ISTA Members and Farmer Open Days 2016

Irish Seed Trade members and farmer open days

The Irish Seed Trade Association members are currently preparing for a variety of open days. We have 16 members many of which operate independent crop trials and farm visits. Do come to one of the Farmer Open days, arranged with ISTA members, as they are well worth seeing.

Date/Time

ISTA Member

Event

Wed 29th June 2016, 2pm Goldcrop
Contact: 021 4882800
On the farm of Podge and Ian Howard
Bellewstown
Co. Meath
Wed 6th July 2016, 9.15am Seed Technology
Contact: 051 832814
Seedtech Office
Ballymountain
Ferrybank
Waterford
Thurs 7th July 2016, 2pm Goldcrop
Contact: 021 4882800
On the farm of John Dunne
Shanagarry
Co. Cork
Thurs 7th July 2016 Drummonds
Contact: 041 9838986
On the farm of Paddy Reynolds
Betaghstown
Termonfeckin
Co. Louth
Thurs 7th July 2016, 5.30pm Drummonds
Contact: 041 9838986
Drummond Trials Open Day
Drummonds, Townrath, Drogheda

Focus on the highest yielding varieties of Barley,
Wheat, Oats, OS Rape and Beans in the North East.
Crop Nutrition and Fungicide programmes.
Machinery Demonstration, Cultivation Techniques.
RSA, discussion on current legislation.
Guest Speaker: Andy Doyle, IFJ. and ITLUS.

Crop trials: the road to certified seed

Aerial view of tillage crop trials for certified seed

In the second of our Certified Seed blogs, Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) member John Dunne tells us a bit about what’s been happening on the crop trial plots. Crop trials are another essential component of producing quality certified seed and this is the stage where we get to observe the characteristics of a broad array of crops and varieties, and how they react to the Irish environment under Irish growing conditions. To record correct observations crop trial sites are under constant scrutiny.

It has been quite a diverse year so far when just a couple of months ago we were witnessing flooding from extreme rainfall. At this stage of the year many crops have received their final spray applications before harvest and the spray season is beginning to wind down, however here’s a look back on what the 2015/16 trials have told us so far.Crop trials for producing certified seed

Winter Crops

Autumn 2015 was generally a very good one for establishing crops, seed quality was excellent and good ground conditions allowed timely establishment of uniform crops. Considering the record breaking rainfall that occurred in the following months, this excellent establishment was well needed.

Many crops were lost along the south coast due to exposure and fields in most areas suffered some waterlogging. Nevertheless, nature has a great ability to compensate. Winter wheat enjoyed a dry May which greatly reduced pressure from Septoria. Despite this, we must continue to seek out new wheat varieties which are more resistant to this devastating disease.

Winter barley probably suffered more than wheat as it is not as naturally hardy. Lack of spraying opportunities in the autumn also meant that Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) was more common in winter crops than we would like. Such autumn conditions further highlighted the advantages offered by new seed treatments such as Redigo Deter which will help to prevent BYDV infection and is also a useful anti-resistance strategy in dealing with increasing levels of pyrethroid resistance being observed in the range of insecticides currently used in Ireland. Winter barley plants have produced noticeably long ears where plant populations were low, this again shows that compared to spring sown crops, winter barley has much more time on its side to make up for problems during the growing season.

Winter Oilseed Rape crops established well in Autumn 2015. However, extremely high levels of Light Leaf Spot have been observed in trials. This is most likely due to the very wet and mild winter. Variety trials showed some of the best ever comparisons between varieties in terms of their resistance to the disease. Light Leaf Spot can only be controlled chemically in a preventative manner – therefore varietal resistance is one of the most important tools to control the disease.

Spring Crops

The wet winter also impacted on spring crops as in the majority of cases soil conditions remained too wet for sowing until April. This late sowing presented challenges such as potential yield reduction from a shorter growing season and increased pressure from BYDV.

BYDV has been observed at very high levels in all spring crops this year, especially in the south. Similar reports are coming from the UK. These high levels are most likely down to very heavy aphid pressure in April, although increasing levels of resistance to pyrethroid aphicides is now becoming a real concern – the results of this years’ aphid resistance testing should make interesting reading. Plant breeders are now also working on BYDV resistance as a new selection trait which could be of particular interest going forward.

There was great interest in spring beans again this year and despite the later planting season, the area sown is substantial and probably at least as big as last year. Grower confidence in the crop has been bolstered by the new protein aid scheme and the excellent crop yields that were achieved in 2015. The relatively poor grain prices currently on offer combined with a reasonable forward bean price of over €160/t make the bean crop more attractive to growers.

Bean crops are generally growing well, dry weather in May kept Chocolate Spot pressure low, although the current humid weather is very conducive to both Chocolate Spot and Downy Mildew.

Lessons learnt so far this growing season

  • Redigo Deter is becoming a “must” for protecting winter barley from BYDV.

  • Early nitrogen application to winter cereals is vital to keep plant numbers at an optimum level for maximum yield potential.

  • Timing is extremely important when applying Pyrethroids to cereals, especially when treating late sown spring cereals.

  • Very high Light Leaf Spot pressure in OSR this spring has shown great differences between varieties in terms of their disease resistance. It is very important to choose a variety with a high resistance rating as chemical control of this yield-robbing disease is limited.

Open Days

The Irish Seed Trade are currently preparing for variety open days. The Irish Seed Trade is made up of 16 members many of which operate independent crop trials. If the opportunity arises to visit one of their open days, we would strongly encourage you to do so, as it is a truly great spectacle of a massive array of crops, demonstrating how they all perform individually under the same conditions. It’s a bit like getting a quiet word with the trainer before the horse runs!

2016 Irish Seed Trade Open Day

Irish Seed Trade Association’s (ISTA) 2016 Open Day to visit the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine cereal trials, will take place on Wednesday 29th June 2016 at the Department of Agriculture premises, Backweston, Celbridge, Co Kildare.

Attendees will be able to view the latest trial results from the crop varieties under evaluation; winter/spring barley, oats and wheat plus forage maize, oilseed rape and grass/clover varieties.

This yearly event brings together representatives from every aspect of cereal production including crop consultants, DAFM personnel, 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.

This is a well-attended event each year as ISTA members get the opportunity to view varieties coming up for full recommendation on the Department of Agriculture Recommended List. It also offers the opportunity to view new varieties that have recently entered the evaluation process.

According to John Dalton, ISTA President, ‘this is a great opportunity to view the large array of crops under evaluation at the Department site in Backweston. It is our chance to evaluate potential varieties for the future and a demonstration of the investment undertaken by the Department to ensure growers have access to the best performing new varieties under Irish conditions’.

Production of Certified Seed: Inspections and Rogueing

Certified Seed Rogueing

Rogueing is in full swing at many seed production plants at this time of the year. Rogueing is the removal of any unwanted plants by hand from a crop and it is routine for both the Department of Food and the Marine (DAFM) and seed companies to carry out this process along with a number of other crop inspections, especially in seed crops. Regular crop inspections ensure the crop is extremely clean of both weeds and off-types and rogueing is just one procedure to ensure the purity of certified seed produced here in Ireland.

Simply put, off-types are plants that have varying characteristics. During the rogueing stage, characteristics observed are; the plants themselves, weed contamination and in the case of Oilseed Rape (OSR) the leaf shape is observed. OSR off-types tend to have a larger yellow leaf or have curled anthers as opposed to straight.

A clean field of barley, after rogueing.
A clean field of barley, after rogueing.

For cereal crops, regular crop inspections are carried out to identify weeds or wild oats that may be present in the field. When inspecting fields, it is important to inspect near hedgerows and around ESB poles. If there are any sheds present in the field, these areas may also be home to weeds or wild oats caused by the inability of the sprayer’s boom to get in close enough.

Carrying out regular inspections allows potential issues to be identified earlier and rectified quicker in the season. One of the most common weeds present in cereal crops are wild oats. Depending on the crop, wild oats can be sprayed for or rogued by hand.

As the rogueing process is carried out by hand, the practise usually involves a team of people walking in a linear line through the crop. Each roguer is responsible for 3 strips of oilseed rape or a 4 metre strip of cereal crops and as they walk at a slow pace through the crop, they continuously rogue off-types, looking behind occasionally to view the crop from a different angle to identify any missed plants. Each rogue plant identified is pulled and discarded. To ensure the team do not miss any off-types a team leader will walk at a slow pace behind to detect any missed plants.

The overall aim is to insure the quality and purity of the crop is at a superior level as these seed crops will be sold commercially. Stringent crop inspections and monitoring allows for the production of excellent quality crops in Ireland year after year. Additionally, it gives Irish farmers peace of mind when purchasing certified seed that has been produced to an excellent quality and purity standard.

Additional Information:

  • Rogueing is the removal of any unwanted plants by hand from a crop, these are then discarded in the field or bagged and removed from the field.
  • A Roguer is a person that works at removing off-types, weeds etc. from the field by hand.

Key considerations for crop inspections:

  1. Continually monitor the stage of the crop to judge optimum rogueing time.
  2. Note the level of off-types present to judge number of roguers required.
  3. Recruit a trained eye as experienced roguers are invaluable in identifying the off-types/weed species.
  4. A team leader should be present at all times to offer guidance to roguers and for spot checks.
  5. A clean crop at the end of rogueing process gives superior quality and purity to the seed.

Focus on Certified Seed in niche markets

The second edition of Focus on Certified Seed was featured in the Irish Farmers Journal on 20th February 2016 with six pages exploring the use of certified seed in niche markets including the gluten-free and porridge oat markets and the growth in craft malt for distilling and brewing. All these markets require full product traceability and certified seed provides growers with that confidence. The articles included interviews with a number of farmers who produce crops for these niche markets and with Paul Bury, a plant breeder, who is developing new varieties to meet the evolving needs of the malting markets.

Mark Reynier, of Waterford Distillery, said, “The only ingredients in our whiskeys are barley, water and yeast. Great whiskey is about the flavours and aromas derived from the process. Whiskey is regarded as the most complex spirit of all because it is made from barley.” And the objective of this new distillery is to highlight the uniqueness of regions, growers and fields to help generate a diversity of flavours and aromas. With the help of Boortmalt, they get barley from 46 growers that represent 26 different soil types. Certified seed provides the variety purity and traceability needed.

In Kildare, the Doherty family have a long tradition of oat production, including other winter crops. Pat Doherty’s father, Paddy, would have been one of the first oat growers for Odlums. And 2016 is the first year he has grown gluten-free oats which is only planted after a break crop or ley. It is harvested by a dedicated Glanbia harvesting unit. Seed production, selection, certification and keeping other cereal grains out of the sample at all stages of production is critical.

Higher voluntary standards associated with producing C1 malting barley seed are a continuous challenge for Ivan Holden who farms in Co Carlow. Rotation in a field means that certified seed would be grown only every third or fourth year. As Ivan said this is critical because “we are growing seed for next year’s crop and we have a duty of care to all the farmers who purchase this seed to grow their crops for their livelihood.”

The Ring family has been growing barley on Cobh Island for generations and their main crop is barley for malting. They insist on attention to detail for certified seed production by ensuring their land is free of weeds such as wild oats, canary grass and sterile brome. Rogueing seed crops normally begins in early July and is done thoroughly twice. Emphasis is put on every part of the production process and the use of certified seed is the first critical step.

The reasons for the use of certified seed instead of home saved seed for beans were outlined, with certified seed giving the grower assurance that it has been grown, dried, stored, packed and handled to ensure that quality is maintained and impurities such as seed-borne diseases and the presence of harmful microscopic pests have been tested for.

Finally, Paul Bury, head malting barley breeder of Syngenta, Market Stainton, spoke about how yield improvements in malting barley breeding have come from improved environmental hardiness, with the focus in recent times to select for stress tolerance and yield stability traits.

The full Focus on Certified Seed feature and articles are available online through the Irish Farmers Journal website.

Focus on Certified Seed in Irish Farmers Journal

A Focus on Certified Seed featured in the Irish Farmers Journal on 22nd August 2015, with 8 pages of articles on the standards for certified seed in Ireland, plant breeding and royalties, the challenge of grass weeds, and the views of Irish cereal seed growers.

In Ireland, over 8000ha are dedicated each year to the production of Irish certified cereal seed, with the annual market for cereal seed at around 38,000 to 40,000 tonnes. The seed industry, together with the Irish Seed Trade Association which comprises representatives from the Department of Agriculture, the seed houses and seed assemblers, ensure that Ireland has the highest standards for its cereal seed in Europe.

These strict standards ensure the quality of Irish certified seed, assurance of its cleanliness, and guarantee each bag of seed is high in purity, has good germination capacity and is free from major pests and diseases. ISTA also operates a higher voluntary standard of zero tolerance for contaminants like wild oats, sterile brome and blackgrass.

Renowned plant breeder, Chris Tapsell, KWS, spoke about new varieties which are needed to improve characteristics for disease resistance, better grain quality and increase plant yield. Seed royalties, payable to plant breeders, are also a critical income generator for investment in the production of new varieties and new breeding capabilities. But the challenges going forward including increased complexity, expense, lack of new young plant breeders, the potential effects of global warming, water use efficiency and other environmental concerns. Indeed, the cost of producing a new variety has gone from £1m to £2m over the last 20 years.

The farming businesses of three certified seed producers who work to the high standards required for Irish certified seed were profiled in the publication. In Co. Cork, Liam Day from Ardnabourkey, Whitegate, said ‘it’s all about getting the most out of each acre that you farm, and paying attention to detail at all times’. Barley is the main crop grown, with winter wheat, oats, beet, maize, beans and grass and they have strict systems in place for crop/field hygiene to keep grain yields and quality high.

Ivan Hemeryck operates a large diverse tillage farm outside Lucan, Co. Dublin, growing potatoes, wheat, barley, oats, beans and oilseed rape. A strong supporter of certified seed and the variety evaluation system, he is always keen to incorporate new varieties that show improved yield potential and is currently preparing to plant the two parents to produce hybrid barley seed in 2016.

Outside Carlow town, Clive Bayley and his father Melvin grow fodder beet, and wheat, barley, oats, oilseed rape, spring beans, and gluten-free oats. Certified seed is a premium crop and he said ‘I need to be sure that the seed is pure and free of any contaminants that could, in turn, be an issue with imported seed or for the quality requirements of the final crop'.

Read the full Focus on Certified Seed 8 page spread in the Irish Farmers Journal out 22 August 2015.

24th August 2015

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.

All set for ISTA Open Day 2015 at Kildalton

Irish Seed Trade Association’s (ISTA) annual Open Day 2015 to visit the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine cereal trials, will take place on Tuesday 7th July 2015 at Kildalton College, Piltown, Co Kilkenny.

Attendees will be able to view the latest trial results from the crop varieties under evaluation; winter/spring barley, oats and wheat plus forage maize, oilseed rape and grass/clover varieties. The day will run from 9.30am to 2.30pm.

This yearly event brings together representatives from every aspect of cereal production including crop consultants, DAFM personnel, 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.

This is a well-attended event each year as ISTA members get the opportunity to view varieties coming up for full recommendation on the Department of Agriculture Recommended List. It also offers the opportunity to view new varieties that have recently entered the evaluation process.

According to Jim Gibbons, ISTA Vice President, ‘viewing the Department evaluation trials is our opportunity as an industry to evaluate potential varieties for the future. The work undertaken by the Department is the basis of ensuring new varieties are fit for purpose under Irish conditions and will stand up to unique disease challenges cereal growers face here’.

The spotlight will be on new spring barley, winter barley and winter wheat 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.

6th July 2015

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