The European Grassland Federation (EGF) 2018 General Meeting is taking place in in Ireland this year for the first time since 1988. The 27th EGF conference, which will attract delegates nationally and internationally, will take place in Cork from the 17th to 21st June 2018.
The event was launched by Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, at a meeting of the organising committee and sponsors in Cork, today, Friday, 9 February. The EGF is the main grassland meeting in Europe. It attracts delegates from the industry, farmers, researchers and those involved in advisory and knowledge transfer.
The EGF General Meeting was last hosted in Ireland in 1988. On this occasion a large number of scientific papers have already been received for the forthcoming conference. The event will have a mix of master classes, visits to farms and to the Teagasc Moorepark Research Centre along with many conference papers. The meeting is being held in the Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork and is been organised by Teagasc.
Speaking at the launch today, Minister Creed said: “Last year I designated 2017 as ‘The Year of Sustainable Grassland’ and I’m delighted to see that one of the many results of this initiative is that Ireland is hosting a major European Grassland Conference in Cork this year. This will be the 27th meeting, and is themed on Sustainable Meat and Milk production from Grasslands, which is very fitting.”
EGF President Dr Frank O’Mara, Teagasc, highlighted the fact that the conference has secured sponsorship from 17 individual companies, which clearly illustrates the support for grass based livestock systems in Ireland. Dr O’Mara reflected: ‘We are delighted that so many companies have come on board to financially support EGF2018. This level of support received is excellent and we intend to demonstrate in this conference that Ireland is a leader in grassland science and technology.”
EGF 2018 is supported by FBD, Yara, Lely, True North Technologies, Teagasc, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dairymaster, Goldcrop, Dairygold, Failte Ireland, Nutribio, AFBI, Germinal, DLF Seeds, Grasstec and Irish Grassland Association, and negotiations with SFI are ongoing.
The conference format will change slightly this year, with more content added to the programme and some new areas such as Big Data, Smart Technology and Knowledge Transfer added to the conference sessions. On the last day, a full conference workshop will take place with the Head of DG Agri from Brussels attending. On the Tuesday of the conference, the delegates will visit the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research Centre in Moorepark.
Dr Pat Dillon, Head of the Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Programme in Teagasc said: “We have decided to have a full day for delegates to visit farms and Moorepark. People will have a choice of five separate tours on the Tuesday afternoon to go on. These tours are to some of the best dairy, beef and sheep farms in Ireland and will be very worthwhile experiences.”
Individual tours will visit the farms of Eddie O’Donnell, Ger Dinnen, Sean Dennedy, Donal Sheehan and John McNamara; the Ornua facility in Mitchelstown; the Dairygold and Curtins Teagasc Research farms; the DAFM Crops Evaluation unit in Ballyderown; and the Goldcrop Crop facility in Carrigtwohill.
Dr Michael O’Donovan, chairman of the EGF organising committee said: “We now have approximately 320 individual papers accepted for the conference. This is the highest number of papers in 20 years for EGF. We are very happy with the standard and the new areas introduced to the conference this year. We have delegates from 31 countries and we are delighted that the conference has attracted many delegates from outside Europe. Delegates from Japan, New Zealand, and USA have had papers accepted.”
Given this level of paper representation, the expectation is that we will have 400-500 delegates present in June. The early bird registration is now open and can be accessed on www.EGF2018.com