Teagasc and Goldcrop grass and clover genetic improvement programme launched

Teagasc and Goldcrop sign a long-term grass and clover genetic improvement agreement at the Teagasc Moorepark. Back row, left to right: Dave Barry, Goldcrop; Siobhan Jordan, Teagasc head of technology transfer and commericalisation; Andrew Murphy, Goldcrop; Charlie McConalogue T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine; Liam Herlihy, Teagasc chairman and Pat Dillon, Teagasc director of research. Front row, left to right: John Murphy, managing director, Goldcrop; Frank O Mara, Teagasc director. Photo: O'Gorman Photography.

Teagasc and Goldcrop have signed a long term grass and clover genetic improvement agreement at the Teagasc Moorepark Dairy Open day in Ireland.

The new breeding and commercialisation collaboration will be called Pasture Innovations and was successfully negotiated following an open tendering process. The new agreement is for a 15-year term with extension options. This follows on from the 10-year agreement previously in place between the two organisations. Pasture Innovations allows Goldcrop to have the sole marketing and propagation worldwide rights to all forage material bred from the Teagasc Oak Park grass and clover breeding programme.

Frank O Mara, Teagasc director said; “This is a really important vote of confidence and commitment by Goldcrop in the very successful Teagasc breeding programme at Oak Park. Its gives the programme more scope to progress in the years ahead, to continue to produce grasses, clovers and herbs for Irish grassland farmers.”

The Oak Park breeding programme has been the breeding source of perennial ryegrass and clover varieties in the past three decades. The new agreement with Goldcrop is another positive step for the programme. Breeding improved varieties of grasses, legumes and herbs, specifically for Irish conditions and management, ensures the competitiveness of pasture systems into the future.

Teagasc has its own Pasture Breeding unit, with the senior grass breeder Patrick Conaghan leading the team. The breeding programme is part of the Grassland Science Department led by Michael O’Donovan.

The new collaboration will assist in the support and resourcing of the breeding programme. The breeding team make crosses and conduct evaluations with a specific emphasis on the sub-indices of the Irish Pasture Profit Index for grasses and a similar focus for white clover, red clover and herbs. This allows for an emphasis on breeding for grazing, and new varieties that address the challenges facing Irish farmers. In the past months the Oak Park programme has delivered what it says are two outstanding clover varieties achieving recommendation on the UK NIAB list, Clodagh (white clover) and Fearga (red clover).

John Murphy, managing director of Goldcrop, said: “Goldcrop prides itself in supporting the entire Agri-food sector by bringing advanced genetic material that meet the challenges facing Irish farmers. The long-term extensive collaboration, Pasture Innovations, paves the way to drive a better next generation of improved Pasture varieties.”

Goldcrop is Ireland’s largest seed wholesaler, supporting more than 80 jobs across its three locations in Carrigtwohill, Killavullen and Dunleer. Goldcrop will act as a catalyst within the long term collaboration to improve genetic gain. Seed production and commercialisation is also the responsibility of Goldcrop. To date from the collaboration Goldcrop have in the market, or close to commercial release, the following varieties: OakPark, Glenfield, Chatsworth, GlenRock, GlenEagle, Bandon, Clonakilty, Clodagh, Hollywood and Fearga across Ireland and the UK.

More information is available at www.pastureinnovations.ie

Jim Cornall is editor of Future Food Today and publisher at Ayr Coastal Media. He is an award-winning writer, editor, photographer, broadcaster, designer and author. Contact Jim here.