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Crops and Sprayers Open Day in Oak Park

Irish growers produce some of the highest crop yields in the world but given our climate, significant inputs are required. This requires the tailoring of fertiliser inputs to soils and crop needs. In addition each year farmers invest €80 million in crop protection products for weed, pest and disease control on their farms.

A major crops and sprayers open day in Teagasc Oak Park, Carlow is taking place today, Wednesday, 24 June focussed on assisting farmers in choosing and applying these products most effectively. The event is organised in association with the Irish Farmers Journal.

Head of Crops Research in Teagasc, John Spink, said: “Getting the best return on this investment is down to three things – timing, product choice and getting the application right. We are highlighting the importance of all three at today’s event. Our research continues to monitor the efficacy of available products, and identify the key timings for inputs. Live demonstrations on getting the best from your sprayer and getting it ready for the sprayer test are taking place throughout the day."

The environment exhibit is covering three aspects – ‘Greening’ which was introduced as part of CAP reform, ‘GLAS’ which is the new agri environment scheme and ‘Biodiversity’ which is important for all farms, but especially for farmers in Ecological Focus Areas. The latest and most up to date information is available.

There is renewed interest in alternative crops to improve rotation on farms, particularly since the introduction of the ‘three crop rule’. This year has seen the area of field beans and peas sown almost doubling. John Spink said: “Part of the research programme in Oak Park is focussed on alternative crops, so the latest research information and advice on beans, oats, oilseed rape and beet is available today. The area of pulses grown this year has increased to 9,000 hectares, providing important crop rotation on farms.“

There is a major focus on farm safety at this year’s event given the number of farm fatalities on Irish farms last year. Teagasc farm safety specialists are joined by the ESB to highlight the risks.

As part of the Teagasc soil fertility campaign, information on fertiliser strategies for replacing nutrient off takes from high yielding crops and maintaining the future productivity of tillage soils is available. The open day is attracting visitors from all over Ireland with some also travelling from England to attend.