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Independent.ie

Wednesday 19 December 2018

'We've had some terrible results from trials, but we publish them'

Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle
Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Teagasc trial results may not always give the answer it or farmers were hoping for, but it still publishes these results, according to Noel Cawley.

The Chairman of the Teagasc board said that one of the great strengths of the organisation is its independence and that it is never 'told' what results to find.

"And if someone did we would ignore them." Speaking at the launch of its annual report, Cawley said that such independence does not alway guarantee that it's research provides the 'right' result, but it is transparent in its research.

"We have had some terrible results from some trials but we have published them." It's this independence, he said, that farmers recognise and appreciate.

Teagasc provides direct services to 42,000 farmers, through its 1,200 permanent staff along with contract workers, but said it struggles to recruit staff into some sections as it cannot compete with the high salaries of the private sector.

According to Gerry Boyle, starting salaries for those with a PhD are in the region of €31,000 - a figure that can't compete with the private sector, he said.

The Teagasc Director said that the organisation has replenished its advisory services since the lifting of the public-service hiring embargo.

He also said the organisation is largely on track to meet the demand for its Green Cert courses. It had come under pressure in recent years with a waiting list in the thousands.

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However, Boyle said that number of 4,500 waiting had reduced both with the provision of courses, but also when people were contacted about courses they did not pursue the course.


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