IJAFR, Volume 57, 2018
A critical review of integrated grass weed management in Ireland(Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2018-04-10)Grass weeds affect arable crops throughout the world, inflicting yield penalties, reducing crop quality and taking available nutrients away from the growing crop. Recently in Ireland, the presence of herbicide resistance in grass weeds has been noted. In order to preserve the sustainability of crop production in Ireland, an integrated pest management approach must be implemented. How this applies to control grass weeds was the focus of this review. Here we examined the state of current research into grass weed biology and the nature of herbicide resistance, identifying gaps in research in the Irish context. We identified a number of cultural grass weed control techniques, as being relevant to the Irish mode of crop production. Crop rotation, cultivation techniques, manipulation of sowing dates and increased crop competition were recognised as useful strategies. Combining these strategies to provide effective grass weed control may be key to reduce dependence on herbicides.
A comparison of husked and naked oats under Irish conditions(Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2018-02-22)During the harvesting of husked oats (Avena sativa L.), the kernel remains tightly enclosed by a lignified lemma and palea, collectively termed the husk or hull. In naked oats, which are the same species as husked oats, the lemma is much less lignified and the kernel threshes free during harvesting. The absence of the largely indigestible husk increases the nutritive value of naked oats compared to that of husked oats, particularly for non-ruminants and poultry. There is little information regarding the potential of naked oats as an arable crop in Ireland. The objective of this study was to determine the productivity of naked oats under Irish conditions. Field experiments were carried out in the south east of Ireland to compare the grain yield and grain quality of both autumn-sown and spring-sown naked and husked oat cultivars. Grain yield of naked oat cultivars was significantly lower than that of husked oat cultivars, irrespective of whether they were autumn sown or spring sown. However, when the kernel yield of husked oat cultivars was estimated, differences in yield between the two types were much smaller, and in some cases, kernel yield of naked oat cultivars exceeded that of husked oat cultivars. Grain quality, as indicated by hectolitre weight and grain N concentration, was generally greater for naked oat cultivars than for husked oat cultivars. It is concluded that under Irish conditions, naked oats have the potential to produce kernel yields equivalent to husked oats. The grain produced is of high quality and may be particularly suited for the nutrition of non-ruminants.
Ethical, moral and social dimensions in farm production practices: a segmentation study to assess Irish consumers’ perceptions of meat quality(Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2018-03-09)Growing consumer concerns with modern farming and food production systems indicate a significant market opportunity for meat production practices that consider ethical, moral and social value traits. In the current study, we aimed to identify and characterise distinct segments of Irish consumers based on their perceptions of the quality of meat from different farm-level production practices (organic farming, high animal welfare standards, free range farming, and “natural”, treatment-free feeding regimes). An online survey was carried out with 251 Irish meat consumers. Using cluster analysis, we identified three distinct segments: “Target consumers”, “Purist consumers” and “Disinterested consumers”. Chi-square analyses revealed differences between the segments based on gender, age and meat-purchasing motivations. The results provide insight into the opportunities that exist for exploring new viable market segments as well as for engaging Irish consumers and empowering them with information around the ethical, social and moral aspects of farm-level practices related to meat production.
Insect assemblages and their preference for Lupinus albus and L. luteus(Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2018-05-23)While lupin has undergone extensive research to ascertain its suitability for growth as forage or grain legume crop, the present trend is for research to be centered on its applicability in the seed protein and oil industry. Study of the literature showed that no intensive study of the lupin insect fauna had been carried out in Bulgaria. The purpose of this study was to identify the insect assemblages associated with Lupinus albus and L. luteus, as well as the insect preference for them. Thrips sampling was made by the tapping-method, aphids were directly counted on the plants and the composition and population density of other species were recorded by sweepings. Insect fauna was studied for the first time in Bulgaria. The fauna was represented on L. albus by 64 species, belonging to eight orders, 28 families and 57 genera, including 23 beetles, 25 hemipteras, five thrips, three butterflies, three bees, one leaf aphid, two grasshoppers, one leafminer and one green lacewing. L. luteus had similar species composition but was less preferred by insects. The use of lupin cultivars with shorter and intense reproductive periods, with a lower content of crude protein and phosphorus, would give an environmentally friendly protection against insect pests, which would be suitable for an organic production system.