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Teagasc at the National Ploughing Championships 2022

Science Working for You

We were delighted to meet you at Block 3, Row 17, Stand 282 where the full range of Teagasc research, advisory and education activities were represented. 

If you were unable to make it to this year's National Ploughing Championships, here is a look back on what took place at the stand over the course of the three days.

View images from the event here

Individual exhibits at the stand covered topics such as:

Promoting biodiversity and creating space for nature on your farm

Keith Fahy, Teagasc Advisor caught up with Catherine Keena, Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist at Ploughing 2022 who outlines how helping the environment alongside food production on farms is the theme on the Teagasc environment stand at the Ploughing Championships this year, and ACRES can help. Catherine gives an overview of ACRES, the new Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) which replaces GLAS and REAP. ACRES is a five year scheme and farmers can apply for either ACRES Co-operation Project (CP) or ACRES General depending on location.

Read more on farming with the environment through ACRES

The Signpost Programme

Keith Fahy, Teagasc Advisor caught up with Siobhan Kavanagh, Signpost Programme Communications and Engagement Specialist, Teagasc to get an insight as to what is being discussed at the Signpost stand at Ploughing 2022. The main messages at the stand are: 1 - reduce chemical nitrogen; 2 - replace CAN with protected urea; 3 - reuse - optimise the value of your slurry on your farm.

Read an article on how you can reduce fertiliser N use to reduce GHG emissions and save costs

Greenhouse Gases and Soil Carbon

Soil carbon sequestration is an important mechanism that removes carbon dioxide from the air and stores it in the soil. This improves a number of aspects of soil health. James Doran, Teagasc Advisor caught up with Karl Richards, Head of Environment Soils & Land Use Department, Teagasc at Ploughing 2022 to get an overview of carbon sequestration. Carbon sequestration is the process by where plants remove carbon dioxide from the air. They use it to grow and some of that carbon ends up in the soil being stored there as carbon sequestration.

Find out more about Soil Carbon sequestration here

The benefits of high quality grass management

Sean Doorley, Teagasc Advisor caught up with Brian McCarthy, Research Officer, Teagasc at Ploughing 2022 to get an insight into extending grazing into the autumn. Farmers need to go out and measure how much grass they have and then come up with a plan in terms of a budget as to how they are going to extend the rotation out towards the start or the middle of November. This might entail putting in a lot of supplement either in the form of concentrate or baled silage to try and extend the rotation. While autumn grass is important spring grass is even more important.

Find out more on Autumn grazing management

Legumes

Clover has an important role to play in reducing chemical fertiliser usage on grassland farms in Ireland. Sean Doorley, Teagasc advisor caught up with Mike Egan, Teagasc research officer at Ploughing 2022 to find out more about how incorporating white clover in a full reseed is the most reliable method of establishing white clover and provides the best opportunity for weed control.

Read more on white Clover and reducing chemical fertiliser usage

Forestry

James Doran, Teagasc Advisor caught up with John Casey, Forestry Specialist, Teagasc at Ploughing 2022 to find out more about what role forestry can play for farms at the moment. Forestry can deliver any number of things for farmers - climate, people, wood, rural development, all depends on the combination of trees and where you plant them.

Read more on the multiple benefits of trees on the farm

Anthelmintic Resistance

Anthelmintic Resistance is the ability of stomach worms to survive a dose that would normally kill them which develops naturally over time. Whether it takes four or forty years to develop depends on the mitigation steps which farmers take.  The demonstration will help sheep farmers to visualise and understand pasture contamination and how their actions can either increase or delay the speed at which anthelmintic resistance develops on their farms.

Read more on understanding pasture contamination and its implications for management

Managing Methane 

Sean Doorley, Teagasc Advisor caught up with Joe Patton, Head of Dairy KT, Teagasc at Ploughing 2022 to get an insight genetics and methane. The GreenFeed machine is used to measure methane on an individual animal basis. Methane varies between animals and we can measure it, and if we can measure it we can start making improvements through nutrition, breeding and genetics.

Read more on using genetics to reduce methane output from cattle systems

Organic Farming

Sean Doorley, Teagasc Advisor caught up with Joe Kelleher, Teagasc Organics Specialist at the Organics stand at Ploughing 2022. The key message at the stand is that organic farming can suit all soil types, whether you're on the most free draining soils or permanent pasture heavier soils. All soil types can fit into an organic farming system, the key is that you adjust your stocking rate to suit the system.

Read more on whether or not organic farming is an option for your farm

Education

Keith Fahy, Teagasc caught up with Marcella Phelan at the Education stand at Ploughing 2022 to get an insight into how farmers can go about doing the Green Cert with Teagasc. Francis Quigley gave an overview of the farm machinery simulators that are for use in our agricultural colleges which were funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

The education external demo area aimed to create awareness of the wide range of courses and locations where Teagasc Full Time, Part time, and Distance Education courses are delivered at Kildalton, Ballyhaise, Clonakilty, Botanic Gardens, Gurteen, Pallaskenry, Mountbellew, and Teagasc Regional locations.

Find out more about our upcoming Open Days and farm machinery simulators for Teagasc Colleges

Tillage 

James Doran, Teagasc Advisor caught with Michael Hennessy, Head of Crops KT, Teagasc at Ploughing 2022 to discuss cover crops and soils. Generally tillage soils can have somewhere between 2% and 5% of carbon in the soils. The earlier you sow cover crops, the more nitrogen they are going to capture between one spring barley and the next spring barley. The earlier you sow them in the more you're going to get out of them.

The tillage farmers of Ireland are in a unique position compared to other enterprises. The sector has the lowest greenhouse gas output per hectare. The sectors emissions are small but there are emissions nonetheless and we should be trying all methods possible to reduce these even further.

Read more on how tillage farmers are in a unique position

Beef Genomics 

Keith Fahy, Teagasc caught up with Pearse Kelly at Ploughing 2022 to get an insight as to why farmers should calve beef heifers at 24 months instead of 36 months. Pearse explains how there's a huge difference in profitability in herds that calve their heifers down at 2 years versus 3 years - sometimes 75% difference in profitability. The benefits of calving heifers in suckler herds at two rather than three years of age include reduced greenhouse gas emissions per calf produced and increased profit per cow calved.

Read more on calving heifers at two years of age

The animals from Teagasc Kildalton at the exhibit include a nine year old cow. She calved for the first time at two years of age in 2015 and every year since. The bull calf she had this year born in January 2022. Her heifer calf from 2021 will calve at two years of age in 2023.  

Protecting Soil Water

Sean Doorley, Teagasc Advisor caught up with Padraig Fitzgerald, ASSAP Advisor, Teagasc at Ploughing 2022 to discuss cover crops and water quality. Cover crops are used by tillage farmers after crops are taken up to avoid nutrient losses to ground water. Cover crops will help maintain water quality in Ireland.

Catch crops capture soil nitrogen, particularly during periods of high rainfall, over the autumn/winter preventing it from leaching into groundwater and the river network. The soil surface is more stable with a crop established on it, helping prevent soil erosion or sediment loss to the drainage network especially during heavy rainfall.

VistaMilk

VistaMilk presented a 3D cow model accessorised with various sensors demonstrating a key objective of digitalising the dairy industry. VistaMilk has a strong emphasis on creating an environmentally-friendly food system. Our research focuses on developing the knowledge and tools to grow a greater quantity of higher quality herbage, optimised management and breeding strategies. This enhances the volume and quality of milk, and develop higher value-added dairy products for human consumption.

Food

Teagasc Food Research provides science-based solutions for Irish food producers, processors and consumers. At Ploughing Championships 2022, the Food stand showcaseed a selection of the programme’s world-leading research and expertise in Food for Health - fermented foods/gut microbiome, Food Quality - Meat Technology Ireland, and Food Innovation - National Prepared Consumer Food Centre.

Human Resources

Exciting careers in Teagasc await graduates and experienced professionals. Teagasc Human Resources staff provided information on current vacancies, educational pathways to a career in Teagasc and practical supports to attendees on how to apply and be alerted to new job opportunities through our recruitment portal.