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Teagasc Crops Forum Mapping the Future for Tillage Farming in Ireland

The Teagasc Crops Forum discussed the latest agronomy issues facing farmers and also how to shape the future of the tillage industry. It took place as a hybrid event, in the Killashee Hotel, Naas, County Kildare and also as a live webinar.

Teagasc Crops Forum Mapping the Future for Tillage Farming in Ireland
Pictured at the Teagasc Crops Forum 2023, which took place on the 8th September in the Killashee Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare and as a live webinar are (L to R): Andy Doyle, session chair; Darren Allen, Signpost Tillage Programme Participant; John Spink and Gary Lanigan, Teagasc; Professor Frank O’Meara, Director of Teagasc; Michael Hennessy and Ewen Mullins, Teagasc; Andrew Owen-Griffiths, EU DG Health and Food Safety Division; Cara MacAodhain, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM); John Mahon and Shay Phelan, Teagasc.


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’s Crop Policy, Evaluation and Certification Division said; “2023 was an extremely challenging year for growing crops due to adverse weather. However, this year has provided invaluable information on the performance of varieties in such challenging conditions. These results are built onto the DAFM Recommended Lists which gives added confidence to growers to grow these varieties.”

Andrew Owen Griffiths from the EU DG Health and Food Safety division updated the crops forum on the current use and target reductions in pesticide which the EU is seeking to implement.  Andrew Owen Griffiths said; “The ambition of EU policy is clear.  Pesticide reductions will be a central area for action but there are a number of supports to help farmers and the industry in this transition, including funding for research, organic farming and developments using New Genomic Techniques.”

Shay Phelan, a Tillage Specialist in Teagasc, built on the theme outlined by Andrew Owen-Griffiths on how to deploy Integrated Pest Management on farms through key areas such as better variety agronomic traits, monitoring pests, using available tools, etc., with pesticides used as the final control measure.  Shay Phelan said; ”IPM will play a more important role in the future as we face into reduced availability of pesticides and increasing resistant issues.”

“Tillage farmers have a role in actions to address climate change,” according to Dr Gary Lanigan Teagasc Climate Researcher who spoke at the Forum.  Dr Lanigan said; “Even though the CO2 emissions from the tillage industry are much smaller than other industries, there are measures such as cover crops and straw incorporation, which all tillage farmers can put in place to reduce their farms emissions further”.  

John Mahon, Tillage Signpost Advisor in Teagasc, described the Teagasc Tillage Signpost Programme and how it is working with a network of farms.  Darren Allen a farmer from Cork, is participating in the Signpost Programme, stepped through the actions which he is undertaking on his farm to reduce CO2 emissions and improve the environment.

The final session of the Crops Forum addressed the future of the tillage sector with a panel discussion of key stakeholders across the industry.  Andy Doyle chaired a robust discussion and summed up the discussion by saying,  “There is a bright future for the Tillage sector, but everyone in the industry from the policy makers, industry and farmers need to work hard to ensure any proposal made by the Food Vision Tillage Group are enacted as quickly as possible.”     

A full recording of the webinar is available on https://www.teagasc.ie/crops/crops/events/#forum23