ISTA Open Day 2015, Kildalton, Co Kilkenny

The Irish Seed Trade Association’s (ISTA) annual Open Day 2015 visited the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine cereal trials, on Tuesday last, July 7 at Kildalton College, Piltown, Co Kilkenny.

There was a very large attendance at this year’s 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, from agri-business sectors in the UK and Ireland.

ISTA Vice President, Jim Gibbons, commented on the critical role the Department and its cereal variety evaluation system plays in bringing new improved varieties to the market. ‘It is with thanks to this work that Irish growers have seen crop yield increases close to 1% per year’ stated Jim.

New varieties are submitted annually to the Department of Agriculture for agronomic evaluation. Having successfully completed this evaluation process varieties then become recommended and available for commercial use.

It is due to this intensive trialling system that varieties fit for purpose make it to the market where yield and disease resistance potential have been identified.

Jim Gibbons highlighted ‘our trialling and evaluation system is among the best in the world and Irish farmers have the advantage of choosing from a list of certified varieties on the Irish Recommended list, that have undergone intensive trialling under our unique Irish conditions’.

Attendees at the Department site in Kildalton viewed the latest crop varieties under evaluation; winter/spring barley, oats and wheat plus forage maize, oilseed rape and beans. It was of particular interest to see new varieties that have recently entered the evaluation process; some of which will make it to full recommendation while others that had looked promising to be eliminated from the trialling system due to non-performance under Irish conditions.

In 2015 there are a total of 171 cereal varieties under evaluation – 52 winter wheat, 9 spring wheat, 26 winter barley, 50 spring barley, 14 winter oat, 18 spring oat and 2 triticale.

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.