New €2.1m Teagasc horticulture facility opens
The Teagasc Development of new Horticulture, Forestry and Education Facilities at its campus in Ashtown, Dublin, was officially opened on Thursday by Junior Minister for Agriculture Andrew Doyle.

More than €2.1m has been invested in Teagasc’s horticulture facilities including a modern glasshouse, a turf grass academy, a horticultural utility building, a large multi-span forestry polytunnel and additional polytunnels and structures.

The other primary piece of infrastructure on the site is the mushroom research unit which has 100 square metres of growing area to support a dedicated mushroom research programme.

The investment followed a decision taken to close the Teagasc Kinsealy campus and horticulture, forestry and education activities moved to the Ashtown campus. The investment was funded through the disposal of Teagasc assets and Teagasc funding from the Government.

Land-use sectors

“Horticulture and forestry are becoming increasingly more important land-use sectors in Ireland,” Teagasc chair Dr Noel Cawley said.

“The Ashtown campus, through this and previous investments, is now well equipped to provide the standard of research, education and training required by technologically advanced sectors.”

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Prepared consumer foods to take centre stage at international food fair
This weekend the SIAL International Food Fair kicks off in Paris, where 35 Irish food companies will be exhibiting.

The “Ireland – Origin Green” pavilion at SIAL is placing increased focus on the prepared consumer foods (PCF) category. The category accounts for 30% of the Irish companies exhibiting at SIAL and eight of them are participating for the first time.

While PCF exporters performed well in 2017 at €2.8bn, an increase of 12% on the previous year, the UK accounted for €1.8 bn, or 62% of its value.

In the first seven months of this year, Ireland exported €1.32bn in PCF to Europe with non-UK European markets delivering growth.

In the first seven months of 2018, the value of PCF exports to Denmark have more than tripled compared with 2016 to €24.5m.

Food Fair

SIAL, the International Food Fair in Paris, is described as the biggest business-to-business (B2B) trade event in the world this year.

“While the UK market continues to perform well with an increase in exports again this year, it is prudent to increase our footprint internationally and SIAL gives us an opportunity to do that with 160,000 trade visitors from 110 countries,” said Junior Minister for Agriculture Andrew Doyle.

There will be over 7,000 exhibitors at SIAL, but Bord Bia chair Dan MacSweeney says that the Origin Green programme and Sustainable Assurance Schemes give Ireland an edge that appeals to buyers.

New service

A new “Plan to Grow” service is being developed by Bord Bia and the Department of Agriculture in response to Brexit.

It will work with companies across all sectors to identify priority markets for them individually, develop marketing strategies, interrogate market and consumer research trends as well as enhancing brand and product differentiation in association with Bord Bia’s "Thinking House".

The Irish Farmers Journal will be reporting from SIAL. You can stay up to date on the Irish Farmers Journal app or by visiting

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Prepared foods centre to provide Brexit buffer

One third of TB restricted herds suffered reinfection within three years
Research conducted by CVERA in UCD has found that the rate of TB recurrence in herds is declining but still remains at 30%

One third of Irish cattle herds which had bovine TB restrictions lifted suffered another TB breakdown within three years, researchers in UCD have found.

Staff from the Centre for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis (CVERA) studied figures from all herds restricted due to TB in 1998, 2008 and 2012 and compared the number to those who had another breakdown within three years.

Figures from the study showed the percentage of herds affected by a second infection declined in the last 20 years.

In 1998, 47% of herds had a subsequent restriction by 2001. For herds monitored in 2008, 35% suffered a second restriction by 2011. The most recent data from 2012 to 2015 showed the rate of reinfection declined to 30%.

The study identified two major risk factors for reinfection. The first was residual infection, where cattle were infected but were missed during TB testing. The second was reinfection from local sources, such as neighbouring farms or wildlife, or from infected cattle being purchased.

Herd size

It was found that larger herds were more likely to suffer a reinfection. In herds with 34 animals or less the risk of TB recurrence dropped to 26%. In herds of over 100 animals the risk of recurrence rose to 43%.

Researchers said the reasons for this were not entirely clear but it has been suggested larger herds “may increase opportunity for exposure, both within the herd and from neighbouring herds”.

The risk of a subsequent breakdown was affected by herd type as well as size.

It was recommended that a similar analysis be conducted in three to five years to evaluate the impact of changes to the TB eradication programme

In cases where a suckler herd suffered a TB breakdown, 32% had a further breakdown within three years. For dairy herds the number who had a second breakdown rose to 45%.

It was recommended that a similar analysis be conducted in three to five years to evaluate the impact of changes to the TB eradication programme. Upcoming changes to the future programme include a nationwide vaccination programme for badgers and increased controls on movements from high-risk herds.

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Good week, bad week: winners and losers in Irish farming
We take a look at who had a week to remember in Irish farming and who had a week to forget.

It was a good week for

  • Farmers in the Basic Payment Scheme, as 113,000 received a 70% advanced payment worth €732m in total.
  • Sheep farmers, as under the new EID tagging regime, factories will operate central points of recording and provide farmers with a full printout of the tag numbers of the animals supplied.
  • Kerry milk suppliers, as it is to open its third forward milk price scheme next week.
  • Farmers looking to grow sugar beet, as Beet Ireland announced it has completed the purchase of a site for a processing facility at Ballyburn, Co Kildare.
  • It was a bad week for

  • Young farmers, as a cap of €70,000 is to be applied collectively to three of the main Young Trained Farmer Reliefs as part of the finance bill that will go to the second stage of the Dáil next week.
  • Scotland, as it lost its BSE negligible risk status after a case of classical BSE was confirmed on-farm.
  • Farmers who had a land eligibility inspection in 2017, as it has emerged that 60% of farmers who had an inspection were penalised.
  • Potato growers, as the European Commission has banned a key spray used by growers, diquat.