The road to Irish Certified Seed - Harvesting

Having passed field inspections by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) representatives, crops can be harvested when ripe. 

Harvesting 

It is extremely important that every effort is made during harvesting 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

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. 

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

In addition, hygiene as always is critical; clean farm machinery and strict segregation of crops is vital.

Intake

At intake, the seed crop is sampled extensively and given a thorough inspection. 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 the Irish Certified Seed production process, visit our YouTube channel or click here.

Variety choice and sowing date are fundamental to combatting disease control

The Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) hosted their 2019 annual crop variety trials open day at the DAFM crop evaluation centre at Backweston Farm, Celbridge, Co. Kildare.

This year, there are 352 crop varieties completing their evaluation period on 22 different farms and at 4 department test centres in Ballyderown, Co. Cork; Kildalton, Co. Kilkenny; Backweston Co. Kildare; and Raphoe Co. Donegal.

Angela Ryan, Assistant Agricultural Inspector (AAI) at Backweston Farm, stated that although crops were sown in better weather conditions this season, disease pressure is problematic with a high risk of yellow rust, septoria and BYDV across all of their evaluation sites. As many know, septoria is a disease which critically affects wheat, and with the loss of chlorothalonil next season, growers are now questioning how to combat this problem effectively.

ISTA President, Phil Meaney highlighted the importance and value of the trial work being undertaken on various sites around the country by the Department of Agriculture. Phil stated that now more than ever, with the challenges of disease control facing growers, variety choice and sowing date are fundamental to combatting these issues.

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 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. Untreated plots, although not a new aspect of the trials, provide an essential test of a variety, which attendees at the open day could view in detail.  

Additional information:

In 2019, DAFM are evaluating 182 cereal varieties, 103 grass and clover varieties, 25 winter oilseed rape varieties, 20 forage maize varieties, 11 potato varieties and 11 spring bean varieties.

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.

The road to Irish Certified Seed - Variety Trialling

New varieties are submitted on an annual basis to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) for agronomic evaluation, known as VCU (Value for Cultivation and Use) testing.  
The work undertaken by the DAFM is to ensure that new varieties are fit for purpose under Irish conditions and will stand up to unique disease challenges. The trials are carried out at on various sites across the country including: Backweston Farm; Ballyderowan Farm; Kildalton Agricultural College and also on 25 commercial farms. 
Varieties are tested for characteristics such as crop yield, disease resistance and grain quality. Additionally, quality tests are undertaken to help identify the most suitable varieties for use as malting barley, milling wheat or food-grade oats – all of which are crucial to Ireland’s valuable food and drinks sector. Varieties that do not make the cut against the control varieties will not make the Recommended List and will be discontinued. 
Having completed this VCU process successfully over a three-year period, the best new varieties are then added to the Recommended List. Seeds of these varieties are propagated and brought to market for commercial use by Irish growers.
For more information, check out our Variety Trialling video here
ISTA Open Day 2019 
The Irish Seed Trade Association’s (ISTA) annual open day will take place on Tuesday 25th June 2019 at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) site in Backweston, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. 
This is a well-attended event each year and visitors will have an opportunity to view the latest trial results from the crop varieties under evaluation; winter and spring barley, oats and wheat plus forage maize, oilseed rape, and grass and clover varieties.  
This annual event brings together representatives from every aspect of cereal production including ISTA members, DAFM personnel, crop consultants, Teagasc tillage specialists, seed suppliers, cereal growers, Irish Farmers Association, agro chemical and animal feed suppliers, food and beverage related industries, feed and grain trade, flour millers, malting industry, agri-media, UCD graduates, and trade personnel from agribusiness sectors in Britain and Ireland.

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

Subscribe to our new YouTube channel

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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

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