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BETTER Farm Crops Open Day

The first of three Teagasc BETTER Farm Crops Open Days is talking place in Cork today, Thursday 17 June. Munster grain growers have the opportunity to visit the farm of John Crowley, Renny, Ballyhooley, County Cork, which is one three commercial farms involved the in Teagasc BETTER Farm Crops Programme which assists farmers to avail of cutting edge farm technology and business methods.

Speaking at the open day, Teagasc crops specialist Michael Hennessey said: "The Crowley farm of 384 hectares is now mostly focussed on winter cereals following the loss of the sugar beet enterprise. Over 200 hectares of winter wheat is grown achieving average yields of 10 tonnes per hectare over the last three seasons. The winter barley area of 120 hectares is substantial resulting in overall efficiency of labour. Winter barley yields have averaged over 8.6 tonnes from 2006 to 2008. Maintaining those yields in the current rotation will present a challenge in the years ahead. "

This farm is run extremely efficiently with machinery matched to requirements. Speaking at the open day, Teagasc crops researcher Dermot Forristal said: "machinery costs can account for up to 40 per cent of crop production costs when depreciation, interest, repairs, fuel and labour costs are considered. Machinery costs on the BETTER farms have been analysed using the Teagasc machinery costs programme. Initial analysis of the Crowley farm suggests low machinery costs with sufficient capacity to ensure good timeliness is achieved in all operations. The costing programme can help identify areas where machinery costs can be reduced."

Two further Teagasc BETTER Farm Crops Open Days will take place on the farm of George and Ken Willliamson, Ambrosetown, Duncormick, County Wexford on Tuesday, 6 July and on the farm of Joe O'Donoghue, Glassmerry House, Herbertstown, Stamullen, County Meath on Thursday 8 July.

Trials in weed control, fungicides, nitrogen, potatsh, trace elements and Department of Agriculture variety trials are taking place on the three BETTER farms and are on display today, as well as stands on fertilizer planning, farm finances/machinery, spraying technology, health & safety, and the storage and trading of grain and energy crops.