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UCD and Teagasc recently hosted the 6
Annual Knowledge Transfer Conference,
which focused on diverse approaches
to supporting farm innovation
Teagasc and UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science
hosted the 6
annual Knowledge Transfer Conference in
Teagasc Ashtown on Friday 18
October. The theme for this
year's conference was `diverse approaches to supporting
farm innovation' and it showcased the research conducted
by students on the Masters in Agricultural Innovation
Support and in Agricultural Extension and Innovation. The
keynote speaker for the conference was Jon Parry, newly
appointed Principal of Gurteen Agricultural College and
he highlighted the need for diverse thinking and problem-
solving approaches in agricultural extension and education
today. He encouraged the young aspiring advisors and
educators at the conference to develop their curiosity,
recognise opportunities, be adventurous and not to be
afraid of failure. He cautioned the audience against seeing
the farmer as an empty cup that needs to be fi lled but
rather as a full cup of tea that might need a bit of stirring.
Agricultural education
Agricultural education was one hot topic at the Conference
with Roisin Horan winning the prize for best presentation
for her study on Continuous Professional Development
(CPD) for Young Trained Farmers. She found a hunger for
accredited training opportunities, not just among young
farmers themselves, but also for their family members and
farm employees, with fi nancial management the number 1
topic. In the area of agri-environmental management; Brian
Donnelly won the prize for best poster for his study on
understanding dairy farmer attitudes towards greenhouse
gas emissions and possible mitigation strategies through
the use of a Dairy Carbon Navigator. He found that some
mitigation measures (EBI, NMP and grass management)
were better accepted by dairy farmers than others (sexed
semen, protected urea) and that fi nancial savings and
increased regulation were the main motivations for
adopting these mitigation measures.
Dairy farming opportunities and challenges featured in
many of the studies presented including insights into
the factors infl uencing the uptake of technologies such
as precision and breeding technologies. Innovative
approaches to labour shortages on dairy farms were
also discussed including the need to strengthen the
`people management' skills of dairy farmers. A number of
students had also examined advisory approaches for better
grassland management and silage quality. The `Grass on
the Bypass' Initiative of the Teagasc team in Tullamore was
examined by Daniel McPartlin.
Rural development
In the session on rural development, Aoife Forde presented
her study on a development model for West Kerry that
would support local farmers in developing short value
chains for food and tourism. The development model
focuses on engaging and incentivising stakeholders in
the locality to uncover their knowledge and resources in
innovation on farm
Prof Gerry Boyle,
Monica Gorman
and Tom Kelly
Delegates attending the conference.