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Teagasc National Tillage Conference to focus on Minimizing Risk and Promoting Sustainability

This year’s Teagasc National Tillage Conference is set against a background of the challenging 2019 Autumn, which led to a reduction of up to 50% in winter crop plantings. Meanwhile, the sector continues to face significant risks posed by the loss of important chemistries for pest, disease and weed control and the need to ensure sustainable practises.

‘Minimizing risk, promoting sustainability’ is the theme of the Teagasc conference which will take place on Wednesday, 29th January at the Lyrath Convention Centre, Kilkenny.

Yet, the tillage industry has real potential to assist the agricultural sector in meeting its climate change obligations. In contrast to livestock systems, tillage enterprises emit the lowest average Greenhouse Gasses (GHG) and Ammonia levels, and are the most efficient in regards to Nitrogen (>60%) and Phosphorous (>80%) use.

Minimizing risk, promoting sustainability’ is the theme of the Teagasc conference which will take place on Wednesday, 29th January at the Lyrath Convention Centre, Kilkenny. It’s focussed on delivering answers to many of the decisions stakeholders need to make in advance of the 2020 crop season.

Speaking in advance of the National Tillage Conference, Head of the Crops Science Department in Teagasc, Dr Ewen Mullins said that the topics covered this year relate to some of the key issues facing growers such as costs and returns looking ahead to spring planting, beans agronomy, managing insecticide resistance in aphids, the emergence of grassweeds and cereal diseases with the loss of chlorothalonil.

With a focus on carbon, soils and GHG, insight into the overall environmental sustainability of the sector will be presented, as will the impact of cultivation method in oilseed rape on sustainability factors.

The role of cover crops will be objectively discussed against the demands of future environmental sustainability goals, with Dr. Nanna Kristensen (SEGES, Denmark) detailing the experience of cover crops in Denmark, where cultivation has been mandatory since the 1990s, and Dr. Richie Hackett will report his experience with them in Ireland.

There will also be a session of research snapshots covering a brief detail of outputs from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine funded VICCI project, the role of ‘speed breeding’ and genetics in cereal breeding as well as developing solutions for managing grassweeds.

Across two panel discussions, the challenges of achieving greater sustainability on the farm will be tackled, as will the primary opportunities and challenges ahead. Farmers attending the conference will have the opportunity to learn about on-going tillage projects that Teagasc has underway with both its national and international partners. Over 20 posters on the research projects will be accessible throughout the day to provide updates for growers and those working in the industry.

The full conference programme is available at www.teagasc.ie/tillagecon20