Teagasc is the agriculture and food development authority in Ireland. Its mission is to support science-based innovation in the agri-food sector and the broader bioeconomy that will underpin profitability, competitiveness and sustainability. Research into the potential of crops for energy has been ongoing at the Crops Research Centre in Oak Park since the 1970's. In more recent times there has been growing interest among farmers in growing energy crops and among consumers in using greener alternatives to fossil fuels. The bioenergy programme has a major focus on the growing of bioenergy crops together with harvesting and logistics. Trial work on alternative drying methods of willow in a low cost system has successfully been proven in drying trials. Energy crops such as willow, Miscanthus, switch grass, reed canary grass and hemp are grown at the Oak Park research centre and trial work will continue on these crops on agronomical aspects such as weed control, bioremediation and crop nutrition. Other research work includes wood and crop residue densification through pelleting together with quality and combustion trials. Teagasc advisory services has developed an energy crops calculator which assists advisers and farmers in calculating the return on their investment in energy crops such as willow, Miscanthus, reed canary grass and hemp. Fact sheets have been produced on the various crops together with the publication of the farm energy manual which summarises the agronomy, management and marketing of energy crops.
The Oak Park Research Centre has also a vibrant plant improvement programme with breeding for perennial ryegrass, white clover and potato and crop genetics and genomics on perennial ryegrass, white clover, potato, Miscanthus, maize and wheat.