Image: Teagasc

Large numbers of tillage farmers gathered in Teagasc, Kildalton College, Kilkenny, yesterday, Thursday, to see the latest developments around Integrated Crop Management (IPM) in crops and in sprayer application technology.

According to Teagasc the open day was particularly important given the introduction of a number of regulations which directly affect all tillage and grassland farmers who use pesticides in the future.

The major event addressed the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD) of Pesticide and “Greening” as part of CAP Reform. All areas of the Sustainable Use Directive of Pesticide are covered including; safe handling of pesticides, farmer training, sprayer testing and education of all professional advisors. Farmers are receiving an update of the requirements but also practical solutions to address all these areas including the use of IPM in all decisions concerning growing tillage crops.

Tim O Donovan, Tillage specialist in Teagasc said, “Farmers are being informed of the latest regulatory requirements, but are also hearing from previous “Sprayer operators of the year” who are sharing tips based on their own experience. Among these are tips on efficient use of time when filling the sprayer, ways to improve safety and safe treatment of empty containers.”

An update of the latest CAP reform developments concerning the “Greening rules” and the possible implications for producers was also outlined. Growers saw how to integrate these new requirements into practical action using well thought through rotations.

Farmers were also treated to a host of technical displays including a focus on break crops such as oats and beans. Following the announcement of a coupled protein scheme, growers can review the latest growing techniques for beans and the new Teagasc/IFA research programme into break crops.

Biodiversity and the health of bees was also on the agenda with Catherine Keena , Teagasc Environmental Specialist, pointing out that there are many different species of bees and how growing wild flower mixes on tillage farms can help the survival of these species and other biodiversity.