Low disease pressure at Ballyderown Cereal Trials

The 2018 Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) hosted their annual crop variety trials open day at the DAFM crop evaluation centre at Ballyderown Farm, Kilworth, Co. Cork. In 2018, there are 347 crop varieties completing their evaluation period.

John Joe Byrne, Agricultural Inspector (AI) for the Crops Evaluation and Certification Division highlighted the importance that the cereal variety evaluation system plays in bringing new improved varieties to Irish growers for a range of end uses.

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 also 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.

Angela Ryan, Assistant Agricultural Inspector (AAI) stated that despite spring crops being sown in tough conditions, overall it has been a year of low disease pressure across all of their evaluation sites.

Seamus Kearney, AAI based at Ballyderown Farm did however emphasize that every year presents new challenges. He discussed that while disease pressure in the spring crops are down so are the potential yields, running the risk that protein levels will rise. In a commercial situation this would have a significant impact on crops harvested for malting.  

ISTA President, Jim Gibbons closed proceedings by reiterating the importance of the trial work being undertaken on various other sites around the country by the Department including Backweston, Kildalton, Athenry, Raphoe and also on 25 commercial farms.

Michael Moloney, Head of Crops Evaluation and Certification Division also concluded that trialling varieties at a scale which gives an accurate picture of variety performance would not be possible without the help and support of commercial growers.

Additional Information:

In 2018, DAFM are evaluating 175 cereal varieties, 105 grass and clover varieties, 25 winter oilseed rape varieties, 20 forage maize varieties, 14 potato varieties and 8 spring bean varieties.