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Significant dates for your diary

October 24th Nursery stock seminar, Ashtown Dublin 15 (donall.flanagan@teagasc.ie)



Fungal Symposium at Kew Gardens

On September 13th and 14th a symposium on the state of the world’s fungi took place in Kew Gardens, London, UK. The symposium was well attended by more than 260 candidates from 18 countries from all over the world. Teagasc was the only Irish institution represented there by Dr. Martin O’Donoghue who presented his work on mushroom genetics.

© Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew / Mark Winwood

Pilot work permit scheme

On May 14th, Heather Humphreys announced the new pilot work permit scheme to address labour shortages in the horticulture, meat processing and dairy sectors. It was aimed at making it easier for certain businesses in the agri-food sector to source workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). 500 work permits was granted to the horticulture sector. The Horticulture Industry Forum has been working on the labour issue for some time and it is a very welcome initiative. 

 A review group to report to the Minister by late June on overall employment permits system to ensure it remains fit for purpose in a changing environment.
Key criteria of the scheme include:

  • minimum remuneration threshold of €22,000 (hourly rate of €10.85 based on a 39 hour week)
  • specific obligations on the employers around the welfare and prospects of the foreign nationals employed.
  • access to suitable accommodation and training in areas such as language skills.
  • Permit fee €1,000 up to 24 months and €500 for six months or less.

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DEBI) have prepared a checklist to assist with applications which can be viewed on the link below:

The checklist requires employer and employee details, job description, pay details, payment details for permit, agent details (if using an agent to assist in the application process) and also a long list of other information required.

Applications can be made online at https://epos.djei.ie/EPOSOnlineportal#/app/welcome or manually by sending an email to EPforms@dbei.gov.ie .

Ramularia causing issues for Daffodil growers


A recent diagnosis at the Ashtown plant clinic has confirmed it's Ramularia season for Daffodil growers. On this occasion, the variety 'Standard Value' seems to be badly affected. Ramularia causes a disease commonly known as 'White mould'

White mould. Infects the leaves and stems of daffodils, resulting in foliar lesions, eventually causing leaf death.

Lesions are found on both sides of leaves, starting as small, sunken off-white streaks predominately near the leaf tips. Spots later progress to yellowish spots covered with white mould. Resting spores known as sclerotia are immersed in the leaf, dark brown in colour. The fungus survives in the dead plant material as sclerotia, which then germinate to produce fungal spores. White mould is also spread between plants during wet and windy conditions.


If present, the disease usually  develops just after the first leaf emergence (January). Cool, dry weather can reduce disease spread.

The most effective means of control of the disease is removal of the dead material as practicable. It has been suggested that daffodils are not replanted for a year as this is sufficient to kill off the remaining conidia and sclerotia. If this is not possible it is also suggested that replanting with more resistant cultivars can help to reduce the occurrence of the disease.

This species of Ramularia was originally described from northern Italy detected in England less than ten years later and since then has spread through Western Europe and, more recently, has been found in Eastern Europe. It appeared in an outbreak in the western USA in the early 1930s but does not appear to have spread further in North America apart from into the adjacent part of Canada. In the UK, it has been severe in the Channel Islands, Scilly Isles, Cornwall and Devon. It was reported as being common in Scotland in the late 1920s and 1930s but not so much after that although it was generally thought to be confined to Narcissus, although it was recorded on a specimen on Pancratium maritimum from Portugal.


 J.C. David, 2004. IMI Descriptions of Fungi No.1609, CABI Bioscience, Egham, Surrey.


Pesticide training and changes to phase 3 production

Pesticide Training

Pesticide refresher training was held in Mullingar park hotel for all mushroom growers in Ireland on June 5th. The event was open to both growers and industry stakeholders to provide an update on the safe use of chemicals in the mushroom industry. Speaking at the event was Colin Heaney from Monaghan Mushrooms and Donal Gernon (Teagasc).

The following areas were covered on the day:

  • Approved products – Labels, Application Rate, Timing and Application Method

·        Integrated Pest Management

·        SUD Registration as a Professional User

·        Audit Preparation and Paperwork

·        Residue Testing

  • Chemical Store Requirements



A package was given to the audience on the day with documents such as pesticide usage records, chemical inventory records, advisory letter on pesticide use and all presentation slides. I would like to thank all who attended the session and I think it’s an event that should be held annually as it’s such an important topic and an opportunity for growers to get an update on products or new rules and regulations.


    Technical Update – Vivando


The introduction of Vivando has been hugely successful in Ireland for the control Dactylium. Since the product has introduced into the Irish market there has been an issue raised by auditor regarding the dilution volume of water to be mixed with Vivando which is stated on the product label.. On the label the recommend spray water volume is 150ml/m², however this low water volume is an issue as most farms use watering trees or automatic watering systems that are designed to deliver litres of water per m² rather than very low volumes.


Converting to Phase III Production
Its expected the supply of Phase II compost in the Republic of Ireland  will cease in Autumn of 2018. This will have a ripple effects on the Irish mushroom industry with 16 phase II growers in the ROI to be impacted with growers in Northern Ireland also to be impacted. Some farms have the necessary equipment to make the transition over to phase III production however the majority of growers impacted are producing mushrooms on racking. It is a significant investment for any producer to convert their farm to Dutch shelving and it will may unfortunately see the closer of some mushroom units.

Contact donal.gernon@teagasc.ie for further information

Plant Health Initiative - Improving biosecurity

This was developed by Teagasc, Bord Bia, the Department of Agriculture and The Irish Hardy Nursery Stock Association (IHNSA). It sets out five actions growers can take to improve their response to plant health concerns. Growers can sign up to the scheme, using it to improve their biosecurity and to build customer confidence. See links below for some further information.

Xylella and Irish Plant Health Initiative

At the Teagasc Spring meeting The Irish Plant Health Initiative was launched to help protect and develop opportunities for the nursery stock sector.

Growers and industry stakeholders are asked to make a commitment to adopt the following actions and to undertake training: 

  1. Low-risk zones
    • Ensure you source your plant material carefully
    • Purchase plants grown in and supplied from zone/areas of low risk i.e. regions where notifiable threats have not been detected
    • Avoid demarcated areas for Xylella
  2. Suppliers
    • Discuss with suppliers plant health and biosecurity actions
    • Visit suppliers where feasible
    • Ensure plants are accompanied by a valid plant passport
  3. Inspect and isolate new stock
    • Ideally 100m+ from the production facility
    • Undertake training on symptom recognition
  4. Close cooperation
    • Regular and timely inspection of all species of concern from national plant health authority DAFM
    • Immediately alert DAFM of suspicious plants
  5. Training
    • Minimum of 1 specialised employee who will undertake training in the most recent developments in plant health delivered by a national body.

Contact Dónall Flanagan for more information and to register for training.

Pest and Disease

Plant disease information

Fusarium oxysporum lactucae

A meeting took place in Ashtown regarding this novel threat to Irish lettuce production. Outbreaks were recorded in Rush,Dublin in the last season. John Jonson of Enza Zaden resistant varieties are some years away from development. In the short term, soil sterilisation may be the best option using Basimid according to Alan Horgan. Eppo have produced a 'mini datasheet' on the pathogen if further information is required.

Keep an eye on the hort website  and the publication HORTICULTURECONNECTED for updates as to its status and treatment.

Veg advisor Stephen Alexander can also be contacted for information and advice.