One of the central goals of COHR is to conduct independent, scientific research in the area of sustainable and organic horticulture. This is made possible by research facilities at the School of BEES in Cork City and the COHR facilities at Liss Ard.

One of the factors limiting organic production in Ireland is the relative lack of relevant research. Most of the available research is from Germany, the Netherland or the UK, where conditions are quite different from those in Ireland, or from personal observations, which need detailed studies to be confirmed. Areas where further knowledge is needed include variety trials for different crops and independent assessments of commercial products which are coming on the organic market.

The MSc in Organic Horticulture was run by UCC’s School of BEES from 2012-2016.

As well as being an important aspect of the training of the MSc students, the research projects also represent an important source of independent research of relevance to organic growers  in Ireland, and in particular in West Cork. To facilitate the dissemination of the results from each year’s research projects, we will publish summaries of each project here on the COHR website. 



2013-2014 Projects

Effects of seaweed compost on crop growth, disease response and soil microbiology
Comparative study for evaluating two honey bee races Apis mellifera Mellifera and the Buckfast bee with regard to suitability for commercial Apiculture in Ireland.
A field study of Striped Flea Beetle (Phyllotreta striolata) on Pak Choi (Brassica rapa var. chinenis), using a biological control and foliar spray treatments. Variations observed between Tatsoi and MTPA 004 cultivars were recorded.
Identifying whether mycorrhizal fungi increases growth rate of lettuce, in pot trials.
Biochar as a soil and seed compost amendment
The effects of anthropogenic nutrient solution (ANS) fertigation dosings on the marketable yield of swiss chard (Beta vulgaris var. vulgaris) grown under cover on a west-Cork podzol.
Serenade (Bacillus subtilis), Herfomyc (main constituent: Allium sativum) and Horsetail extract (Equisetum arvense) as alternative controls of late blight (Phytophthora infestans) on two potato cultivars.
Social farming and organic farming: towards a sustainable innovation for Europe 2020.
The effect of micronized dolomite on growth and tipburn occurrence of lettuce

2012-2013 Projects

A field study to compare the effect of organic soil amendments and synthetic fertiliser on yield, leaf nitrate content and soil community level physiological profiling in Lactuca sativa L. >>view summary

The effects of Bio-Dynamic sowing on the medicinal constituents of Calendula  officinalis.

To investigate the influences of aqueous extracts of comfrey (Symphytum officinale), nettle (Urtica dioica) and horsetail (Equisetum arvense) on the economic yield and composition of crops

The effect of energised water on the germination, growth and yield of horticultural crops

To measure anthocyanin concentrations in lettuce plants subjected to supplemental UV-B light field scale experiments. >>view summary

Effects of used coffee grounds on growth and slug resistance in lettuce (Lactuca sativa)

What is the relationship between organic food growers and farmers’ markets in Ireland? Can those in West Cork grow together organically and help develop a sustainable community

A comparison between no-tillage with hay mulch and no-tillage with grass mulch on soil biological and biochemical properties  >>view summary

A decision support system for the control of Phytophthora infestans in West Cork

Evaluation of vermicomposting for the growth of organic vegetables Martin Daly Poster

Effects of artificial windbreak on growth of lettuce (Lactuca sativa), Radish (Raphanus sativus) and Lupin (Lupinus polyphyllus) and effects of mechanical induced stress (MIS) of lettuce seedlings on mature lettuce plants

The relationship between consumer behaviour and environmental concerns

Soil quality: a comparative study of the effects of a range of local fertility amendments and humus stimulant on physical, chemical and biological soil characteristics plus resulting yield of Lactuca sativa

The role of co-operatives in the Irish organic sector: lessons from the past and opportunities for the future Eugene Lynch Poster

Citing this research

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

The research work outlined on this website may be cited freely but you must give "appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use".
NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.

Suggested format for referencing:


Lynch E (2013). The role of co-operatives in the Irish organic sector: lessons from the past and opportunities for the future. MSc thesis, National University of Ireland, Cork, Ireland.


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Other Research

COHR staff have significant experience in a wide range of areas relevant to sustainable and organic horticulture. For example, Prof. Peter Jones is interested in biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in plants; chemical communication between plants and other organisms; the role of mycorrhizal fungi in plant growth; genomics and proteonomics of crop improvement; novel and sustainable approaches to waste management and the development of novel non-food crops.
Dr Eoin Lettice has research interests in plant pathology and the environmentally sustainable control of plant pests; soil microbial ecology and the use of social media in teaching and research.

If you are a grower/producer with a research question which you think needs answering or if you are a current or potential researcher and would like to consider working with us, we are always open to discussing these issues with you (see contact details). It is our hope to establish (Research) MSc and PhD positions at COHR in the future but this is reliant on funding availability.

Centre for Organic Horticulture Research

School of BEES, Butler Building, Distillery Field, North Mall, Cork