Tillage conference: What’s on tillage farmers’ minds?
At the Teagasc National Tillage Conference event today, January 29, farmers completed a survey and it provided some interesting answers.
The audience outlined the loss of pesticides as one of the biggest challenges facing the sector. 91% listed this as their top challenge.
77% of participants in the survey saw cover crops as the way to protect soils in continuous tillage.
72% of people who took the survey stated that they see food-grade oats and cereal crops for malting as the biggest opportunities in the sector’s future.
The full results of the survey are below.
- Loss of fungicides, herbicides and insecticides – 91%;
- Lack of more resilient varieties – 47%;
- Current production unsustainable from a soils perspective – 42%;
- Dairy expansion – 41%;
- Labour shortage and cost – 23%.
- Use cover crops to improve soil quality – 77%;
- Reduce machinery impact with larger tyres, lower pressure and improved headland management – 65%;
- Avoid working in wet or vulnerable soil conditions – 60%;
- Use reduced cultivations to build more resilient soils – 37%;
- Bring grass leys back into rotations – 17%;
- Adopt direct-drilling – 15%.
- Grass weed control is challenging – 62%;
- Riskier establishment requiring early autumn sowing – 53%;
- Perceived negative impact on yields – 30%;
- Expensive to change over – 22%;
- Less suitable for spring crops – 20%;
- Insufficient research in our conditions – 20%;
- Not suitable for our climate – 19%.
- Grow higher value crops for specific markets: food oats, specific varieties for beer/spirits – 72%;
- Utilise organic manures from intensive grassland – 60%;
- Grow more food/protein crops to feed demand for a plant-based diet – 50%;
- Grow energy crops or crops for anaerobic digestion – 42%;
- Grow current crops, but with more regulated production methods and traceability bringing a higher return – 27%;
- Plant forestry to maximise carbon capture – 11%.