Over 70 delegates consisting of farmers, scientists and advisors from 14 countries across Europe visited Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on a three-day cross-border study tour.

The visit came as part of the Horizon 2020 Resilience for Dairy (R4D) project jointly hosted by Teagasc and AgriSearch.

The overall objective of the project is to develop and strengthen a sustainable EU network, designed to stimulate and facilitate knowledge exchange between farmers across the EU to improve the resilience and robustness of dairy farms.

Visits such as this are at the centre of efforts to widely disseminate relevant and ready-to-use best-practices and innovations.

On the first day of the meeting the group visited Northern Ireland, where they started with a visit to the farm of Ian McClelland where the focus was on innovations arising from his involvement in various research projects.

Of particular interest to the group was his work with the ARCZero and Anthelmintic Targeted Selective Treatment European Innovation Partnership projects, highlighting how farmer-led small scale studies can have a big impact on farm.

The farmer members of the group then visited the farm of Brian McCracken, where the importance of grass measuring and monitoring was highlighted as well as efforts to incorporate clover within the grazing swards.

To finish the day the group took a tour of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Hillsborough site to hear about the latest research into robotic milking, virtual fencing and multi-species swards.

This was followed by a BBQ dinner before delegates headed back to Dublin ready for the remainder of their visit.