Dept of Agriculture Food Wise 2025

Updates on Steps to Success 2016

1. Consumer Insights Centre – ‘The Thinking House’

Food Wise recommended the establishment of a consumer insights centre, to strengthen understanding of consumer priorities and preferences in Ireland as well as in distant markets, and to communicate those insights to Irish food companies for use in product development, branding and marketing

Since its official launch in September 2016, over 1,800 delegates have been given tours of The Thinking House. Usage of the Creative Workshop has been significant, with over 100 workshops and seminars including participants from client companies, international delegations and other state agencies.

The Living Room allows Bord Bia to conduct qualitative focus and discussion groups, equipped with audio, video recording and live streaming capacity, it is heavily subscribed, with focus groups taking place every week. Since inception, 54 consumer groups involving almost 400 consumers have reviewed new brands created by the Insight Team, and undertaken New Product Development and brand communications.

Bord Bia’s SuperBrands for smaller businesses is a syndicated branding and innovation service for Irish food & drink companies. Branding and Innovation is central to successful and sustainable growth for many small businesses. To successfully compete with bigger more established brands Irish food and drink producers will need to create SuperBrands.

2. Meat Technology Centre

The establishment of a meat technology centre as a centre of excellence for meat processing and innovation was a key recommendation of Food Wise 2025. Meat Technology Ireland (MTI) was successfully launched in April 2017.

The MTI team prioritised their focus on the centre’s launch, recruitment, outreach visits and new project submissions during Q1 and Q2 of 2017. A Research and Innovation Project Manager for MTI, the first of the new research staff have been recruited to undertake MTI research projects in Genetic/Genomic Prediction, Meat Tenderness Management, Shelf-life and Bioburden, Meat Grading and New Market Opportunities. The centre has already engaged in new project submissions through the Horizon 2020 MarieCurie programme to add to the depth and breath of the MTI research agenda. The Director undertook a number of international outreach visits to start to build important international links for the MTI, in order to exploit common synergies in the field of meat science research. The MTI team have established an MTI-dedicated sensory capablity which will begin its work in June 2017 to establish one of the largest sensory databases available in meat science. The remainder of 2017 will be devoted to generating the first of the MTI research results.

3. 2017: Year of Sustainable Grassland

2017 was designated as the Year of Sustainable Grassland to emphasise and develop the competitive and environmental credentials of our grassland resource. Food Wise 2025 supports and builds on the critical role that grass plays in increasing dairy and livestock production. The Year of Sustainable Grassland initiative brings together many of the existing grass focussed activities that are currently operated by a range of stakeholders, and coordinates them. The aim of the initiative is twofold:

  • Improve grass productivity and utilisation and

  • Promote awareness of the sustainability of Ireland’s grass-based production system and its international reputation

A series of tailored events designed to highlight and promote these twin aims, and delivered together with key stakeholders is being rolled out seasonally during the year. Events held to-date include:

(i) Teagasc Grass10 Campaign

Teagasc Grass 10 Campaign, a four-year initiative aimed at increasing the production and importantly, the utilisation of grass produced on Irish farms was launched in January.

The objective of the campaign is to achieve 10 grazings/paddock/year, utilising 10 tonnes of grass dry matter per hectare in the process, by 2020. Food Wise 2025 set a target to increase grass utilisation by 10 tonnes per hectare in order to meet the sectoral targets for increased output of meat and milk. Increased production of beef and milk without increased inputs will have positive environmental effects.

(ii) Irish Grassland Farmer of the Year

In order to strengthen coherence between the Teagasc Grass 10 Campaign and the Department’s Sustainable Grassland initiative, a Teagasc ‘Grassland Farmer of the Year’ competition with financial support from DAFM, was launched in June.

(iii) PastureBase Ireland

PastureBase Ireland is a Teagasc-delivered database system that provides farmer members with detailed information on grass growth on their farm by means of measuring grass growth on a regular basis. The farmer feeds this measurement information into a central database. The raw measurement data is converted into a tailored grassland management tool for the participating farm. This enables more efficient management of grass production. PastureBase Ireland merged with Agrinet and following this merger, a more powerful version of the database was re-launched earlier this year. The data it generates will significantly underpin the Grass 10 Campaign.

(iv) Precision Grass Measuring Equipment approved under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS)

Precision grass measuring meters have been developed to allow farmers measure grass production on the farm, and match grazing patterns to livestock requirements. These meters also allow the electronic transfer of this information directly to databases such as the PastureBase system, or other systems developed for this purpose. Precision grass measurement meters are eligible for support under TAMS from May of this year.

Year of Sustainable Grassland events included:

  • Irish Grassland Association Annual Dairy Conference;

  • Fertiliser Association of Ireland Spring Scientific meeting in February

  • 2017 Recommended List of Grass and White Clover Varieties for Ireland launch in March;

  • Fertiliser Association of Ireland held a Spring Field Visit, Teagasc College, Kildalton in May;

  • Irish Grassland Association (IGA) organised a reseeding demonstration in May