This year’s national tillage conference will focus on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the sector. The conference will take place in the Lyrath Estate Hotel, Kilkenny next Wednesday (January 30).

The opening speakers will focus on the topic of the moment – Brexit.

Guy Smith, the deputy president of the National Farmers Union in the UK, will open the first session, while Fiona Thorne (Teagasc economist) will present on the economics of the tillage sector in Ireland, as well as the possible implications of Brexit.

Stephen Kildea will then look at the challenges faced through the loss of chemistry. He will also mention some new protection options coming on stream.

John Cullen – of John Cullen Grain in Co. Wexford – will offer a farmer/merchant perspective on the future of the industry before the morning speakers form a panel discussion.

After lunch attendees will be given an insight into some of the research currently taking place. Ewen Mullins will talk about breeding for ‘resilience’. Seven brief research updates will follow.

These will include:
  • The impact of field headlands on crop performance in Irish tillage fields – Mark Ward;
  • Machinery turning on headlands: impact on traffic paths and soil stress – Brendan Burke;
  • Break crop research: an update – Dermot Forristal;
  • Tools to assess soil structural quality in tillage soils – Giulia Bondi;
  • Grass weed control: utilising all the tools – Michael Hennessy;
  • Herbicide resistance in wild oats: what have we learned? – Ronan Byrne;
  • Oats research update – John Finnan.

A panel discussion on integrated pest management will finish up proceedings, before a short close from director of Teagasc Gerry Boyle.

Conference details:
  • Venue: Lyrath Estate Hotel, Kilkenny;
  • Date: Wednesday, January 30;
  • Registration: 9:00am;
  • Conference opening: 10:00am;
  • Conference fee: €35 (Teagasc clients), €55 (non-clients);
  • Lunch: €20.