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Teagasc Tillage Thursday's

Welcome to Tillage Thursday's during which we 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.  

January 13thVirtual Tillage Conference session 1 - Managing Crop Nutrition
January 20th -  
Utilisation of Nutrients Webinar
January 27thVirtual Tillage Conference session 2  - Pest Control Considerations and Further Research Insights
February 3rd - 
CAP23 Webinar
February 10th - Crops Malting Webinar

The tillage industry underpins Ireland’s agri-food enterprises through the provision of high quality feed / material for processing, with the sector being the most carbon efficient within Irish agriculture. 

While the expansive role the cropping sector can play in supporting sustainable food production is clear, the sector faces legislative, environmental and land use challenges that are undermining its economic sustainability.

In response, continued innovation and investment in crop improvement and knowledge transfer strategies is essential if we are to improve the resilience of the sector and exploit the significant opportunities that exist to add value for the primary producer in response to consumer preferences for increased provenance and authenticity.


Teagasc Virtual Tillage Conference 2022

The 2022 National Tillage Conference will take place virtually, split over two days. The first session will take place on Thursday, 13 January and the second session will take 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 Wall, Richie 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

Topics and speakers included:

  • Soil fertility management - Good for your pocket and long term crop productivity
    David Wall
  • Adjusting N strategies for cereals in 2022 
    Richie Hackett 
  • Fertiliser savings in break crops and by spreading fertiliser evenly 
    Dermot Forristal, Sheila Alves, Shiva Rahimi Tanha

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 will continue with a second session on Thursday, 27 January at 11.30am where researchers and PhD students will provide insights into current research on Pest Control Considerations and Further Research Insights. Speakers at the event include Louise McNamara, Stephen Byrne, Vijaya Bhaskar, Stephen Kildea, Atikur Rahman, Elena Grosu, Diana Bucur and Jack Jameson.

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

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 will detail 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 will be 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 will also be updated. Atikur Rahman will present updates on ongoing oats research, including the development of the Oats Grower’s Guide to support integrated crop management and preliminary results from recent field evaluation of oats heritage lines.

Diana Bucur will outline 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 will present early data on the potential of a novel bacterium to stimulate plant vigour. While Jack Jameson will report 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 will conclude 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 will provide an update on ongoing research underpinning these decisions, paying particular attention to the potential implications reduced nutrient management scenarios may have. He will also present an overview of how changes in disease virulence and sensitivity to critical fungicides are impacting disease control decisions and how these maybe mitigated.


Upcoming Tillage Events

There will also be a further three webinars on Thursday, 20 January; Thursday, 3 Feburary and Thursday, 10 Feb covering the Utilisation of Nutrients, CAP 23, and Malting Barley Management.


Utilisation of Nutrients Webinar - 20 January | 11:30am

This webinar will focus on practical implication of high fertiliser prices from accessing and applying fertiliser to the costs of finance through the season. 

The webinar will also hear about biostimulants and if these can play a useful role in the crop production (subject to speaker confirmation)


CAP23 Webinar - Thursday, 3 February | 11:30am

This webinar will look at the changes to the CAP and how farmers will deal with this in 2023. Farmers will need to be aware of the proposed changes in order to ensure changes at farm level are planned for through 2022.


Crops Malting Webinar - Thursday, 10 February | 11:30am

The webinar will be held as part of the Teagasc Boortmalt Joint Programme on malting barley. The webinar will address high fertiliser prices and if there are changes needed for the crop in 2022.  Other topics such as fungicides and pest control will also be looked at.


Past Events

  • Teagasc Crop Agronomy Update Webinars 
    These webinars which took place on Tuesday, 6th April & 4th May, covered the major agronomy decisions needed over the coming weeks in winter and spring crops.  Researchers, Specialists and advisors were on hand to answer questions throughout the webinar.
  • 2021 Tillage Conference 
    The 2021 National Tillage Conference which took place virtually, split over two days, on Wednesday, 3rd & 17th February 2021.
  • Malting Barley Conference 
    Teagasc Malting Barley Conference in conjunction with Boortmalt, which took place virtually on Tuesday, 23rd February 2021.
  • Spring Tillage Webinars 
    Teagasc researchers, specialists and advisors updated growers on crop agronomy for the coming weeks. These webinars took place on Tuesday, 19th January & Thursday, 21st January.
  • Teagasc Crop Trials Event
    The Teagasc Crop Trials Event took place in Oak Park, Carlow, across two days on Wednesday, 30th June and Thursday, 1st July 2021.  The event consisted of research updates on a range of crops including; spring barley, winter wheat, oilseed rape, rye and beans.