The Food Fortress scheme developed with the Queen’s University Institute for Global Food Security gives NIGTA a world leading position in the field of feed assurance.

Based on an extensive risk analysis of all potential contaminants the scheme involves an industry wide strategic sampling and testing program covering imported materials and finished feeds.

FOOD FORTRESS MEMBERS

A Hyde Farm Feeds 10 Crookedstone Road, CRUMLIN, Co Antrim, BT29 4EH

A.N. Irwin & Sons 11 Carrowoleman Road, Eglish, DUNGANNON, Co Tyrone, BT70 1LF

A One Feeds North Hill, Dimsforth, Thirsk, N. Yorkshire

Alexander Scott & Son Ltd  2 – 4 Main Street, Maghera, Co Londonderry, BT46 5AD

Ardaragh Livestock Feeds 17 Ardarragh Road, NEWRY, Co Down, BT34 1NY

Aurivo Animal Feeds Dublin Road, Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon

Avoca Milling Ballydonnell, Avoca, Co Wicklow

A W Ennis Maghera, Virginia, Co Cavan

Ballinaskeagh Grains 14 Glaskerbeg Road, BANBRIDGE, Co Down, BT32 5BX

Boyd Feeds 44 Station Road CLOGHER Co Tyrone, BT76 0AQ

Capper Trading 124 Tamnamore Road, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, BT71 6HW

Carland Mill 6 Lisnagowan Road, DUNGANNON, Co Tyrone, BT70 3LH

Carton Group Manor Farm, Shinan SHERCOCK, Co Cavan

Chestnut Animal Feeds 55 Main Street, Stranocum, BALLYMONEY, Co Antrim, BT53 8PH

Clonleigh Co-op Society Castlefin, Lifford, Co Donegal

Connolly’s Red Mills Goresbridge, Co Kilkenny

Connon General Merchants 29 Liminary Road, BALLYMENA, Co Antrim, BT42 3HL

Corby Rock Mill Ballybay Road MONAGHAN, Co Monaghan

Cyril Watters 23a Tullybleety Road, Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone, BT69 6HG

Devenish Nutrition Ltd 19 Clarendon Road, BELFAST, Co Antrim, BT1 3BG

Dooley Agricultural Ltd Enniskeen,Dundalk, Co Louth

Drummonds Ltd Alexander Reid, Navan, Co Meath

Duncan Agri Supplies 142 Galbally Road, Trillick, Co Tyrone, BT78 3PD

East Down Farmers 20 Tullynaskeagh Road, DOWNPATRICK, Co Down, BT30 7EU

Ergana Corn Mill 143 Edanbane Road, Kilrea, Co Londonderry, BT51 5XF

Fane Valley Feeds Bankmore Way, OMAGH, Co Tyrone, BT79 0NW

ForFarmers UK (Organic) Penrith Industrial Estate, Penrith, CUMBRIA, CA11 9EH

Frazers Animal Feeds 30 Cavehill Road, Banbridge, Co Down BT32 5DS

F S Heron 4 Backaderry Road, BALLYWARD, Co Down, BT31 9SL

Gortavoy Feeds and Farm Supplies Ltd 73 Shanmaghery Road, Pomeroy, DUNGANNON, Co Tyrone, BT70 2TT

Greenvale Animal Feeds Ballysimon Road, LIMERICK

Harbro Limited Markethill, Turriff, ABERDEENSHIRE, AB53 4PA

Hi Peak Feeds Sheffield Road, Ashbourne, Derbyshire

Inisleigh Co-op Rooskey, Newtowncunningham, Co Donegal

James Glover & Sons Ltd 74 Drumaghlis Road, CROSSGAR, Co Down, BT30 9JS

J Grennan & Sons Rath, Birr, Co Offally

John Bell 62 Carryhugh Road, Keady, Co Armagh, BT60 3LG

John Thompson & Sons Ltd 35-39 York Road, BELFAST, Co Antrim, BT15 3GW

Joseph Walls Ltd 26 Sandbank Road, HILLTOWN, Newry , Co Down, BT35 5XU

Kiernan Milling Granard, Co Longford

Kilcross Feeds 6 Kilcross Road, CRUMLIN, Co Antrim

Lakeland Dairies Tullynahinera, Castleblaney, Co Monaghan

Liffey Mills Bunnow, ROSCREA, Co Tipperary

L W Surphlis & Son 31 Drumlegagh Post Office, NEWTOWNSTEWART, Co Tyrone, BT78 4HF

M Beattie & Son Ltd 70 Plumbridge Road, Newtownstewart, OMAGH, Co Tyrone, BT78 4DP

Mackin Animal Feeds 108 Dublin Road, NEWRY, Co Down, BT35 8QP

Manola Farm Supplies Ltd 30 Dirraw Road BALLYMONEY, Co Antrim, BT53 7LB

Masons Animal Feeds Ltd 122 Marlocoo Road, PORTADOWN, Co Armagh, BT62 3TB

McGuckian Milling Company 29 Drumbare, Cloughmills, BALLYMENA, Co Antrim, BT44 9LA

Moores Animal Feeds 116 Carnalbanagh Road, BROUGHSHANE, Co Antrim, BT42 4NT

Moy Park Feed Mill 126 Moneynick Road, RANDALSTOWN, Co Antrim, BT41 3HU

Moy Park Ashbourne Blenheim Road, Ashbourne, Derbyshire

Moy Park Billingham West Street, Billingham, Lincoln

North Antrim Country Stores 152 Moycraig Road Mosside, BALLYMONEY, Co Antrim, BT53 8QZ

North Armagh Feeds 8 Sturgeons Hill, PORTADOWN, Co Armagh, BT62 4HQ

Paul & Vincent (David Patton Feeds) Longford Road, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford

P & M McKenna Agri Supplies 5 Legamaghery Road, Fintona, OMAGH, Co Tyrone, BT78 2HA

P Mc Sorley & Son 17 Shanaghney Road, Castlederg, Co Tyrone BT81 7HB

R. A. McClung 5 Station Road, Brookeborough, Co Fermanagh, BT94 4GN

R  & J Lyness Ltd 25 Tullyard Road, MOIRA, Co Down, BT67 0PU

R J Rutledge 97 Drumquin Road, CASTLEDERG, Co Tyrone, BT81 7RB

Richhill Feeds 51 Ballygroobany Road, Richhill, Co Armagh, BT61 9NA

Robert Clarke (Keady) Ltd Darkley Mills, 105 Darkley Road, KEADY, Co Armagh, BT60 3AY

Robin Rainey and Sons Barney's Brae, 147 Portglenone Road, RANDALSTOWN, Co Antrim, BT41 3EN

Reid Feeds 1 Laurel Road, Ballynahinch, Co Down, BT24 8TP

S McConnell and Sons 184 Carrigenagh Road, KILKEEL, Co Down, BT34 4QA

S.H. Coleman (Glarryford) Ltd 160 Dunminning Road, Glarryford, BALLYMENA, Co Antrim, BT449ET

Smyths Daleside Feeds Ballinadrait, Lifford, Co Donegal

South Down Feeds M5 Banbridge Road, Rathfriland, Co Down, BT34 5PE

Strabane Mills 3 Art Road, ARTIGARVAN, Co Tyrone, BT82 0HA

T.J. Booth Collumbrone Mills, Lisdoart, BALLYGAWLEY, Co Tyrone, BT70 2LZ

Taggart Jack 1 Carnkenny Road, Ardstraw, OMAGH, Co Tyrone

Taylors (Fyfin) Ltd 27 Killen Road, Fyfin, STRABANE, Co Tyrone

Thomas Hutchinson & Sons Ltd 4 Ballykillen Road, COOKSTOWN, Co Tyrone, BT80 0AL

Tullyherron Farm Feeds Ltd 38 Tullyherron Road, MOUNTNORRIS, Co Armagh, BT60 2UF

United Feeds Ltd 8 Northern Road, BELFAST, Co Antrim, BT3 9AL

W & H Miller 121 Desertmartin Road, Moneymore, Co Londonderry BT45 7RL

Wm Irwin & Son 167 Drumsurn Rd, Limavady, Co Londonderry, BT49OPE


 Please Click Food Fortress Results link below for a  summary of results is available for all participants to view on this website.

FOOD FORTRESS RESULTS

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Further developments to Northern Ireland’s unique quality control system for the animal feed industry were unveiled at a meeting in Armagh this week.

The Food Fortress network is made up of feed producers and importers contributing to a program of sampling and testing to protect the food chain from contamination and currently covers close to 5 million tonnes of compound feed production.

Simon Haughey, Queen's University Belfast; Robin Irvine, Food Fortress and Linda Jamison, Invest NI at the Food Fortress Members Meeting in Armagh. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Simon Haughey, Queen's University Belfast; Robin Irvine, Food Fortress and Linda Jamison, Invest NI at the Food Fortress Members Meeting in Armagh. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Welcoming the members, Food Fortress director, Robin Irvine reported that membership now exceeded 80 companies – located from North Antrim to Tipperary and Kilkenny and covering all compound feed produced in Northern Ireland plus around 50% of production in the South and a substantial tonnage in mainland UK.

Members heard of the newly formed company structure and the appointment of a management steering group to direct the company’s development and direction. The role of InvestNI in giving financial help with the set up and administration of the network was outlined and Linda Jameson from InvestNI was welcomed to the meeting.

Visitors to the Food Fortress Members Meeting in Armagh included from left: Alison Wray, Capper Trading; Andrew Hyde, Hyde Feeds; Sandra Bell, John Bell and Ann Cromie, South Down Feeds. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Visitors to the Food Fortress Members Meeting in Armagh included from left: Alison Wray, Capper Trading; Andrew Hyde, Hyde Feeds; Sandra Bell, John Bell and Ann Cromie, South Down Feeds. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

The partnership with The Institute of Global Food Security at Queens University is a vital element of the program and Dr Simon Haughey from QUB outlined the research and extensive risk analysis which had gone into identifying the principle contaminants and setting up an effective strategy to safeguard Northern Irelands vitally important agri-food industry.

Dr Haughey reported on his review of the 2015/16 program which achieved an improvement in terms of samples submitted on time to 97%. He stressed the importance of prompt submission of samples to ensure a rapid return of results and early identification of any threats to the food chain.

Alison Lowhan, John Thompson and Sons; Mary Preston, Moy Park and Amanda Keys, Devenish Nutrition, at the Food Fortress Members Meeting in Armagh. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Alison Lowhan, John Thompson and Sons; Mary Preston, Moy Park and Amanda Keys, Devenish Nutrition, at the Food Fortress Members Meeting in Armagh. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

He reported on the set up of a pilot program for imported raw materials and this has now been established as a key element of the Food Fortress. Importing businesses submit their testing results to the scheme and these are collated and reported to member company’s through the members website. Locally grown cereals are also covered by the Native Grain scheme which was trialled very successfully on the 2016 harvest.

“The key the success of this project is collaboration” says Robin Irvine. “By working together, following a strategic sampling plan, and sharing the results our members are getting massively more value for the money they spend on contaminant testing. Our results are also shared with DAERA and the Food Standards Agency and a new “Earned Recognition” agreement is being developed whereby regulators build the industry supplied data into their risk assessments and this is reflected in their approach to policing the feed sector. We are developing much more effective relationships and it is no exaggeration to say that we have the safest supply chain in the world because of this cooperation” says Robin.

The animal feed trade has united behind a scheme which is delivering major improvements to the security of Northern Ireland's most important industry.  The food chain is a safer place as a result of the Food Fortress program now in operation with all the main feed manufacturers in the province. 

According to Robin Irvine who manages the program on behalf of the feed trade “There are now 47 feed producing companies participating in the scheme and we have the most comprehensive program of animal feed monitoring anywhere in the world” 

Professor Chris Elliott, right, from Queens University is delighted to launch the new branding for Food Fortress as 47 companies representing 99.9% of the animal feed trade in Northern Ireland are now participating in the scheme. Also included is Robin Irvine,  who is managing the scheme on behalf of the trade. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Professor Chris Elliott, right, from Queens University is delighted to launch the new branding for Food Fortress as 47 companies representing 99.9% of the animal feed trade in Northern Ireland are now participating in the scheme. Also included is Robin Irvine, who is managing the scheme on behalf of the trade. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Introducing the new logo and brand imagery Robin said “The Food Fortress is now established as the badge of safer feed and our challenge to the businesses further along the food chain is to recognize and promote the fact that livestock produced through our quality schemes here in Northern Ireland has added value in terms of its provenance. This is a scheme which differentiates our product and gives us an advantage over our competitors.

Professor Chris Elliott, left, from Queens University is delighted to launch the new branding for Food Fortress as 47 companies representing 99.9% of the animal feed trade in Northern Ireland are now participating in the scheme. Also included is Robin Irvine,  who is managing the scheme on behalf of the trade. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Professor Chris Elliott, left, Queens University and Robin Irvine, NIGTA who is managing the scheme on behalf of the trade with the new Food Fortress logo. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

The program was established as a partnership between Queens University, Belfast and the Northern Ireland Gain Trade Association and has been supported by Invest NI through its Collaborative Network program.                   

 “Queens, through the Institute of Global Food Security brought the most up to date technology to our program and helped us develop a practical solution to the challenge of managing the risks in feed production.  – But it is the support from local feed businesses which is the key to success. They were quick to appreciate that a cooperative approach to testing and sharing results would give a vastly greater level of assurance than could be achieved by any individual company. The fact that 99.9% of commercial feed production is covered by our strategic program of sampling and analysing for the main contaminants means that we have an accurate monthly picture across the province and across the range of feeds produced.”

The success of the program has been recognised by DARD who are responsible for enforcing the EU feed regulations in the province and by both the Farm Quality Assurance Scheme for Beef & Lamb and the broiler chicken sector who have adopted the scheme as a requirement of their feed supply .

Food Fortress Members

A Hyde Farm Feeds

Crumlin

A. N. Irwin & Sons

Eglish

Ardaragh Livestock Feeds

Newry

Ballinaskeagh Grains Ltd

Banbridge

Boyd Feeds

Clogher

Capper T rading

Dungannon

Carland Mill

Dungannon

Carton Group

Co Cavan

Chestnutt Animal Feeds

Ballymoney

Connon General Merchants

Ballymena

Corby Rock Mill

Co Monaghan

CR Supplies

Larne

Cyril Watters

Aughnacloy

Devenish Nutrition Ltd

Belfast

Ergana Corn Mill

Kilrea

Fane Valley

Omagh/Newry

FS Herron Ltd

Castlewellan

G. E. McLarnon & Sons

Randalstown

Gortavoy Feeds & Farm Supplies Ltd

Pomeroy

James Glover & Sons Ltd

Crossgar

John Bell

Keady

John Thompson & Sons Ltd

Belfast

Joseph Walls Ltd

Hilltown

Kilcross Feeds

Crumlin

L. W. Surphlis & Son Ltd

Newtownstewart

M Beattie & Son Ltd

Newtownstewart

Mackin Animal Feeds

Newry

Manola Farm Supplies Ltd

Ballymoney

Masons Animal Feed Ltd

Portadown

McGuckian Milling Company

Cloughmills

Moores Animal Feeds

Broughshane

North Antrim Country Stores

Ballymoney

North Armagh Feeds

Portadown

R & J Lyness Ltd

Moira

Robert Clarke (Keady) Ltd

Keady

Robin Rainey & Sons Ltd

Randalstown

S McConnell & Sons

Kilkeel

S.H. Coleman Ltd

Glarryford

South Down Feeds) Ltd

Rathfriland

Strabane Mills Ltd

Artigarvan

T. J. Booth

Ballygawley

Taggart Jack

Ardstraw

Taylors (Fyfin) Ltd

Strabane

Thomas Hutchinson & Sons Ltd

Coagh

Tullyherron Farm Feeds Ltd

Mountnorris

United Feeds Ltd

Belfast/Dungannon

R J Rutledge General Merchants

Castlederg

The outcome for the pilot scheme has exceeded our best hopes – it has proven that the science underpinning the scheme is robust in practice and it has given a clean bill of health to our industry, with all results well within the safety margins which had been set.

In the six months of the pilot, covering an estimated production of 1.2m tonnes of feed, the 18 participant mills provided -

200  samples for Heavy Metals  

32 samples for Dioxins and Dioxin like PCBs 

128 samples for Mycotoxin, including 32 samples for Alfatoxin 

2 mills per month screened  for 13 key pesticides

All mills were  tested at least quarterly - some monthly depending on production

This represents a massive increase in the number of samples tested - delivering between 5 and 10 times the level of surveillance previously carried out by the industry.

 All of the samples tested in the trial were well below both the internal investigatory limits, and the much higher legal limits.  Indeed, in many cases the contaminants were undetected, but as is the practice in such instances, we assume a result equal to the lowest limit of detection. The actual results in are set out in the attached appendices.

The report has been reviewed by Institute for Global Food Security at Queen's University.  

 “The results are extremely encouraging and it is without doubt to the credit of the industry that it is now operational and delivering a greatly enhanced level of quality assurance across the supply chain. The scheme is an exemplar of what can be achieved by an industry working together and can only be viewed as a positive in terms of differentiating NI food produce from the rest of the world. The full scale implementation of the Food Fortress scheme for feed materials is highly recommended and will be fully supported by the Institute” - Professor Chris Elliott.

The hoped for improvements in the global dairy markets seem to be far in the future and dairy farmers are coming to terms with the prospect of low prices for many months to come.

The scale of the collapse in dairy markets and the duration of the problem is putting many farm businesses under severe pressure and causing difficult questions to be asked about their future in milk production.

There is no quick fix in prospect and with winter bonuses discontinued, prices are continuing to fall. Current milk prices are well below the cost of production on most farms and the focus must be on reducing that unit cost of production to ensure the survival of the business until a better demand – supply balance is established and dairy product prices improve.

The vast majority of the provinces dairy farms are efficient and well managed but even on the best units a close analysis of performance and benchmarking of results can highlight opportunities to further improve the efficiencies and drive down costs.

The productivity from grassland has been highlighted as an area which has been neglected on many farms in recent years. It has been calculated that the average yield of grass from the provinces livestock farms is less than 6 tonnes of dry matter per hectare but the best practitioners can produce 12 tonnes per hectare.  For most farmers a 20% increase in grass production would be an achievable target and could bring significant savings on feed and conacre costs 

This could be achieved through a focus on soil fertility and precise use of farm manures and chemical fertilisers.                    Soil testing  is the first step – an analysis of a cross section of the soils on the farm should be carried out immediately and before any slurry is applied. This will allow the needs of the soil to be identified and a fertiliser program can be produced to supply precisely the nutrients which are required. The correct Ph is the first priority and a dressing of lime may be needed to ensure the efficient utilisation of the fertilisers applied. Fertiliser is one of the best investments a farmer can make and most soils will benefit from the use of more Nitrogen, Potash and Sulphur as the key nutrients required to ensure good grass growth.   By directing farm manures to the areas where they can produce the best response, and by using chemical fertilisers to drive grass growth, better yields can be produced from grazed grass and silage.

The utilisation of this grass and silage and the rationing of forage in the cow’s diet needs to be precisely balanced to ensure that the cows health and productivity is maintained. Quality forage is the lowest cost feed that can be used and as part of a properly formulated feed program can help produce a more sustainable farm business.