Teagasc’s new €2.1 million horticulture research facility officially opened

Teagasc’s new horticulture research facility, worth €2.1 million, was officially opened by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Andrew Doyle earlier today (Thursday, May 17).

The opening took place at Teagasc’s new Horticulture, Forestry and Education Facilities at the agri extension agency’s campus in Ashtown, Dublin.

Over €2.1 million has been invested in facilities which include: a modern glasshouse equipped with advanced systems for research; a turf grass academy; a horticultural utility building; a large multi-span forestry polytunnel; and additional poly-tunnels and structures which have various specific uses.

The other primary piece of infrastructure on the site is the mushroom research unit which has 100m² of growing area to support a dedicated mushroom research programme.

Speaking at the opening, Minister Doyle said: “I firmly believe the development we witness today is a tribute to the wisdom and foresight of the Teagasc Board when they took the decision to approve this investment.

“It represents a key resource for the relevant sectors and for students and academics alike.”

Teagasc chairman Dr. Noel Cawley said: “Horticulture and Forestry are becoming increasingly more important land-use sectors in Ireland. Teagasc is pleased to have made these investments in state-of-the-art facilities which will enable the excellent research to continue and to develop further.

The Ashtown campus, through this and previous investments, is now well-equipped to provide the standard of research, education and training required by technologically advanced sectors.

This investment followed a decision taken as part of the Teagasc change programme, which saw the Teagasc Kinsealy campus close, and its horticulture, forestry and education activities moved to the Ashtown campus, where Teagasc already has a food research centre.

The investment was funded through the disposal of Teagasc assets and Teagasc funding from the Government.

Visitors to facilities today were given an outline of the Teagasc horticulture, forestry and education programmes by Teagasc director Professor Gerry Boyle.

The Teagasc horticultural education programme – as operated by the College of Amenity Horticulture – is now integrated into the Ashtown Campus, using the facilities for the past year.

Students attending the College of Amenity Horticulture spend time learning at both the Teagasc teaching facilities in the National Botanic Gardens, and at the Ashtown site.

The education programme delivery includes: landscape construction; horticulture production mechanisation at advanced cert level 6 and degree level 7; sports turf science and maintenance at level 6; and fruit and vegetable production and plant propagation at level 5.