• Examining the Relative Competitiveness of Irish Agriculture (1996 – 2003/4)

      Thorne, Fiona (Teagasc, 2007-01-01)
      This paper examines the competitiveness of Irish agriculture compared to that of other EU and non-EU countries. The analysis was based on two main data sources – the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) for years 1996-2003 and the International Farm Comparisons Network (IFCN) for 2003 for beef production and for 2004 for milk production. Results showed that the Irish competitive position compared to other EU and non-EU countries was positive when total cash costs were considered indicating a positive outlook for Irish milk production in the short to medium term. However, as the opportunity costs of owned resources are not included in ‘cash cost’ calculations, total economic costs which include imputed charges for owned resources were considered to examine the longer term outlook for the competitiveness of the sector. Using this measure, the competitive ranking for Irish agriculture slipped relative to the other countries. It was found that the main reason for the relatively high economic costs on Irish farms was due to the high imputed land and labour costs. These findings could be considered as a warning signal for the future competitive performance for the average sized Irish farm. However, based on FADN data the competitive position of ‘larger’ Irish dairy farms (in the 50-99 dairy cow size category) did manage to maintain their competitive position within Europe even when total economic costs were considered. Hence, it could be concluded that part of the explanation of the deterioration of competitive ranking for the average Irish dairy farm when total economic costs are considered relates to the relatively low scale of primary agricultural activity in Ireland during this period.
    • Exploration of flowering control in Lolium perenne L.

      Byrne, Stephen; Mur, Luis AJ; Donnisson, Iain; Guiney, Emma (Teagasc, 01/08/2009)
      Flowering or heading in Lolium perenne (perennial ryegrass) is induced by a period of vernalization, followed by long days at higher temperatures. When heading occurs there is a reduction in the feed quality of the forage and therefore extending the period of vegetative growth or eliminating heading during the growing season will improve the potential of perennial ryegrass in agriculture. Conversely, a better control of flowering time and increased heading will lead to higher seed yield for commercial producers. The aim of this project was to investigate the underlying genetic control of flowering time in perennial ryegrass. An F1 population was created by crosspollinating two lines with different heading dates and a genetic linkage map was constructed using Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) markers. The population and genetic linkage map was then used to identify Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) associated with heading date, spike length and spikelets per spike. A number of QTL were identified for all traits, some of which had not previously been identified in perennial ryegrass. A Suppression Subtractive Hybridization (SSH) study was also employed to identify genes differentially expressed between an extremely late flowering line and earlier flowering sibling line. Expression analysis of a number of identified genes through floral induction was performed using real time RT-PCR. This revealed a number of transcripts with expression profiles indicative of a role to play in floral induction.
    • Extending the season for prime lamb production from grass

      Grennan, Eamonn J. (Teagasc, 2001-01-01)
      In recent years there has been some interest shown by exporters in acquiring younger lambs than those remaining from the normal springlambing flocks involved in mid-season or store lamb production systems, to supply niche markets in the November to February period. Lambing ewes later in the year, i.e. April to June, offers an opportunity to supply such niche markets with younger lamb. Two farmlet systems were each operated over two years with 59 to 69 ewes on 4.5 ha of pasture in an all-grass production system. The objectives were: to assess the overall performance of flocks in late-lambing systems, to monitor lamb growth rates and drafting pattern, to monitor carcass quality in terms of weight, conformation and fatscore, and to identify any difficulties that may be associated with late lambing systems.
    • Extending the shelf life of fresh sliced mushrooms

      Brennan, Martine H.; Gormley, Ronan T.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Teagasc, 1998-08)
      The Irish mushroom industry is expanding rapidly as is the demand for sliced mushrooms. To increase the competitiveness of Irish mushrooms for export their shelf life should be extended to compensate for the time lost in transit. The aim of this project was to extend the shelf life of sliced mushrooms by 50 % using novel processing treatments and / or packaging. A method was established to assess the effects of different treatments on mushroom quality. This method was followed using solutions of citric acid, hydrogen peroxide, EDTA, nisin, diacetyl, vitamin E, ascorbic acid, rosemary extracts and sodium metabisulphite.
    • Extension of the season of production and quality improvement of a range of vegetable crops.

      Murphy, Richard J.; Cullen, William (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
      The use of modules for propagation together with growing aids such as plastic covers after transplanting has brought forward significantly the start of the harvest season and improved yield and quality of several important brassicas including swede, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. These container grown plants (modules) enables crops to be grown for part of the life cycle under protection in early spring and transplanted outside in March/April when conditions become favourable.
    • Factors Affecting the Cleanliness of Cattle Housed in Buildings wiith Concrete Slatted Floors.

      Fallon, Richard J.; Lenehan, J.J. (Teagasc, 2002-01-01)
      From a series of experiments at Grange Research Centre, cattle were cleanest at housing in the autumn, however, within 3 to 4 weeks of housing on concrete slats and fed with a diet of grass silage, cattle were dirtiest, with the majority of the cattle in category 4 or 5. Cattle tended to be cleaner in the late March, early April period as they shed their winter hair coat. Cattle fed concentrates plus straw were significantly cleaner at slaughter compared to similar cattle offered grass silage plus concentrates. Cattle housed indoor on slats during the summer were cleaner than cattle on similar diet and accommodation during the winter. High dry matter silage produced cleaner cattle than did low dry matter silages. Back and tail clipping of cattle at the commencement of the winter finishing period did not have any positive effect on cleanliness score or liveweight gain when the cattle were accommodated in well ventilated slatted floor houses. A survey of 19 farms specialising in finishing cattle failed to show any correlation between stocking density, solid floor area or level of concentrate feeding on the cleanliness of finishing cattle. A survey of 36 finishing units, designated as producers of "clean" or "dirty" cattle at slaughter, found that units with clean cattle had houses which were in general well ventilated, had A-type roofs with an open ridge outlet and in general the grass silage offered was a higher dry matter. In contrast, finishing units with dirty cattle tended to be poorly ventilated and the grass silage offered had a lower dry matter. Overall in the survey cattle cleanliness score was not affected by stocking density (2.0m 2 3.8m 2) or the proportion of solid floor area in the pen. Cattle accommodated on gang slats were dirtier than those accommodated on single slats.
    • Factors affecting the composition and use of camelina

      Crowley, J.G.; Frohlich, A. (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
      Camelina (Camelina sativa), a member of the mustard family, is a summer annual oilseed plant. Winter hardy types also exist. False flax and Gold of Pleasure are the popular common names for the crop. The crop was widely grown in Eastern Europe and Russia up to the early 1940’s but was replaced with the introduction and widespread use of oilseed rape. The revival of interest in camelina oil is due to its high linolenic acid (38%) content. Linolenic acid is one of the OMEGA-3 fatty acids which are generally found in substantial quantities only in linseed and fish oils. Camelina offers an opportunity to supply the growing demand for high quality edible oils rich in OMEGA-3 fatty acids. A three year study established that camelina is a very suitable crop to grow in Ireland, producing 2.5 t/ha of high quality seed (42-47%) with no agrochemical inputs required. The oil contains 35 to 40% linolenic acid compared to 8% in rape and soya oils. The oil does not deteriorate during refining or storage and can be used in a number of oil based products such as spreads and salad dressings.
    • Factors affecting the yield of winter lupins.

      Crowley, J.G. (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
      The white lupin (Lupinus albus) is a temperate legume whose seed contains high levels of protein (36-44%), oil (10-16%) and high quality dietary fibre in the dry matter. Modern varieties contain extremely low levels of alkaloids (<0.01%) and no anti-nutritional factors. Thus their composition is more similar to soya bean than peas and beans, which contain much less protein (23-27%) and no oil. Nitrogen fixation by autumn-sown, determinate varieties is large (ca. 300 kg/ha) and harvest index for nitrogen is high (more than 85% of the crop N is recovered in the grain). Lupins also have the ability to release phosphorus and iron from mineral sources in the soil. These two characteristics make the winter lupin crop an ideal choice as a low input alternative crop, particularly in nitrogen-sensitive areas. Attempts to introduce spring-sown lupins have failed, mainly due to low yield potential, poor yield stability and late harvest. The release of the first winterhardy determinate varieties by French breeders in 1994 promised the first real chance of success. The successful introduction of lupins offers the possibility of reducing soya bean imports and replacing it with a high-quality, home-grown protein source, with the added advantage of traceability. Autumn-sown lupins are capable of producing satisfactory yields (3.7-4.5 t/ha). The crop does require careful management, i.e. early sowing (by mid-September), at the correct seed rate (100 kg/ha), into well-structured free-draining soil and with a pH below 7. Sown in early September, the crop will mature from late August to mid-September.
    • Factors Affecting Yield and Quality of Oats.

      Burke, James I.; Browne, R.; White, E.M. (Teagasc, 2001-05-01)
      Quality evaluation of oats relies primarily on hectolitre weight and, while it is an important characteristic, work carried out at Oak Park and elsewhere has shown that it does not accurately measure grain quality. Consequently, the selection of oat lots and varieties which have a high milling value has been limited, as present techniques fail to accurately determine the characteristics most closely related to milling quality. In this regard the kernel content and the ease of husk removal, termed the hullability, are the most important. This study has developed a new test for assessing oat kernel content, which is more rapid and cheaper than techniques currently available. Despite its obvious importance, oat hullability has not been assessed to date in quality evaluation due to the absence of a test procedure. However, this obstacle has now been overcome. The results of this work also provide a much better understanding of how hullability of individual varieties can be assessed, as well as investigating how this could be manipulated at field level. Using the methods developed, the selection of varieties with enhanced processing characteristics can now be carried out more precisely for Irish conditions. The field trials conducted to evaluate the effect of agronomic practices on quality indicated that the effect of factors such as nitrogen rate and seed rate was small in comparison to variety, which had the largest and most consistent effect. The variation in quality could not be completely explained by variation in the panicle characteristics studied. Increasing the nitrogen rate increased yield with the optimum being 160 kg N/ha in 1998 and 1999. However, lodging became a very significant factor at nitrogen rates above 100 kg N/ha in 1998, although it did not occur in 1999. This work supports the current Teagasc nitrogen recommendations for oats where levels of 110-140 kg N/ha (Soil Index 1) are advised.
    • Factors Shaping Expenditure on Food-Away-from-Home in Irish and UK Households

      Keelan, Conor; Henchion, Maeve; Newman, Carol; Downey, Gerard; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, 01/10/2009)
      Factors influencing consumer spending in two sectors of the food-away-from-home (FAFH) market (quick-service e.g. takeaways, and full-service e.g. restaurants) were analysed using national household expenditure survey data. Different variables affect expenditure in the two sectors in different ways. Income has a greater effect on expenditure in the full-service sector than in the quick-service sector. Similarly households that are health-conscious indicate a greater preference for full-service meals while households which place more value on time (and therefore are more convenience-oriented) indicate a greater preference for quick-service. Households of a higher social class and those with higher education levels also appear to favour full-service expenditure. In addition, younger, urbanised households favour quickservice meal options. The results emphasise the merits of analysing different sectors within the FAFH market separately.
    • Factors shaping expenditure on meat and prepared meals

      Newman, Carol; Henchion, Maeve; Matthews, Alan (Teagasc, 2002-02)
      The factors shaping Irish households' expenditure decisions on meat and prepared meals are analysed using the two most recent datasets of the Irish Household Budget Survey (1987/8 and 1994/5). The motivation for the research stems from the changing pattern of food consumption, leading to a decline in the importance of price and income factors, and a simultaneous increase in the significance of socio-demographic factors, assumed to underpin consumers' tastes and preferences. Irish households' expenditure patterns on all meat, specific meat categories and prepared meals are analysed using tobit, double-hurdle and infrequency of purchase models.
    • Farm Facilities On Small - Medium Type Dairy Farms.

      Gleeson, David E (Teagasc, 2000-11-01)
      82 % of farms with milk quota < 54,552 litres have bucket/pipeline milking plants. • There were a high percentage of milking machine faults on the farms surveyed. • Fragmented land portions are more likely to limit dairy expansion than farm size. • 60% of farms had beef buildings suitable for conversion to dairy housing • 88 % of farms had adequate cubicle spaces for present cow numbers • The cost of purchasing milk quota was considered to be the biggest factor restricting expansion. • 67 % of farms with quota > 54,552 litres are joined REPS. • 51 % of farms had dairies registered under dairy hygiene regulations. • Milk bulk tank size would limit dairy expansion without investment in larger static tanks. • The number of cows to fill milk quota is better matched in the higher quota category. • The length of the working day was 12.7 hrs/day for an average herd size of 23 cows. • Estimated cost of extra facilities per farm to allow for scaling up in milk production from 90,920-181,840 litres is £33,760
    • Farm Forestry: Land Availability, Take-up Rates and Economics.

      Frawley, J.P.; Leavy, Anthony (Teagasc, 2001-02-01)
      Of the Member States in the European Union Ireland has the lowest proportion of land area covered by forest. Given the large surpluses of agricultural commodities and expected future increases in farm productivity, less land resources will be needed to produce EU food requirements. The Irish government has, therefore, adopted a target to plant 25,000 ha of new forest annually to the year 2000 and thereafter a target of 20,000 ha annually. Substantial incentives to promote afforestation are in place, but with the exception of 1995, the area of land planted has been considerably below target. The objectives of this study is to examine (i) the availability of land for afforestation, (ii) the factors which impede or promote the uptake of forestry and (iii) the relative economic returns from forestry in a farm context. The availability of land via the market has steadily diminished between 1990 and 1998. The area of agricultural land sold in the period fell from 33,282 ha to 8,656 ha, a fall of 74 per cent. At the same time average price increased from £3,964 per ha to £6,865, an increase of 72 per cent. Surveys of the opinions of landholders indicate that attitudes toward afforestation are becoming more positive in the 1990s. This is reflected in a substantial increase in the area of farm forestry during the decade. However, a survey of opinions of farmers who had already planted forestry indicated a perception that it is not a suitable replacement for conventional farm enterprises on `good' farmland. Land planted in 78 per cent of sites in this survey was previously utilised as either summer grazing or rough grazing. The principal motivation for planting was the favourable returns to forestry on land that had limited alternative use. The relative economic returns of forestry in comparison with farm enterprises such as dairying and cattle were assessed post CAP reform (2007), using linear programming techniques. Scenarios involved alternative uses of the farm resources such as extensive/intensive land use, forestry/no forestry and off farm job/no off farm job. The objective was to examine the profitability of forestry on farms in situations in which livestock enterprises qualified for REPS and extensification payments and in which off farm jobs were (a) not available and (b) available at different wage levels. Non economic considerations, such as the perceived unsuitability of forestry as a replacement for agricultural enterprises on `good' land and the irrevocability of the decision to plant forestry could, come into play. In order to reflect these non-economic considerations, together with the higher risk associated with investment by individuals, a high discount rate (10%) was used in calculating returns to forestry. The analysis shows that in situations in which off farm jobs are either not available or are available at a low wage level, extensification and REPS payments enable efficient livestock enterprises to compete with forestry. In these situations forestry is a profit maximiser only on farms which have surplus land, having first qualified for both extensification and REPS on existing livestock enterprises. However, the availability of off farm earnings at or near the industrial wage rate leads to increases in the forestry area, sometimes to the exclusion of cattle enterprises. Economic criteria therefore could mean that large areas of land could be transferred to forestry from conventional agriculture in the post 1999 CAP reform situation. Economics may not, however, be the most appropriate arbiter of such a decision.
    • A Farm Scale integrated constructed wetland to treat farmyard dirty water.

      Dunne, E.; Culleton, Noel; O'Donovan, Grace; Harrington, Rory (Teagasc, 2005-01-01)
      In Ireland, the use of constructed wetlands to manage agricultural waters such as farm yard dirty water has been primarily based on an ecosystems approach. Integrated constructed wetlands, which are a design specific approach of conventional surface flow constructed wetlands, were first used in the Anne Valley, Waterford, Ireland (Harrington and Ryder, 2002). At present, 13 farms in the Anne Valley catchment use integrated constructed wetlands to manage farmyard dirty water (Harrington et al., 2004). Fundamental to their design is water quality improvement, landscape fit (designing the wetland into the topography of the landscape) and that the wetland provides an ecological habitat within the agricultural landscape. Typically, integrated constructed wetlands have greater land area requirements than conventional surface flow constructed wetlands in order to provide for these other fundamental ecological services. Few studies (Ryan, 1990) have addressed the issue of quality and quantity of farmyard dirty generated at farm-scales in Ireland. No studies were readily available documenting the effectiveness of a farm-scale constructed or integrated constructed wetland in Ireland to remove nutrients such as phosphorus (P) from dairy farmyard dirty water on a mass basis. To address such, the main objectives of this research were to (i) determine the quality and quantity of farmyard dirty water generated at a farm-scale (ii) determine the effectiveness of three treatment cells of an integrated constructed wetland to treat farmyard dirty, using the difference between input and output mass loadings, (iii) investigate if there were seasonal effects in the wetland’s performance to retain phosphorus, and (iv) assess the impact of the integrated constructed wetland on the receiving environment by monitoring soil-water parameter concentrations up gradient, down gradient and within the wetland system using piezometers at different soil depths.
    • The Farmland Wildlife Survey – raising awareness of wildlife habitats

      Gabbett, Mairead; Finn, John; The Heritage Council (Teagasc, 01/08/2005)
      The Farmland Wildlife Survey involved a short visit (about 3 hours) to 19 REPS demonstration farms, and an identification of habitats and wildlife on each farm, with an emphasis on common farmland habitats such as hedgerows, ponds, watercourses, field margins, woodland, plant species and other areas of wildlife value. The survey results were provided to the farmer and Teagasc REPS advisor as a report with colour pictures of representative habitats, and an explanation of why these habitats were important for wildlife.
    • The Farmland Wildlife Survey –raising awareness of wildlife habitats.

      Gabbett, Mairead; Finn, John (Teagasc, 2005-08-01)
      The Farmland Wildlife Survey aims to support the wildlife objectives of the REPS and communicate a greater awareness of wildlife to farmers. The Farmland Wildlife Survey was conducted on 19 farms that form part of the national network of demonstration farms for farmers who participate in the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS). At each farm, an ecologist conducted a survey that identified existing wildlife areas on the farm. The survey highlighted the existing management practices that were beneficial to wildlife, and pointed out any management practices that could be changed or adopted to be more beneficial. The Wildlife Survey also focused on common wildlife habitats on each farm, such as hedgerows, ponds, watercourses, field margins, woodland, mature trees and farmyard features of wildlife value. The attitudes and beliefs of the farmers were investigated with a short questionnaire. All farmers in the project farmed with some degree of sensitivity and consideration for wildlife and farm habitats. While most of the farmers were quite aware of farmland wildlife before joining REPS, most credited REPS for an increased awareness of the needs of wildlife in the farmed landscape. Most of the farmers believed there is a need for improved provision of information about identity and management of farmland habitats and wildlife. The outcome of the farm survey was provided to each farmer as a short report with colour pictures of relevant wildlife features on their farm. The results of the survey were also summarised in a leaflet for distribution to farmers who visit the REPS demonstration farms. Feedback on the farm visit or in subsequent comment cards was very positive. REPS planners have found the reports useful and interesting. In addition, some Teagasc REPS advisors are using the reports as part of farmer training visits to the demonstration farms. In this way, the Farmland Wildlife Survey complements wildlife objectives of the REPS and promotes a greater awareness of wildlife amongst farmers.
    • Feeding Prolific Ewes in Late Pregnancy and Rearing Triplet Lambs.

      Grennan, Eamonn J. (Teagasc, 2002-06-01)
      In prolific flocks a significant proportion of ewes give birth to 3 or more lambs. It was considered that the birth weight of triplet lambs, and also of twins, could be increased by offering ewes a higher than normal level of concentrate supplementation in late pregnancy. Trials for the evaluation of rates of supplementation were conducted during the years 2000 and 2001. In-wintered ewes were offered silage ad libitum. Based on scanning results groups of twin-bearing (twins) and triplet-bearing (triplets) mature ewes were offered one of three rates of supplementation in late pregnancy. The lower rate in each case was set at a level considered appropriate for twins or triplets. Two groups of twin-bearing hoggets were offered either a low or high rate of supplementation. Average silage intake over the last 6 weeks of pregnancy was 0.8 to 0.9 kg dry matter per day. Intake by triplets was about 95 percent of that by twins, while intake by triplets at the high rate of supplementation was 90 percent of that at the low rate. Total dry matter and metabolisable energy intakes were increased by supplementation. Triplets had significantly lower condition score than twins at lambing but the rate of supplementation did not affect condition score. Average condition score of all ewes decreased by 0.6 units between mid pregnancy and lambing, a decline that is considered acceptable.Average birth weight of triplet lambs was about 1 kg lower than for twins from mature ewes. The high rate of supplementation increased the birth weight of twins by 0.51 kg and triplets by 0.26 kg. Birth weight of twins from hoggets was not affected by the rates of supplementation offered. The rearing of triplet lambs by their dam, rather than cross fostering or artificial rearing the third lamb, may be a useful option in prolific flocks. Previous research findings showed that triplets were reared successfully by selected ewes when the ewes were offered concentrate supplementation for 4 to 6 weeks at pasture post lambing, and the lambs received creep feed from birth to sale. Trials were carried out over two years to assess the response to concentrate supplementation of ewes at pasture post lambing and creep feeding lambs with a view to reducing the quantity and cost of concentrates for rearing triplet lambs. Concentrates at 1 kg/ewe/day were offered to ewes at pasture for 3 or 6 weeks post lambing. Creep feed was available to lambs from week 1 and offered at one of three rates : 300g/day to age 10 weeks: 300 g/day to sale, or 600 g/day to sale. Lambs were drafted for sale by weight and condition and carcasses were classified according to MLC standards. There was no response to feeding concentrates to ewes for 6 weeks rather than 3 weeks in this situation when grass supply was considered adequate. Weaning weight was increased by offering creep feed to lambs to 14 rather than 10 weeks. All lambs were finished to acceptable carcass weights and grades. The main effect of continuing creep feeding lambs to sale was to reduce the average age at sale. The medium and high levels of creep reduced the average age at sale by 20 and 45 days respectively compared with the low rate. However the total quantity of concentrates offered per ewe plus 3 lambs was about 60, 120 and 180 kg for the vi low, medium and high rates of creep respectively, including 21 kg concentrates for the ewes post lambing.
    • Feeding Techniques to Increase Calf Growth in the First Two Months of Life

      Fallon, Richard J.; Morrison, Steven; Dawson, L.; Twigge, J. (Teagasc, 2008-01-01)
      Data from Cornell University and the University of Illinois in the USA suggested that average daily liveweight gains of 900 to 1000 g/calf/day could be achieved from birth to weaning provided the calf milk replacer (CMR) is formulated to meet the calf’s amino acid requirements for such a rate of gain. Their findings suggested a daily milk replacer DM allowance of 1250 to 1500 g/d with a crude protein content of 26 to 30%. A series of studies were undertaken, at ARINI with home born dairy calves and at Grange Beef Research Centre with purchased dairy calves, to determine the effect of increasing the daily milk replacer DM allowance and or increasing the crude protein content of the CMR on calf performance. The main outcomes of these studies were  There was no growth or intake response in any of the studies to increasing the crude protein content of the CMP from 23% to 28%.  Calf growth rates responded to increasing the dailymilk replacer allowance from 600 to 1200 g/day for both home bred and purchased calves. However, the effect was not significant post-weaning in any of the studies.  In all of the studies (for both home reared and purchased calves) feeding a high level of CMRdecreased concentrate DM intake. However, the calves concentrate intakes were similar post-weaning.  The home bred calves with free access to the milk replacer feeders failed to consume their 1200 g/day allowance. Calves offered 600 or 1200 g of CMR/day had average consumption of 554 and 944 g/d, respectively, in the milk feeding period.  Feeding a high (1200 g/d) compared to a low level (600 g/d) CMRdiet for the first 56 days had no significant effect on carcass weight or carcass characteristics when purchased male calves were slaughtered off an ad libitum concentrate diet after 388 days. The final carcass weights were 231 and 240 kg for the respective 600 and 1200 g/d CMR.  Reducing the fat content of the CMRfrom 18% to 12% did not have any effect on concentrate intake or liveweight gain.
    • Field Performance and Quality of Hybrid Winter Wheat.

      Burke, James I.; Hackett, Richard; Tiernan, P. (Teagasc, 2002-10-01)
      An assessment of hybrid winter wheat was carried out over three seasons to determine the commercial potential of hybrid varieties under Irish conditions. The studies examined the effects of reduced seeding rate on hybrid grain yield and quality in comparison to pure-line varieties. A comparison of the hybrid varieties available was also carried out and the higher yielding hybrids were then compared with the best pure-line varieties in terms of grain yield and quality, and response to fungicide. The results indicated that in good sowing conditions hybrids can give greater yields than pure-line varieties at reduced seeding rates, but the effect is not large or consistent. There was generally no effect of seeding rate on the grain quality of hybrid varieties but crop lodging occurred in one season at high seeding rates. Of the hybrid varieties examined, Mercury and Hyno Esta were the two better varieties in terms of grain yield; there was little difference between the hybrids examined in terms of grain quality. The best hybrid varieties did not give consistently higher yields or quality than the best pure-line varieties and exhibited a similar response to fungicide application as the pure-line varieties. It is concluded that when the price differential between seed of pure-line varieties and hybrid varieties is taken into account, the winter wheat hybrid varieties currently available do not offer any economic advantages to commercial growers at the present time.
    • Field Performance of Winter Lupins.

      Crowley, J.G. (Teagasc, 2001-07-01)
      The yield potential of winter lupins is of the order of 3.5–4.5 t/ha. However, this potential is very dependent on sowing during the optimum sowing window of approximately fifteen days. Crops sown between the 11 and 26 September gave the highest yields. However, there can be significant variation around this date which cannot be predicted in advance. This became very evident in crops sown in autumn 2000, where the Rothamsted model identified the 4-19 September as the optimum sowing date. This fact creates a serious risk for the commercial exploitation of winter lupins. Maximum yields are achieved at a plant density of between 20 and 29 plants/m2 in spring. Higher plant densities can result in lodging and a loss in yield. Using the recommended seed rate of 40 seeds/m2, equivalent to 98 kg/ha, will ensure the correct plant density over a wide range of conditions. Pest and diseases are not a serious problem in winter lupin production. The only serious pest, Bean Seed Fly, is easily controlled by routine use of an insecticide before sowing. Yellow Rust, which attacks the crop occasionally, can be adequately controlled by two fungicides, Alto and Folicur. Winter lupins should be grown on light to medium well-drained soils only. Sowing on heavy or poorly drained soils can result in very high seedling losses over the winter period, and can also seriously delay the natural maturation process in lupins, resulting in a late September harvest. The variety Ludet proved to be the best all round variety in these trials. It combines good yield potential with a relatively early harvest. New varieties are required which are less sensitive to sowing date before winter lupins can be regarded as a safe reliable crop for commercial production.