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On Friday the 23rd of February there will be a day of farm tours giving visitors the chance to view three exceptional farms across the county. Each year we aim to view a range of farms and systems representing the vast variety within our industry and showcasing innovation and progression.

The first host opening his doors for the NI NBA Beef Expo farm tours is Jonathon Price of Mourneview Farm, Glenavy.

Jonathan Price knows that figures must add up in order to continue farming, a passion he has always had. Jonathan took over his family farm 10 years ago as a third generation farmer. Working alongside his brother, they employ seasonal workers when required.

Jonathan has established a purpose built yard for his beef finishing enterprise, allowing him to finish over 400 cattle per year. Sheds were designed for increased cleanliness, ease of manual labour and enhanced health prospects of all stock. Rubber slats are used throughout the farm as they have increased the lying time of all the livestock and thus increased DLWG significantly whilst reducing incidences of lameness and injury. Straw pens are used for cattle arriving on farm in order to allow them to integrate in to the environment smoothly – this ultimately lowers stress levels, reduces morbidity levels and allows DLWG to be optimised. Cattle are all vaccinated, dosed and clipped (back and tail) upon arrival to Mourneview Farm. Jonathan “buys quality for quality”, always hoping to buy the best on offer at local marts.

The second set of hosts are Gary Fitzpatrick and John Toland who farm at Moss Hill Farm, Aghalee, Armagh 

Gary and John developed a joint business in 2006 after realising a market opportunity which resulted from high conacre prices and a surge of bull calves from dairy farms onto the market. By ensuring health protocols were strictly followed and their bespoke nutritional programme was consistently implemented, calves were able to thrive, despite coming from varied sources.
Purpose built sheds were erected with optimal ventilation, lighting and feed space and coupled with quality barley straw and enhanced hygiene practices, allowing the health and vigour of all calves to be optimised all year round.

Dunbia were highly motivated by the top quality calves coming off Moss Hill Farm and had no hesitation in developing a long standing contract with Gary and John for quality Hereford calves which supply the Coop’s Irresistible range.
Gary, John and Dunbia work closely with grower-finisher farms in order to maximise the potential of these calves and bring in-spec, high quality cattle back onto the market. The calves are performance recorded throughout the supply chain and the results are fed back to create a streamlined approach.

The final host is Francis Lively at the AFBI Loughgall Beef Research Farm.

The Deerpark Farm at Loughgall is the winter accommodation for the AFBI research suckler herd. The herd consists of 100 cows, including Stabiliser and Limousin cross Holstein Friesian genotypes, which has been evaluated since the herd was established back in 2006. 

The herd has been bred using synchronisation and artificial insemination, with Stabiliser bulls sweeping after the second service. AFBI have been researching various synchronisation methods as a means of improving herd fertility. The role of sorted semen as a mechanism to breed maternal females for replacements or terminal males for finishing has been undertaken over the last few years.   The use of the female sorted semen on the herd has resulted in additional Stabiliser heifer calves being born relative to male calves which has increased the genetic merit of the breeding females coming into the herd in the future.  It has also enabled a greater proportion of cows to be bred to terminal sires.  The 2017 progeny which include maternally bred Stabiliser females and terminal bred Charolais males will be on display at the farm tour.

In addition to viewing the herd and facilities at AFBI visitors will have the opportunity to meet the researchers and hear the latest findings from a range of DAERA and AgriSearch funded projects

The farm tours will set off from Dungannon mart at 9am sharp and return at 5pm. Ticket prices include admission to the three tour farms, transport and lunch.

Gary Fitzpatrick and John Toland
Gary Fitzpatrick and John Toland
Jonathon Price
Jonathon Price
Francis Lively
Francis Lively


This year, the NI Beef Expo spectacular will include the NI Beef industry dinner, bringing together all those within the industry for an evening of networking and entertainment. The dinner will be held at Corick Country House Hotel on Friday the 23rd of February and will include a drinks reception, three course beef dinner, tea and coffee, and entertainment. For directions and accommodation please click here.  

Entertainment will include an after dinner speaker, David Martin who farms over 500 cattle as well as producing potatoes and grain with his brother in County Down, a Charity Auction on behalf of the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance and Dancing.

Donations of prizes for the charity auction are greatly appreciated, please email [email protected] if you would like to donate a prize.