Home > Foro (ORCA) > ORCA Research > Country profiles > Ireland

Organic Farming Research - Ireland

This document was prepared by John Dardis from the Department of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries (DAFF), compiled in the framework of the ERA-Net Project CORE Organic II.

Key institutions

In Ireland, various institutions are active in organic farming research; the key institution being Teagasc, the agriculture and food development authority in Ireland. It funds and carries out projects on various aspects of organic agriculture such as tillage, suckler, and sheep production systems.

A  focus of the Teagasc organic programme is knowledge transfer and dissemination. This work is supported by a grant from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food DAFF (see also section on research programmes). In addition, DAFF funding is granted under the Research Stimulus Fund which is a public good competitive programme.

Other work has been supported in various universities, such as University College Dublin and other institutions (e.g. The Organic Centre) on production and on food.

Links

To top

Government support

There is a political motivation to develop a vibrant and sustainable organic production sector in Ireland that meets the demand at consumer level. In 2008, the government set a target to convert 5 percent of agricultural area to organic farmland by 2012.

To top

Research programmes

The following research programmes currently exist in Ireland (2009):

Programme title

Duration

Total financing (Euro)

Projects

Research Stimulus Fund*

01.12.07 to 31.04.11

€429,000

Productivity of clover-based grassland under organic management and nitrate losses to ground water

Teagasc Research Programme 2010

01.01.09 to 31.12.11

€80,817

Meeting National Targets for Organic Farming in Ireland

Teagasc Research Programme 2010

01.12.07 to 31.12.10

€384,460

The development of systems of organic lamb and organic cattle (beef and milk) production.

Teagasc Research Programme 2010

01.02.05 to 31.12.10

€496,728

A study of the of breed effects on the production of beef on the organic farm at Johnstown Castle

*Specific project funded under the research stimulus fund (DAFFs public good competitive research programme)

To top

Key research themes & project lists

The research priorities for initial inclusion as stated in the Organic Farming Action Plan 2008-2012 include:

  • Crops that will allow extension of the grazing system;
  • Winter feed – maintenance and production elements;
  • Variety testing of organic cereals;
  • Composting and soil development, especially since phosphate and potash are limited resources and will in turn become increasingly expensive.

Teagasc – the Agriculture and Food Development Authority – is the national body providing integrated research, advisory, and training services to the agriculture and food industry and rural communities. The Teagasc Organic Production Research Conference 2008 presented details of the current research areas in the field of organic agriculture.

Links

To top

Key research needs & priorities

Important research gaps are:

  • Crops that will allow extension of the grazing system- winter feed – maintenance and production elements;
  • Variety testing of organic cereals;
  • Composting and soil development, especially since phosphate and potash are limited resources and will in turn become increasingly expensive.

To top

Priority setting and involvement of end users

Stakeholder consultations are held for public good programmes.  With regards to the Teagasc grant aid, the work programme is developed in consultation with the relevant expertise and policy makers in the Department of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries DAFF. 

In addition, developments are monitored on the homepage of the Technology Platform TP Organics.

Furthermore, the Organic Farming Action Plan 2008-2012 sets out key areas of research priorities.

To top

Outlook and challenges

The current economic climate has seen significant changes in research conducted at Teagasc, with organic agriculture being one of the areas significantly affected. The aim, however, would be to continue to invest in applied production research.

To top

To top

Author

This document was prepared by John Dardis from the Department of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries (DAFF), compiled in the framework of the ERA-Net Project CORE Organic II.

Dr. John Dardis
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food DAFF
Agriculture House, Kildare Street
Dublin 2
Ireland
Tel. + 353 1 607 2351
E-mail john.dardis(at)agriculture.gov.ie
Internet www.agriculture.gov.ie

To top