Low disease pressure at Ballyderown Cereal Trials

The 2018 Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) hosted their annual crop variety trials open day at the DAFM crop evaluation centre at Ballyderown Farm, Kilworth, Co. Cork. In 2018, there are 347 crop varieties completing their evaluation period.

John Joe Byrne, Agricultural Inspector (AI) for the Crops Evaluation and Certification Division highlighted the importance that the cereal variety evaluation system plays in bringing new improved varieties to Irish growers for a range of end uses.

Key parameters measured throughout the trials include crop yield, disease resistance, and grain quality with the best new varieties then added to the Recommended List and seed of same is propagated and brought to market for commercial use by Irish growers. In addition, quality tests are also carried out to help identify the most suitable varieties for use such as malting barley, milling wheat or food-grade oats, all of which is vitally important to Ireland’s valuable food and drinks sector.

Angela Ryan, Assistant Agricultural Inspector (AAI) stated that despite spring crops being sown in tough conditions, overall it has been a year of low disease pressure across all of their evaluation sites.

Seamus Kearney, AAI based at Ballyderown Farm did however emphasize that every year presents new challenges. He discussed that while disease pressure in the spring crops are down so are the potential yields, running the risk that protein levels will rise. In a commercial situation this would have a significant impact on crops harvested for malting.  

ISTA President, Jim Gibbons closed proceedings by reiterating the importance of the trial work being undertaken on various other sites around the country by the Department including Backweston, Kildalton, Athenry, Raphoe and also on 25 commercial farms.

Michael Moloney, Head of Crops Evaluation and Certification Division also concluded that trialling varieties at a scale which gives an accurate picture of variety performance would not be possible without the help and support of commercial growers.

Additional Information:

In 2018, DAFM are evaluating 175 cereal varieties, 105 grass and clover varieties, 25 winter oilseed rape varieties, 20 forage maize varieties, 14 potato varieties and 8 spring bean varieties.

  

 

 

 

Promoting Excellence Presentations Available NOW

The Irish Seed Trade Association’s (ISTA) 2018 Promoting Excellence Seminars were held in three locations around the county in January, attracting over 140 representatives at each event from every aspect of cereal production including crop consultants, Department of Ag. personnel, Teagasc tillage specialists, seed suppliers, cereal growers, agro chemical and animal feed suppliers and the malting industry. 

Clodagh Whelan from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine gave attendees a valuable insight into crop and variety options for 2018 sowings. Andy Doyle, Tillage Editor at the Irish Farmers Journal presented best practices for maximising crop potential. In addition, ISTA members Donal Fitzgerald and Tim O’Donovan discussed the topic of certified seed standards, and how the certification scheme is helping to deliver new varieties. 

 

All presentations are now available for download below: 

2018 Promoting Excelllence Gallery

 

Promoting Excellence Seminars January 2018

This January the Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) will host three Promoting Excellence Seminars around the country from 10am – 12.30pm followed by a lunch.

16th January 2018 – Mount Wolseley Hotel, Tullow, Carlow

17th January 2018 – Clonmel Park Hotel, Clonmel, Tipperary

18th January 2018 – Knightsbrook Hotel, Trim, Meath

These seminars promise to showcase the value of sowing Irish certified seed, the benefits of this scheme to Irish growers, as well as the best variety options for 2018 sowings.

The keynote speakers on the day will include Clodagh Whelan from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Andy Doyle, Tillage Editor at the Irish Farmers Journal. Specifically, Clodagh will give an insight into crop and variety options for 2018 sowings, while Andy will present best practices for maximising crop potential. In addition, ISTA members Donal Fitzgerald and Tim O’Donovan will discuss the topic of certified seed standards, and how the certification scheme is helping to deliver new varieties.

Those in attendance are eligible for 18 IASIS CPE Credits. Please be sure to register on the day.

The Irish Seed Trade Association represents multipliers, producers and distributors of certified seed in Ireland and promotes the use of certified seed in tillage, forage and grassland crops to ensure the best varieties of seed are made available to Irish farmers.

If tillage farming is your future, this is a must attend event.

 

 

 

 

Farmers Journal, Andy Doyle, Highlights importance of Certified Seed

In a recent piece written by Andy Doyle, Tillage Editor of the Irish Farmers Journal, farmers are being advised of the importance of using Certified Seed. The piece strongly outlines the benefits from growing certified seed. Many growers are finding strange grass weeds emerging from their previously clean crops and according to the piece it is important that these are identified prior to the harvest and to be classified as to their state of resistance for future control.

Most serious tillage farmers will be aware of the growing problem of grass weeds and the implication and cost for crop production. The Irish seed industry has set itself high standards for grass weed seed contamination and this is effectively zero-tolerance for the crop in the field and the seed in the bag.

The seed trade (ISTA) has opted for zero-tolerance for a number of grass weeds such as wild oats, sterile brome and black grass and commercial growers have also become acutely aware of the importance of this. When any of these grasses get into fields intended for seed production then cost could be complete loss of crop certification.

This has a domino effect as the seed customer will also be under threat because the seed will not be available to them. This is why we (ISTA) have been actively involved in part-funding a Teagasc research project to assess the current state of resistance or susceptibility to different herbicide families in a range of serious grass weeds.

Early findings from this work was presented at the Teagasc Tillage Conference last spring. An interim report was published in Teagasc’s recent T-Research magazine (Volume 12: Number 2). The presence of resistance to herbicides will either change the control strategy that must be used while increasing its cost, or it could make control either difficult or impossible using herbicides. This could be critical for certified seed production.

PhD student Ronan Byrne is taking charge of the project and the other Teagasc people also involved include John Spink, Susanne Barth. It also includes Tim O’Donovan, formerly of Teagasc. The report authors define herbicide resistance as “the evolved ability of a plant to survive a dose of herbicide that would normally be lethal to it”. Given the increasing reports of the presence of resistance in our grass weeds, it is hardly surprising that there is research to help understanding the nature of this resistance.

The Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) represents multipliers, producers and distributors of certified seed in Ireland. Its role is to promote the use of certified seed in tillage, forage and grassland crops and to ensure the best varieties of seed are made available to Irish farmers. As sowing time approaches, we strongly encourage growers to sow only certified seed and help Irish tillage farming maintain it’s high standards.

Great weather brings crowds for Annual ISTA Open Day

The 2017 Irish Seed Trade Association’s (ISTA) annual open day took place on one of the hottest days of the year so far, at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine crop evaluation centre in Backweston, Co Kildare. In 2017 there are 382 crop varieties completing their evaluation period, and on the day the main attraction were the individual cereal varieties supplied from breeders across Europe.

There was a very large attendance at this years’ event with representatives from every aspect of cereal production including crop consultants, Department personnel, Teagasc tillage specialists, seed suppliers, cereal growers, agro chemical and animal feed suppliers and the malting industry.

Donal Coleman, Head of Division Crops Evaluation and Certification, Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) opened proceedings by welcoming all Irish Seed Trade members to Backweston and highlighted the importance the cereal variety evaluation system plays in bringing new improved varieties to the Irish market for a range of end uses.

Clodagh Whelan, AAI Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) commented on the importance of the extensive trial work that is undertaken at various sites around the country. Clodagh stated ‘the trial work that is carried out on our various sites gives growers independent assurance that the varieties selected for the annual Recommended List are the most suitable for growing in Ireland under Irish growing conditions’.

New varieties are submitted annually to the Department of Agriculture for agronomic evaluation, known as VCU testing. Key parameters to be measured include crop yield, disease resistance, and grain quality.  Having successfully completed this VCU process over a three-year period, the best new varieties are then added to the Recommended List and seed of same is propagated and brought to market for commercial use by Irish growers. In addition, quality tests are also carried out to help identify the most suitable varieties for use as malting barley, milling wheat or food-grade oats for example, all of which is vitally important to Ireland’s valuable food and drinks sector.

ISTA incoming Vice President, Phil Meaney closed proceedings by thanking the Department of Agriculture for a superb day at Backweston and reiterating the importance of the trial work being undertaken on various other sites around the country by the Department including Moorepark, Kildalton, Athenry, Raphoe and also on a number of commercial farms.

Visitors at the ISTA open day also got the opportunity to view the latest grass, forage maize, oilseed rape and bean varieties under evaluation.

The cereal varieties under evaluation in 2017 include: 38 winter wheat, 12 spring wheat, 30 winter barley, 57 spring barley, 10 winter oat and 11 spring oat. 

Jim Gibbons appointed President of Irish Seed Trade Association.

Jim Gibbons has been recently appointed as the new President of the Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) following a recent AGM. Jim will serve a two-year term as ISTA President, and takes over from John Dalton of Chancellors Mills, Kilkenny.

Technical Manager of Germinal Ireland for over 25 years, Jim is well accustomed to the challenges that lie ahead for the tillage industry.

The Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) represents multipliers, producers and distributors of certified seed in Ireland. Its role is to promote the use of certified seed in tillage, forage and grassland crops and to ensure the best varieties of seed are made available to Irish farmers. Jim is keen to promote the important role of ISTA for the gain of tillage farmers and growers throughout the country. “Within my term as President of ISTA I want to ensure that the Irish Seed Trade Association continues to support the efforts of ensuring that the best available varieties, produced to the highest possible standards are available. Seed is the bedrock for our production systems so this is critical to ensure the continued success of Irish Agriculture”.

John Dalton will serve as outgoing Vice-President, along with the new incoming Vice-President Phil Meaney of Glanbia.

12/6/2017

Certified Seed Focus in this weeks IFJ

The 3rd edition of the Certified Seed Focus will be in this week’s Farmers Journal compiled in association with the Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA). This time around it looks at the increasing pressure farmers are coming under controlling weeds due to the increasing number of problem species. We talk to 3 farmers from around the country who take appropriate steps to keep out problems such as wild oats, sterile brome, meadow brome, canary grass, blackgrass, etc.

Role of Certified Seed

The feature highlights how Certified Seed operates zero tolerance through a higher voluntary standard for most of these grasses and also examines other factors such as machinery and how they can carry in problems with them. The Focus takes a look at seed treatments; where they have come from and how they have evolved to what we use today.

Lots to read and a must see for all tillage farmers and growers this Thursday.

Harvesting seed crops for Certification

Harvest stages of Certified Seed, whole barley seed.

This is our third article on the Certification Seed process. We’ve taken a look at Inspection and Rogueing, which is the removal of unwanted plants by hand from the crop, and Crop Trials to observe the characteristics of crops and varieties and how they react to the Irish environment under Irish growing conditions. This month ISTA Former President Tom Bryan takes us through the process of harvesting outlining the key actions that need to be taken to ensure the seed collected is fit for certification.

After the crop has come to the end of its growing cycle, including thorough audits by Department of Agriculture (DAFM) representatives and the agronomists of the Seed Processors, the harvest period begins.

It is extremely important that every effort is made during the harvesting of the seed crops to retain the following which are the cornerstones of quality Irish certified seed:

  • Varietal Purity.
  • Freedom from invasive species (Wild oats, Brome and Canary Grass etc.)
  • Germination.

When to harvest
Harvest generally occurs from July to October and it is important not to delay harvest once the crop has ripened. When ripe, winter cereals are easy to thresh, and harvest can begin at moisture levels as high as 20%, although generally very little is harvested above 18% moisture.

A germination as low as 85% is acceptable but it is recommended that >98% should be the target at harvest. Harvest and handling is of particular importance for malting barley.

Before harvesting begins
There are a number of key activities that the grower must action. The grower must:

  • Ensure that the seed crops have not been desiccated through the use of any pesticide e.g. Glyphosate containing products.
  • Give adequate notice of intention to harvest (i.e. 24 hours’ notice) to the Seed Processor. The harvesting of Seed crops may be carried out when the required notice is given.
  • Ensure that all harvesting machinery and trailers for transporting the seed have been thoroughly cleaned out.
  • Ensure harvesting of seed crops will be supervised, if possible on a spot-check basis, by Department of Agriculture personnel.
  • Take care to ensure that there will be no contamination from any source of the seed grain if it has to be stored in the farmyard awaiting collection.

Harvesting underway
When operating the combine harvester, the driver has a bird’s eye view of the seed crop and, with due care and attention to detail, the operator aims to prevent any unwanted weed seeds or other contaminants entering into the harvested seed grains. This requires concentration and vigilance, which our expert seed growers, have in abundance.

The first run around the outer headlands of the field should be discarded when harvesting the crop. This is best practice for species purity reasons and will also further aid the cleaning out process of the combine.

Lodging can be a problem and it is recommended that these patches are also excluded when harvesting to prevent the possibility of reduced germination and the subsequent rejection of the sample.

Avoiding damage to the seeds during harvesting
Even minor damage to the seed can affect the ability of the seed to germinate. Cracked grains, skinned or partially-skinned grains, and grains killed through damage to the germ, cannot germinate properly in the subsequent C1 Seed crop.

When examining a barley seed sample for damage, look at individual grains not just a mass of grain. Always examine grain's back first and ignore the crease side. Severe cracking and germ damage are nearly always accompanied by a high degree of skinning (in barley).

  • The most common causes for this are:
  • Drum speed too high - only use the slowest drum speed that will effectively thresh the grain from the head. A higher drum speed is needed when harvesting crops not properly ripe and can cause serious grain damage.
  • An incorrectly-adjusted or warped concave - the initial header settings should have the concave set one notch wider for barley than for wheat. Check the setting frequently during the day. If the thresher drum speed is correct, concave adjustments should cope with the changes in temperature and other harvesting conditions met during the day.
  • The airflow may need to be increased slightly to obtain a clean sample.

It is essential that correct combining of the crop occurs as it is at this point that the potential seed crop can be irreversibly damaged. It is recommended that the grower should bring a sample of the threshed grain into his/her seed house to ascertain if the sample is acceptable and the crop is being threshed to the satisfaction of the purchaser.

Finally, post-harvest seed samples are checked for purity and quality and the seed grain makes its way to the Seed Processors. It’s this intricate process that guarantees the high standards expected of Irish Certified Seed.

For more information on Certified Cereal Seed production, see the Irish Seed Trade Association’s website.

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