This year’s Teagasc National Tillage Conference is set against the background of 2022 being one of the better seasons in recent memory, with excellent harvest conditions and historically high grain prices making 2022 a profitable season for tillage farmers in spite of elevated costs.
Looking ahead to 2023 though, the tillage sector faces significant risks posed by price uncertainty, the loss of chemistries for pest, disease and weed control, plus the increasing need to ensure sustainable practises to assist the agricultural industry in meeting its climate change obligations.
In this context, the theme of the National Tillage Conference (#TillageCon23), taking place on Wednesday, 25th January at the Lyrath Conference Centre, Kilkenny, is ‘Mitigating Risks that Challenge Future Sustainable Production’. Focussed on delivering science-led strategies to manage the most important pests and diseases, the conference will also detail the added value opportunities developing around plant protein crops.
Speaking in advance of the National Tillage Conference, Head of the Crops Science Department in Teagasc, Dr Ewen Mullins said, “the topics covered this year are highly relevant to the issues that growers continue to face with respect to cereal disease control plus the growing threat from grassweeds.”
With a focus on developing decision support tools to support Farm-to-Fork goals, Teagasc Researcher, Dr Louise McNamara will detail the challenges of controlling Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) over recent years, and how the Teagasc BYDV surveillance programme is providing invaluable insight into this disease. Complementary work will be presented by Dr Sacha White (ADAS, UK) on seeking better BYDV decision support tools for cereal growers.
Mitigating risk to yield potential from wheat diseases will be discussed by Dr Steven Kildea, Teagasc Oak Park, who will also detail the plans for a new scoping impact assessment on the Sustainable Use Regulation, underway in 2023. Additional updates on barley disease control for 2023 will be provided by Deirdre Doyle, as well as insight into growers’ perceptions on crop establishment systems relative to soil resilience versus the challenges of weed pressures by Jack Jameson.
Dr John Cussans (NIAB) will present on how Integrated Weed Management (IWM) strategies are being deployed to manage grassweeds in the UK, and Dr Vijaya Bhaskar, Teagasc Oak Park, will present the results of a nationwide survey on problem grass weeds and herbicide resistance in Irish tillage farms.
Research underway through national and EU projects will detail the profitability potential of plant protein systems with Dr Shay Hannon, manager of the Teagasc Prepared Consumer Food Centre in Ashtown, Dublin, highlighting the expanding demand for sources of plant proteins from Irish companies.
There will also be a session of research snapshots covering a brief detail of outputs from the Mycotox-I project, the role of advanced disease diagnostics in rapidly assessing the dynamics of BYDV, the potential of beans to reduce nitrogen (N) application in a follow on crop, evaluating diverse collections of beans for chocolate spot resistance, plus current work to support oats as a valuable crop in rotations.
Across five separate 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 research projects that Teagasc has underway with both its national and international partners. Over 20 posters will be on display throughout the day to provide updates for growers and those working in the industry.
The full conference programme and registration details are available at www.teagasc.ie/tillagecon23