Teagasc’s Nursery Stock Seminar last 25 October in Ashtown, Co Dublin, was a highly informative event that saw excellent attendance and lively interaction.
Themed ‘New Insights for Opportunity’, the seminar featured technical presentations by German tree nursery consultant, Dr Heinrich Löesing, and Teagasc specialised advisor Dónall Flanagan, followed by a dynamic panel discussion led by Dermot Callaghan, Head of the Teagasc Horticulture Department.
The key topics discussed included labour availability challenges, business costs and sustainability, all underscoring labour as a significant constraint in horticultural business development. Dr Löesing’s insights on the evolution of labour-intensive nursery work in Germany highlighted the need for improved, more comfortable, and protected working environments.
The discussion also touched upon the horticultural work permit scheme, emphasising the need for a seasonal worker scheme, particularly in the nursery stock sector. The introduction of new horticultural apprenticeships and the upcoming minimum wage increase were considered as potential solutions to address labour issues.
Environmental sustainability and carbon accounting were also key points of conversation, as UK sustainability consultant, Martin de la Harpe, introduced the pilot project ‘Hortimetrics’ for Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and Bord Bia.
In summary, Teagasc’s ‘New Insights for Opportunity’ Nursery Stock Seminar left attendees with valuable insights that will impact the future shape of horticulture.