Aphids; grass weeds; costs; cover crops…National Tillage Conference 2020

Minimising risk; promoting sustainability – that is the theme of this year’s National Tillage Conference hosted by Teagasc.

The tillage sector is apparently the lowest contributor of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to Irish agriculture. However, further challenges lie ahead to continue to improve on this attribute.

On that note, there will be an emphasis on environmental sustainability including the reduction of GHG emissions and the role of cover crops.

The reduction in the chemical toolbox is now a constant challenge, but the loss of chlorothalonil this season makes 2020 a particularly interesting one.

Crop management without chlorothalonil will be discussed, while the importance of plant breeding in meeting these challenges will also be a relevant topic.

Very importantly, costs and returns will be discussed too, as well as challenges such as aphid and grass weed control.

Conference details

Registration for the conference begins at 9:00am and the conference opens at 9:45am.

The full programme is outlined in this table (below).

Programme for the day:

Session one – managing resistance, chaired by Ewen Mullins.

  • 10:00am – How IPM is critical for managing pyrethroid resistance in aphids – Michael Gaffney, Teagasc;
  • 10:20am – Occurrence of grass weeds and their impact – Ronan Byrne, Teagasc;
  • 10:40am – Managing cereal diseases with the loss of chlorothalonil – Steven Kildea, Teagasc.

Session two – environmental sustainability, chaired by Siobhán Walsh.

  • 11:05am – Environmental sustainability of the tillage sector – soils, GHGs, carbon – Karl Richards, Teagasc;
  • 11:20am – Oilseed rape systems: impact on crops, GHG emissions and soils – Dermot Forristal, Teagasc;
  • 11:35am – The story of cover crops in Denmark – Nanna Hellum Kristensen, SEGES, Denmark;
  • 12:05pm – Cover crops: An Irish perspective – Richie Hackett, Teagasc;
  • 12:20pm – Panel discussion;
  • 12:35pm – Introduction to ‘Crop Report 2020 – Agronomic Strategies; tailored for your business’ – Michael Hennessy, Teagasc;
  • 12:45pm – Lunch;
  • 1.45pm – Crop Report 2020 – demonstration workshop.

Session three – research snapshots (2:20pm).

  • Outputs from VICCI – The Virtual Irish Centre for Crop Improvement – Dan Milbourne, Teagasc;
  • Applying novel breeding approaches to tackle cereal diseases – Adnan Riaz, Teagasc;
  • The challenge of grass weeds: Co-developing solutions for Ireland – Vijay Bhaskar, Teagasc.

Session four – opportunities and challenges ahead, chaired by Stephen Robb.

  • 2:55pm – Looking ahead, costs and returns – Shay Phelan, Teagasc;
  • 3:15pm – Enhancing the agronomy and management of beans – Sheila Alves, Teagasc;
  • 3:30pm – Panel discussion with Rob Coleman, tillage farmer, Castlemagner, Co. Cork; Dermot Forristal, Teagasc; John Crowley, tillage farmer, Ferns, Co. Wexford; Michael McCarthy, Teagasc;
  • 4:00pm – Closing address.