ISTA Open Day 2016

Pictured are members of the Irish Seed Trade Association at an open day in Backweston, Celbridge, Co Kildare.  Photo O'Gorman Photography.

The Irish Seed Trade Association’s (ISTA) annual Open Day 2016 visited the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine cereal trials, on Wednesday last, June 29th at Backweston, Co Kildare. The cereal variety trials were the main attraction with 152 individual varieties from across Europe being evaluated in 2016.

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.

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. Clodagh Whelan, AAI Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) commented on the trial work that is undertaken at various sites around the country including Moorepark, Kildalton and also on many commercial farms. Clodagh stated ‘the trial work that goes on at our various sites gives independent assurance that varieties we select and approve are the most suitable for growing in Ireland under our climatic 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 Vice President, Jim Gibbons closed proceedings by reiterating the importance of certified seed to Irish growers, ‘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 also got the opportunity to view the latest grass, forage maize, oilseed rape and bean varieties under evaluation.

The 152 cereal varieties under evaluation included - 39 winter wheat, 10 spring wheat, 31 winter barley, 45 spring barley, 12 winter oat, 14 spring oat and 1 triticale.

4th July 2016