Glanbia’s Phil Meaney takes over as President of the Irish Seed Trade Association

Phil Meaney was recently appointed as the new President of the Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA). Phil will serve a two-year term as ISTA President, and takes over from Jim Gibbons of Germinal Ireland.

Phil is well accustomed with the high standards in the production of certified seed as he currently manages Glanbia’s Graiguecullen site in Carlow, covering production facilities for seed grain, grass seed and food grade oats.

The Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) represents multipliers, producers and distributors of certified seed in Ireland and its role is to promote the use of certified seed in tillage, forage and grassland crops. This is to ensure the best varieties of seed are made available to Irish farmers.

Within his term as President of ISTA, Phil is keen to represent, inform and lobby on behalf of ISTA members about seed related issues, and to promote the use and benefits of certified seed.

Outgoing President Jim Gibbons will serve as outgoing Vice-President, along with the new incoming Vice-President Brendan Reilly, cereal seed production and sales manager for Drummonds.

The road to Irish Certified Seed - Crop Inspections

Irish Certified Seed provides growers with a guaranteed standard of varietal purity, germination, and phyto-sanitary status. Crop inspections play a vital role in ensuring that Irish Certified Seed is produced to the highest standards.

Irish seed is inspected on a number of occasions during its growing season by Department of Agriculture inspectors. These field inspections allows potential issues to be identified earlier and rectified quicker in the season. Additionally, it gives Irish farmers peace of mind that purchased certified seed has been produced to an excellent quality and purity standard.

Crop Inspections – Pre Harvesting

The first inspection is carried out early in the season, where field details are checked and plant counts are carried out.

The main inspection is undertaken when the crop is heading out. This inspection determines if the variety is true to type and that the crop is free of weeds. ISTA implement a zero-tolerance standard for problematic weeds like Wild Oats, Sterile Brome, Blackgrass and Canary Grass.

Department of Agriculture inpsectors also carry out a pre-harvest inspection where they ensure that the crop has not changed in any way since the main inspection. Having passed these field inspections, the seed is passed to an assembly point for further inspections and analysis to ensure that there is proper segregation of seed varieties.

Crop Inspections - Post Harvesting

Post harvesting, samples of dried seed are tested by Department of Agriculture inspectors. The usual parameters of moisture and KPH are monitored, and the crop is checked for visual appearance, purity and the presence of weed seeds. It’s this intricate process that guarantees the high standards expected of Irish Certified Seed.

For more information on certified seed production, visit our brand new YouTube channel here

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It is with great excitement that we officially announce the launch of the Irish Seed Trade Association YouTube Channel. 

To kick off our channel, we’ve created a number of educational and insightful videos which discuss Irish certifed seed, the production process and much more. To view, simply click here: ISTA Official YouTube 

If you have a YouTube account, don't forget to subscribe to our channel for all the latest news. 

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. 

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