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.