Grass breeding is a long and complex business. It takes up to seven to 10 years to complete stage one and after that there are a series of tests that must be completed for five years before it heads to the final stage for commercialisation of varieties. Pat Conaghan is the man responsible with leading forage breeding for Teagasc. He is based at Oak Park and this is where the Teagasc research and development on grass varieties takes place.
Teagasc Oak Park focuses solely on stage one – the grass variety development. It has a huge amount of resources tied up to complete this process. Each year, there are over 3,000 sward plots sown in between crops of cereals at Oak Park to prevent grass pollen moving from one variety to the next.