Teagasc researcher, Jennifer Byrne, is looking at the impact of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) on the economic & environmental sustainability of crop farming in Ireland.
The farm-gate value of home-grown fresh produce is in the region of €370m & pesticides are a key factor in terms of productivity & yield, risk minimisation & waste reduction. The EU Green Deal calls for a 50% national reduction of pesticides by 2030.
Currently, economic or environmental data are not collected for the horticultural sector, making an assessment of the sustainability of pesticide reduction problematic. A vital component of this project, therefore, will be the collection of horticultural data for Ireland, in order to bring the sector into line with the National Farming Survey.
Environmental & economic indicators will be identified, enabling exploration of the impact of the use of IPM on farm-level sustainability via an existing framework of data collected from the tillage sector (EPIC).
Finally, Jennifer will evaluate results in order to propose approaches that will assist Irish growers in meeting the targets on pesticide reductions. Jennifer’s PhD project will feed back into an overall project entitled AgSustain, which has been established to better understand the relationships between pesticide use, IPM adoption & sustainability.
Jennifer is a keen practising horticulturist, growing organic vegetables on a micro-scale at home in Co Wexford. Her site is certified by Organic Trust. She sits on the GMO National Advisory Committee to the EPA, representing the interests of the organic sector. She is also heavily involved with the Organic Internship Programme in Horticultural, run by the OGI (Organic Growers of Ireland) & funded by DAFM.
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