CROOKSTOWN was the venue chosen this week as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, officially launched the 2017 Recommended List of Grass and White Clover Varieties.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine carries out the national Crop Variety Evaluation Programme with new crop varieties of the principal crop species evaluated for suitability for cultivation in Ireland. Only crop varieties that offer superior performance over existing varieties for Irish farmers are approved and published in the annual Recommended List of Varieties.
This national programme run by the Department and involving extensive testing and trialling of varieties is one of the reasons why the evaluation programme here receives such strong support from both industry and breeders alike and provides farmers with varieties ideally suited to Irish conditions.
Speaking on a visit to the farm of Michael Bateman, Crookstown, near Macroom, Minister Creed said: ‘Grass is central to our efficient dairy and livestock systems and it is essential for the continued competitiveness of the sector that farmers have access to the newest high performing grass varieties. It is particularly appropriate that, in this the designated Year of Sustainable Grassland, the Recommended List of Grasses and Clovers contains essential information for farmers on the economic value of grass as indicated by the Pasture Profit Index.’
The Minister explained that the Year of Sustainable Grassland initiative supports the goals of Food Wise 2025 strategy and aims at raising awareness on the critical role that grass plays in supporting competitive dairy and livestock production: ‘These sectors possess a significant cost advantage in the form of an environmentally-sustainable, rain-fed, grass based production system. It is this grass-based system that provides Ireland with its comparative advantage in increasingly-competitive international markets.’ A number of initiatives have already been run under the year of Sustainable Grassland initiative including a grass-focused campaign in January of this year called ‘Grass 10,’ launched by Teagasc, who will also run a ‘Grassland Farmer of the Year’ competition.
• The recommended list is available for free download from the ‘Publications’ section on the Department’s website: www.agriculture.gov.ie