The ITLUS 2015 Winter Conference took place at the Clanard Court Hotel in Athy on December 10th last with a large crowd in attendance.
Our first speaker was Mr Michael Hoey who spoke on the theme of “Making the most of our land resource”. He started by explaining the history and philosophy of Country Crest, the food business the Hoey family established and run which supplies fresh produce and prepared meals to many of the retail multiples, Michael spoke of the challenges of meeting the continuously changing standards of the retailers and food industry.
Country Crest grow a lot of the produce they use in their business both on owned and on land accessed through varying combinations of conacre, partnership arrangements and long-term leases. Michael talked about the great challenge of making money from any of these arrangements and in particular about the way the supports are being channelled to the landowners rather than the land users.
The next item on our agenda was a panel discussion on land mobility: taxation, entitlements, legal and practical issues, the members of the panel were Declan McEvoy of IFAC, Ivan Whitten, Tillage Advisor with Teagasc, Aisling Meehan, solicitor and writer on legal matters for the Farmers Journal and Bernie Brennan, Entitlement Section, Dept. of Agriculture.
The panel discussed the various options available to both landowners and producers and how they might interact with the taxation, legal and basic payment systems.
After the ITLUS AGM and lunch our afternoon session commenced with a presentation by Dr Stephen Moss, Rothamsted Research, UK on control strategies for brome and other grass weeds. Dr Moss spoke of the various species of brome grass and the various husbandry options available to growers to control them, he also spoke about the challenge of controlling blackgrass which has become resistant to most herbicides available and the possibility that wild oats are also showing signs of resistance in the UK.
Our next speaker was Garret Headon who spoke about establishing crops and the challenges of various systems that he has used in terms of speed, cost and weed control
Our last speaker was Dr Richard Hackett who spoke about field margin management along watercourses and the practical implications of the current regulations.
Andy Doyle’s more comprehensive report of proceedings in the Farmers Journal can be found at the following links, registration might be required to read.
Presentations, click the links below to access the speakers presentations.