A vet will be working alongside scientists and farmers on a suckler cow fertility study in Northern Ireland.

AgriSearch chairman James Campbell (left) with newly appointed field officer David Anderson, a vet from Ballymoney.

David Anderson has joined AgriSearch as a field officer to work alongside researchers at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute and a number of farmer co-researchers.

Their project is looking at improving the efficiency of suckler beef systems through novel breeding methods (synchronisation and sexed semen) and the use of high genetic merit sires.

AgriSearch was formed in 1997 to provide a mechanism through which beef, dairy and sheep farmers could have direct involvement in production-orientated research.

The suckler cow fertility study is co-funded by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland, with significant contributions from AgriSearch and industry partners Zoetis, Genus and AI Services.

Mr Anderson, who grew up on a suckler cow and beef finishing farm near Ballymoney, County Antrim, studied veterinary medicine at the University of Glasgow from 2008 to 2013. Since graduation he has worked as a farm vet in County Armagh.

He said: “In my new position with AgriSearch I hope to build on the skills I have acquired and am looking forward to all this has to offer.”

Welcoming Mr Anderson to his new role, AgriSearch chairman James Campbell said the “on-farm” research pioneered in Northern Ireland had attracted significant interest from several organisations, including the European Commission.

He said the involvement of industry partners was an innovative aspect of the project to help bring research into practice on farms.

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