Seminars to promote excellence in tillage farming will take place at venues around the country in the third week of January.

They are organised by the Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) and take place on 16, 17 and 18 January from 10am to 12.30pm, concluding with lunch.

The seminars will cover a range of topics, among which will be the benefits of sowing Irish certified seed.

With problems and challenges increasing in the sector, it is important that growers understand the benefits that the Irish certification scheme bring to Irish growers.

There will also be a presentation by Clodagh Whelan from the Department of Agriculture, who will give an insight into crop and variety options for planting in 2018.

Knowing your variety has become an increasingly important aspect of profitable crop production, as it aids decisions on essential inputs.

Best practices for maximising crop yield potential and minimising background weed problems will feature in the presentation by Andy Doyle from the Irish Farmers Journal.

In addition, ISTA members Donal Fitzgerald and Tim O’Donovan will discuss Irish certified seed standards, and also the very important story of how the certification scheme here is helping to deliver new and better varieties.

Entrance to the seminars is free. The venue for 16 January is Mount Wolseley Hotel, Tullow; 17 January is Clonmel Park Hotel, Clonmel; and in the Knightsbrook Hotel in Trim on 18 January.

The Irish Seed Trade Association represents multipliers, producers and distributors of certified seed in Ireland and promotes the use of certified seed in tillage, forage and grassland crops to ensure the best suited varieties are made available to Irish farmers.

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