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Teagasc Virtual Tillage Conference 2022

28 January 2022
Type Event Proceeding

The 2022 National Tillage Conference took place virtually, split over two days. The first session took place on Thursday, 13 January and the second took place on Thursday, 27 January.

Session One - Thursday, 13 January  |  11.30am

On Thursday, 13 January at 11.30am, an interactive webinar took place with researchers David WallRichie Hackett and Dermot Forristal who provided insights into current research on Managing Crop Nutrition.

As the fertiliser market continues to struggle with elevated prices and supply chain issues, the first session of this year’s Tillage Conference presented research findings that aim to support farmers’ decision making for the 2022 season.

Watch webinar recording below

Richie Hackett reviewed actions to reduce fertiliser inputs while assessing crop optimum N rates, based on N and grain prices. Alternative strategies to consider if supplies tighten further were also discussed. David Wall re-appraised the importance of soil testing as the primary action to complete before drawing up a fertiliser plan for 2022. If the plan includes animal manures, which offer potential savings to reduce the impact of high fertiliser prices, their nutrient value must be determined in order to maximise impact and cost-effectiveness. While some consideration can be given to reduce P / K on high index soils, this must be managed correctly to prevent future problems arising from reduced soil fertility. Dermot Forristal dealt with break crops and precise application of fertiliser, particularly urea.

Current fertiliser prices makes it essential to apply fertiliser evenly and where growers are tempted to use less expensive urea-based products, achieving an even spread at wide bout widths, with a lower density product, can be a challenge. Fertiliser quality, spreader design, and particularly the availability and correct use of fertiliser manufacturers test databases, are essential to ensure that fertiliser is spread evenly. In contrast to cereals, oilseed rape is a unique crop that is capable of taking up and efficiently using soil N over the autumn and winter period, reducing the amount of N required in the main growing period.

Oak Park research is currently validating this canopy management approach to N determination. In the current year with some very big canopies post winter, there is indeed scope to save up to 100kg N/ha which is worth €250/ha at 2022 fertiliser prices. Heading into spring 2022, the benefit of incorporating legume break crops (beans, peas, lupins) in rotations will also be highlighted as will their potential to reduce the amount of fertiliser N through the rotation, without compromising crop yields.

Session Two - Thursday, 27 January  |  11.30am

The Virtual Tillage Conference continued with a second session on Thursday, 27 January at 11.30am where researchers and PhD students provided insights into current research on Pest Control Considerations and Further Research Insights. Speakers at the event included Louise McNamaraStephen ByrneVijaya BhaskarStephen Kildea, Elena Grosu, Diana Bucur and Jack Jameson.

Building on session one, the second session of the Tillage Conference (i) focused on considerations for cereal disease control against the backdrop of reduced nutrient management scenarios, (ii) detailed the most up-to-date outputs from the current BYDV and grassweeds surveillance initiatives and (iii) also provided attendees with a brief insight across a selection of research projects presently underway at Oak Park.

Watch webinar recording below

A major vector of Barley Yellow Dwarf Viruses (BYDV), aphids are the most significant pest of cereal crops in Ireland. Louise McNamara and Stephen Byrne detailed for the first time the prevalence of BYDV positive grain aphids plus the level of pyrethroid resistance in aphid populations sampled from the Teagasc suction tower network across 2020 (Carlow) and 2021 (Carlow and Cork). From the data collated to date it is clear that aphid numbers alone do not tell the full story. By combining long-term, local and long distance migratory monitoring with molecular diagnostics, the surveillance programme is enhancing our understanding of BYDV risk and spread, as well as the emergence and development of insecticide resistance. 

The results of a nationwide grassweeds field survey was presented by Vijaya Bhaskar detailing: levels of herbicide resistance in black-grass and Italian ryegrass populations; the associated underlying resistance mechanisms and implications for control methods. The status of herbicide resistance in other species like wild oats, bromes and canary grass were also updated. Diana Bucur outlined findings on the sensitivity of Irish light leaf spot populations to key fungicides used for its control. As light leaf spot continues to be the most economically destructive disease of oilseed rape in Ireland, these findings have implications for its continued control. Elena Grosu presented early data on the potential of a novel bacterium to stimulate plant vigour. While Jack Jameson reported on the performance of crop establishment systems on Irish farms and farmer’s perceptions covering min-till, no-till and plough-based systems; both in growers own fields and in controlled experiments at Oak Park. This project includes a large study of grower’s perceptions of alternative crop establishment systems.

Session two concluded with a focus on considerations for cereal disease control against the backdrop of reduced nutrient management scenarios. Agronomic decisions relating to disease control are critical to the success of cereal crops on farm each season. Stephen Kildea provided an update on ongoing research underpinning these decisions, paying particular attention to the potential implications reduced nutrient management scenarios may have. He also presented an overview of how changes in disease virulence and sensitivity to critical fungicides are impacting disease control decisions and how these maybe mitigated.

The Teagasc Crops team will be bringing you Tillage Thursday's during which they will deliver the latest insights on current tillage research plus the most relevant technical advice for tillage farmers through a series of live, interactive webinars. Find out more here