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Events: my take-home message

Teagasc’s researchers attend many events throughout the year, sharing the findings from their research with national and international audiences. Here, we capture the take-home messages – key pieces of information that our researchers want people to remember – from recent events.

Soil biodiversity

TResearch Summer 2023

Kerry Ryan and Natalie Oram at the Farming for Soil Health field day

Event: 3rd Global Soil Biodiversity conference, Dublin, and associated ‘Farming for Soil Health’ field day, Johnstown Castle

Date: 13 to 16 March 2023

Co-hosted by University College Dublin and Teagasc, in association with the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative, this conference brought together the world’s leading experts in soil biodiversity science, with over 650 people in attendance from more than 120 countries. Fiona Brennan, Soil Microbiologist in Teagasc’s Environment, Soils and Land Use Department, Johnstown Castle, says: “There has been recent intensification of international efforts to safeguard soil health and increase understanding of the importance of soil biodiversity in addressing food security and climate regulation challenges. A key message from the conference was the need for the scientific community to work closely with policy makers to ensure policy is underpinned by soil biodiversity science.”

Associated with the conference was a field day held in Johnstown Castle, Wexford, called ‘Farming for Soil Health: Building resilient agricultural systems from the ground up’. Fiona says: “With more than 350 attendees the take home messages from the event were that good soil health is critical for productive and resilient agricultural systems, that farmers should take steps to safeguard and manage soil health, and that a range of tools are available to help farmers monitor and enhance their soil health.”

Find out more about the event here.

Global wheat improvement

TResearch Summer 2023

John Spink, Teresa Saavedra and Frank Ordon with Smita Sirohi, Joint Secretary (G-20), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare

Event: G20 Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists, Varanasi, India

Date: 17 to 19 April 2023

The presentation of the Wheat Initiative’s work given by John Spink, Head of the Teagasc Crops, Environment and Land Use Programme at the G20 intergovernmental forum set a major focus on the importance of cooperation and coordination in research to address the challenges threatening global food security.

John explains: “The Wheat Initiative provides an excellent example of the value of collaborative research. A key objective has been to enhance sustainable wheat production under increased climate stress, and access to the best and safest technologies in breeding, agronomy, plant nutrition and protection against pathogens and pests. These factors are essential and have to be implemented through a strong sciencebased framework.”

John outlined the programmes of the initiative, including the Alliance for Wheat Adaption to Heat and Drought (AHEAD) and the Wheat Initiative Crop Health Alliance (Watch-A), the 10+ Wheat Genomes Project, the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC), as well as the International Wheat Yield Partnership (IWYP).

The conclusion was that the Wheat Initiative is a vital organisation that coordinates wheat research worldwide. However, it is the only G20 crop improvement initiative (although crop improvement and crop diversity is critical to face the challenges posed by the climate crisis). The initiative supports three of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Zero Hunger, Responsible Consumption and Production, and Partnerships for the Goals.

Save the date

Moorepark23 – Securing A Sustainable Future

Date: 4 July 2023

Location: Moorepark, Co. Cork

The dairy industry has gone through a transformation since milk quota removal was first discussed at EU level. Since then, fat and protein output has increased by over 90% nationally within Ireland’s traditional grass-based systems. The changes have occurred against a backdrop of an economic crisis, a pandemic and a war in Europe.

Future development of the dairy industry will require a close alignment with EU and national policy objectives. The challenges of reducing carbon emissions, improving animal welfare, water and air quality and enhancing biodiversity outcomes, while generating financially-rewarding career opportunities, are most urgent. Moorepark23 will focus on all of these issues, identifying the technologies and pathways for the industry to go about addressing them.

Don’t miss out on Teagasc’s upcoming events! Visit our website to see what we have planned: www.teagasc.ie