Tillage director Frank O’Mara acknowledged that 2023 income predictions for tillage “are a lot more sobering” compared to last year.

Speaking at the 2023 National Tillage Conference in Kilkenny on Wednesday morning, he said that 2022 saw the "holy trinity" for tillage farmers of good yields, good prices and good weather.

For the coming year, an 8% increase in direct costs, the probability of a return to trend yields and a drop in grain prices will make things difficult in the year ahead, but the director was firm in his talk on tillage.

He highlighted the low carbon footprint of the sector, half that of the beef sector's and one-quarter that of dairy.

While that will help meet climate targets, tillage has a bigger role to play, O’Mara said, adding that we need to use more Irish grain in animal feed to improve sustainability credentials.

He held that it shouldn't be a case of either/or between livestock and tillage, but the sectors should work in combination.

Min-till needs glyphosate, say farmers

Teagasc researcher Jack Jameson said most tillage farmers believe that the loss of glyphosate herbicide would mean that min-till and direct drilling systems couldn't function.

A minority of farmers believed that non-inversion tillage systems could survive the loss of glyphosate, but with significant modifications.