Teagasc National Crops Forum
The Crops Forum was held on Thursday, 8 September, as a hybrid event, in the Killashee Hotel, Naas, county Kildare, and also as a live online webinar, to discuss the latest agronomy issues facing farmers, but also the increased risks for farmers in 2023.
The crops forum also launched a number of new initiatives to help farmers in the future.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) presented data on cereal varieties which are available to farmers this year. Cara Mac Aodháin from the DAFM cereal testing division said; “A considerable effort is made each year to rigorously test varieties to ensure they are of the highest standards to help with disease control and other agronomic traits with all of these traits helping to keep pesticide inputs to a minimum.”
Off the back of an excellent harvest in 2022, Michael Hennessy, Head of Crops Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc outlined to the forum the necessary steps to take this autumn to ensure high yields. Michael Hennessy said; “Planting early increases risks of Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) and take-all disease, but may not result in higher yields.”
Shay Phelan, a Tillage Specialist in Teagasc launched the Machinery Sharing Template at the Crops Forum. Shay Phelan said; “This template builds on the existing suite of Teagasc farm collaboration agreements and form the basis for an agreement for a number of farmers to jointly purchase machinery, or perhaps put some shape onto existing agreements which are already on farm”. Given the price increase of machinery over the past year the option of machinery sharing is now more attractive especially for machinery not used every day such as subsoiler, muck spreaders, slurry spreaders, etc.
Teagasc and Farmplan launched a three year partnership to encourage tillage farmers to digitally record their farm records with a cloud based software programme called Gatekeeper Express +. The partnership will give Teagasc clients a substantial discount during the first few years of use so that farmers can try out the software to see if it suits their farms’ needs. Tillage farmers should contact their Teagasc Advisor for further details.
The forum also covered the changes farmers can expect from the new CAP scheme this year. The forum was given an outline from Ciaran Hickey and Conor O’Callaghan, both Teagasc Advisors, around how both the CAP and new ACRES environmental scheme works out financially on farm for growers. Conor O’Callaghan said; “One of my clients who has high entitlements will be substantially worse off in 2027 compared to the payments expected in 2022”. Ciaran Hickey who completed an analysis of the ACRES scheme for tillage growers said; “The ACRES scheme has similar options to the pervious GLAS scheme, but tillage farmers will probably need to have a proportion of spring crops to maximise payments.”
During the last session, a panel of farmers, industry, Department of Agriculture and Teagasc staff discussed the risks of growing crops for the coming season. This section fielded questions from the audience in the room and also on the streamed webinar which covered areas such as fertiliser costs and availability, overall costs of production, likely direction of the grain markets, etc.
A full recording of the webinar will be available on the Teagasc website at www.teagasc.ie/publications