Major European grassland conference launched in Cork

The European Grassland Federation (EGF) 2018 General Meeting will take place in Ireland this year for the first time since 1988.

The 27th EGF conference, which will attract delegates nationally and internationally, will take place in Cork from the June 17 to June 21, 2018.

The event was launched by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, at a meeting of the organising committee and sponsors in Cork, on Friday last, February 9.

The EGF is the main grassland meeting in Europe. It attracts delegates from the industry, farmers, researchers and those involved in advisory and knowledge transfer.

This year’s event has already received a large number of scientific papers ahead of the conference. The event will have a mix of master classes, visits to farms and to the Teagasc Moorepark Research Centre – along with a number of conference papers, according to Teagasc.

The meeting will be held in the Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork, and is being organised by Teagasc.

Speaking at the launch today, Minister Creed said: “Last year I designated 2017 as ‘The Year of Sustainable Grassland’ and I’m delighted to see that one of the many results of this initiative is that Ireland is hosting a major European Grassland Conference in Cork this year.

This will be the 27th meeting, and is themed on Sustainable Meat and Milk production from Grasslands, which is very fitting.

EGF president Dr. Frank O’Mara of Teagasc, highlighted the fact that the conference has secured sponsorship from 17 individual companies, which clearly illustrates the support for grass-based livestock systems in Ireland.

Dr. O’Mara reflected: ‘We are delighted that so many companies have come on board to financially support EGF2018.

“This level of support received is excellent and we intend to demonstrate in this conference that Ireland is a leader in grassland science and technology,” he added.

EGF 2018 is supported by FBD, Yara, Lely, True North Technologies, Teagasc, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dairymaster, Goldcrop, Dairygold, Failte Ireland, Nutribio, AFBI, Germinal, DLF Seeds, Grasstec and Irish Grassland Association, and negotiations with SFI (Science Foundation Ireland) are ongoing.

New areas such as ‘Big Data’, ‘Smart Technology’ and ‘Knowledge Transfer’ have been added to the conference sessions for this year’s showing.

On the last day, a full conference workshop will take place with the head of DG Agri from Brussels attending. On the Tuesday of the conference, the delegates will visit the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research Centre in Moorepark.

Dr. Michael O’Donovan, chairman of the EGF organising committee said: “We now have approximately 320 individual papers accepted for the conference.

“This is the highest number of papers in 20 years for EGF. We have delegates from 31 countries and we are delighted that the conference has attracted many delegates from outside Europe.”