Teagasc on lookout for partner in bid to boost sales

REPLENISHED: Teagasc’s new stock of alder and birch
REPLENISHED: Teagasc’s new stock of alder and birch
Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Teagasc is looking for a business partner to work with the State agency in the production, marketing and sales of its improved birch and alder material.

Teagasc forestry researcher Dr Ellen O'Connor explained that a programme to produce planting stock of alder and birch had been successfully completed and the project was now ready for commercialisation.

The project was led by Teagasc in association with UCD and UCC and supported through funding by the Department of Agriculture.

"The long-term research objective has been the development of a sustainable supply of improved, adapted and healthy seed of birch and alder within the framework of the EU Forest Reproductive Material (FRM) regulations. Parent material, to provide improved planting stock of alder and birch for use in afforestation and reforestation, was developed within this programme and is now available for commercial development," Dr O'Connor said.

"The upscale of seed production to meet national annual requirements will involve the set-up of an indoor seed orchard," she added.

"This material is based on a classical approach to tree breeding and has been registered as qualified. That means two steps up from the basic source-identified material currently used. A research-based indoor birch seed orchard has been in operation for five years, adapting the techniques first developed in Finland."

Oliver Sheridan, who also works on this research project with Teagasc, has operated the seed orchard and underlined the importance of building up expertise.

"It is important to build up expertise in managing an indoor seed orchard as it requires constant monitoring due to changing growth conditions," he said.

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"Through a formal process, this important resource and associated know-how will be made available to the selected party or parties to produce and market improved planting material that can be registered at the Qualified level," Mr Sheridan said.

Further details on the research programme can be found at: http://www.teagasc.ie/forestry/research/projects/birch_improvement.asp. Any nursery or party interested in developing such an arrangement have been encouraged to contact Emer Eagle at Teagasc (091-845213 or emer.eagle@teagasc.ie) before this Friday, July 18.

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