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Teagasc National Crops Forum 2019.

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The Teagasc National Crops Forum, which took place in Naas, Co Kildare yesterday, Tuesday, 10 September, focused on the potential changes to the CAP rules and payments in the coming years, and challenges facing farmers to control Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) in cereals this year.

The Crops Forum addressed the potential new rule changes coming in the next couple of years as part of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Presentations from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) addressed the overall context of the proposals for the direct payments and environmental areas. Fran Morrin from the Department of Agriculture, stressed final details were unlikely to be fully known until next year. He said; “the new regime will not have a reference period and the current entitlement numbers would remain the same in the new scheme”. When asked Fran said that the current rules would roll into a “transition regulation” phase as a bridge between the current rules and the new system.

Jack Nolan, Department of Agriculture, focused on the environmental part of the new proposals.

“The Greening regulations will not totally disappear, rather parts of them emerge in the Eco-scheme, where Ireland will have a greater say in the potential options which are more suitable to the Irish farmer, but these options must have a positive and measurable impact for the environment and/or climate” he said. Jack stressed the Department are looking for the tillage industry, including farmers, to make submissions to inform the Irish strategic plan for the CAP post 2020 measures.

Michael Hennessy, Head of Crops Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc said; “The loss of agronomic tools such as Deter, an insecticide, and chlorothalonil, a fungicide, has forced farmers to rely more heavily on the genetic potential of the variety and also clever non chemical tactics to plug the gaps”. “Selection of the correct varieties and delaying planting will help to boost control of key problems in winter cereals,”

he added.

John Joe Byrne, from the Department of Agriculture variety testing division said;

“Useful data on disease resistance, straw strength, sprouting, grain quality and yield was collected from the winter wheat variety trials. However no variety stood out as the complete package, so the advice to growers is to consider a mix of varieties to spread risk”.

Dr Steve Foster, Rothamsted Research in the UK, commented on varieties in the context of BYDV and said; “there are varieties with very useful BYDV tolerance on the near horizon for growers”. Dr Foster, in a note of caution, said that the loss of the insecticide seed dressing will place added burden onto the existing pyrethroid insecticides with the most likely outcome an increase in resistant aphids.

Ciaran Collins, Teagasc, said;

“A good strategy to reduce BYDV for 2019 is to reduce the exposure of early planted winter cereals to the virus by either planting more non-cereal crops, planting winter cereals a little later or switching to an increased level of spring crops. In 2019 growers witnessed swings of over 3 tonnes per hectare from one field to another, with BYDV seen as a major contributing factor,” he said. “Later planting is a major tool to control overall BYDV levels alongside the sparing use of insecticides,”

he added.

All of the forum presentations are available on www.teagasc.ie/publications