Teagasc and Goldcrop have announced the signing of a long-term agreement that will see Goldcrop market and propagate all forage material coming from the Teagasc Grass and Clover breeding programme for the next 10 years. The agreement was signed at the Teagasc National Dairy Open Day at Moorepark today.

The agreement was welcomed by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine,  Tom Hayes TD, who was present at the signing.

“That this new agreement will ensure that the very successful grass and clover breeding programme, for which Teagasc is rightly recognised, will ensure the continued availability of native bred forage varieties to the Irish livestock sector into the future. This will contribute significantly to the competitive position of the sector in the years to come,” he said.

Teagasc has one of the best forage breeding programme at its Crops Research Centre in Oak Park, Co Carlow. There are currently many Teagasc-bred cultivars on the Irish and UK recommended lists including market leading perennial ryegrasses (Glenveagh, Majestic, Kintyre, Glencar, Solomon and Carraig) and white clovers (Chieftain, Avoca, Aran and the new arrival Iona). There are also a number of cultivars on recommended lists in other countries.

This agreement gives Goldcrop the worldwide propagation and marketing rights for all new grass and clover cultivars that are developed over the next 10 years.

Teagasc director Prof Gerry Boyle stated: “Grass is the cornerstone of Irish dairy, beef and sheep production systems and gives Ireland its competitive advantage. Teagasc has more than 50 years of experience in breeding grass and clover varieties that are ideally suitable for Irish conditions.  The signing of this agreement is hugely significant for Teagasc and Irish grassland farmers. Goldcrop are a top class Irish based and owned company and we look forward to seeing Teagasc bred grasses and clovers being well marketed across the world.”

Also speaking at the signing of the contract John Murphy, CEO of Goldcrop expressed his delight with the new agreement: “This development represents a unique opportunity to work with Teagasc to commercialise Irish bred forage cultivars to its best potential both at home and abroad. It will ensure the continuing supply of top-quality varieties while also giving Goldcrop the opportunity to promote Irish grassland technology in the major grass seed consuming countries in the world.”

Goldcrop secured this contract amid competition from a number of key international grass seed companies in what will be seen as a strategic move in the seed trade for the family owned, Cork-based company. The company will be responsible for seed propagation, marketing and wholesale distribution of Teagasc bred cultivars in Ireland and Internationally with the main target markets abroad being UK, Germany, Denmark, Holland and New Zealand.

Goldcrop are one of the leading importers and distributors of forage seeds in the Irish market. Goldcrop has progressively developed its Agribusiness activities in recent years including the acquisition of Power Seeds in 2007.  This new agreement will offer them an international focus, especially given that Teagasc forage material has a very good international reputation.

Pictured Clover in grassland pasture. Photo O’Gorman Photography