AI with Cogent.
 As we go to press Springhill Golden Girl is being prepared for the Royal Highland Show 20 years after the Martins won the 1996 Blue Championship at Edinburgh and came home with the RHS Gold Cup.
 That 1996 Royal Highland winner Springhill Lady is linked directly through four generations to the 2016 Royal Ulster interbreed champion Springhill Golden Girl. An example of how Springhill stock are consistently toppers in the show ring, at main breed sales and above all in putting quality calves on the ground for buyers.
 For Balmoral 2016 interbreed  judge Arwel Owen, a leading Charolais breeder of Welshpool, Powys his Royal Ulster champion Springhill Golden Girl was a “a testament to the British Blue breed, an animal that demonstrates just what the breed has achieved so far.”
  For Sam Martin ag college studies and excellent work placements, including at Borderway Mart, are behind him.  Having come home to join parents James and Sharon in the family business Sam shows tremendous commitment to helping them continue breeding the best of British Blues.
 With continued investment in leading bloodlines internationally and a proven track record of blending traditional husbandry skills with the latest technology the Martin family retain that essential thirst for continued success with Springhill stock.
Friday, 19 February 2016 11:46
UNLIKE many other tag suppliers Fane Valley Stores have arranged for BVD tissue samples from the tags they sell to be tested here in NI by AFBI Veterinary Sciences Division, Belfast.
 According to Pat Donnelly, Livestock ID Manager at Fane Valley Stores, “This not only supports our local services but gives a faster turnaround of what, we feel, are very accurate results as AFBI can carry out two tests, the PCR test and the antigen ELISA test.
 “This is a belt and braces approach to identifying Persistently infected(PI) cattle for prompt removal from your farm, a key part of any herd plan. “
With BVD tissue sampling a legal obligation from March 1 Fane Valley Stores staff have the training and experience to advise on tag choice and applicator operation. Portadown branch manager Clifford McCullagh, right, with colleagues William Martin and Alison Johnston is extra busy answering queries and demonstrating the three tag types approved for use in NI.
 “Fane Valley, as a local farmer owned business, fails to see the logic in posting tissue samples out of the country as this can cost more in postage as well as delaying getting results back to the farmer”.
Fane Valley have invested in the latest laser marking technology and with 13 stores across NI can turnaround tags with minimum delay thus ensuring their customers always have an ample supply of tags.
  For further advice on BVD tissue tags visit your local Fane Valley Store or telephone (028) 3839 4900. Our full range of store locations can be found at
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 16:22
ALL three types of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea tissue sampling ear tags approved for use in NI are available, promptly, from Fane Valley Stores.
 With the BVD eradication scheme compulsory from Tuesday, 1st March 2016 Fane Valley offers you the choice of Caisley, Alflex and Typifix tissue sampling ear tags.
 “No matter which tag type a customer chooses our experienced  staff can offer advice and training on their use and how samples are posted to AFBI testing laboratories, “explained Pat Donnelly, Livestock Identification Manager at Fane Valley Stores.
The BVD eradication scheme is compulsory from Tues, March 1 so Pat Donnelly, livestock identification manager Fane Valley Stores, is offering all three types of tissue sample tag approved for use in NI. Trained and experience Fane Valley Stores staff can advise on tag choice and use. A graduate of Seale Hayne University College, Devon, Pat was CAFRE Fermanagh dairy advisor for 10 years before moving to farmer owned businesses, most recently Fane Valley.
 “Testing to eradicate BVD is a major step forward in protecting herd health and livestock performance. BVD in your herd costs money due to lack of thrive, increased risk of pneumonia and mortality.
 “By taking tissue samples when tagging calves stock carrying this easily spread viral disease are identified and should be promptly removed from your herd. Remember, the longer an animal identified as Persistently Infected, a PI, remains in contact with other cattle the greater the risk of disease spreading and causing longterm loss of income.
 “No wonder almost 5,000 NI farmers joined the voluntary scheme to remove BVD from their herds.
 “For those starting compulsory testing Fane Valley Stores offer a unique level of service combined with choice of tag brand. Orders placed over the counter or by phone are promptly prepared using our in house tag printing technology
 “Time is money in farming and getting PI individuals identified and removed promptly from other cattle is vital. Thus all our tissue sampling is undertaken right here in NI using world class expertise at AFBI veterinary laboratories.
 “Farmer owned Fane Valley offers a complete package of BVD ear tags, applicators, training and lab envelopes. Taking the Fane Valley route to tagging and testing is a simple first step to becoming BVD free.”
For advice or orders tel; (028) 3839 4900
Farmer owned Fane Valley Co-op has stores in Ballycastle, Ballymena, Omagh, Augher, Comber, Portadown, Rathfriland, Markethill, Tandragee, Banbridge, Comber, Altnamackin, Armagh City. 
CIP Insurance bring LV Minibus to NI
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 16:17

A huge team effort by all at CIP insurance brokers in Crumlin has brought the annual LV, Liverpool Victoria, charity minibus award to Northern Ireland for the first time.

NI Cancer Fund for Children Chief Executive Gillian Creevy accepted the keys from Conn Williamson, CIP, at the Daisy Lodge and Narnia Lodge respite facility outside Newcastle.

Also included are, from left, Paul Williamson, CIP managing director, architect Michael McDowell, Noeleen McConville and Janine Flynn from CIP and Mike Crane, managing director LV insurance brokers division. 

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