The baseline carbon footprint of Teagasc’s 120 signpost farms is nearing completion, and a “full picture” is expected to emerge by the end of the year, says Dr. Tom O’Dwyer.
The leader of the Signpost program – which aims to make early progress on reducing gaseous emissions from Ireland’s agriculture, improving water quality and biodiversity and reducing operating costs – says data on greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions is currently available to everyone demonstration farm are analyzed. Nutrient use efficiency, soil carbon and biodiversity.
The government has confirmed that by 2030 the agricultural sector will need a significant reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions of 25 percent from 2018 levels.
Speaking of Independent Farmingoutlined Dr. O’Dwyer how the program launched last year is progressing as its cross-sector growers continue to adopt measures from Teagasc’s Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC).
“2021 was a tough base year so we have been collecting data and are currently analyzing it. Upon completion of this analysis, we expect to have a very accurate picture of where the 120 farms begin.
“We can measure their greenhouse gas emissions, ammonia emissions, nutrient use efficiency, nutrient balances, soil carbon and biodiversity – so we have a good picture of what’s happening on those farms individually and collectively.
“We will of course repeat the measurements this year, so by this time next year we should be able to say what has happened, what has changed and what the trend is.
“We will hopefully be able to say that emissions will be reduced for the following reasons – an increase in the use of proprietary urea, a decrease in the use of chemical nitrogen. We hope to be able to explain why the changes have happened.”
while dr O’Dwyer admits that “if all current MACC measures were implemented, it would not achieve a 25 percent reduction in emissions by the decade,” he urges farmers to “get started” with proven and available technologies.
He expects new interventions, mainly related to feed additives and breeding, to be operational over the next three to four years.
“My appeal to farmers is: let’s start today by looking at the situation on your own farm. There are tools in the toolbox that enable farmers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
“These identified technologies will give us a good start. They won’t get us to 25 percent, but let’s have the ambition that in three or four years we can say that “emissions from agriculture will be reduced by 10/12/14 percent”.
“This can be achieved through a massive switch to proprietary urea, a massive uptake in the use of clover, a significant reduction in the use of chemical fertilizers and slaughtering our animals earlier.
“But it will only happen if individual farmers say, ‘yes, I will do something about it, I will do my part’.
“Certain things that were recommended in the past are no longer recommended, but there are also ways to save money.
“We want people to see what you can change on your farm, start with ‘the quick win’ that can make an immediate difference.
“But also start with those that will take a little more time to deliver – select animals that produce less methane or will finish sooner in the future but will take a few years to finish for you as a farmer or the sector sees.” an advantage.”
On the issue of national herd size, he added: “It is important that we stabilize herd size because the challenge of reducing emissions becomes much greater when there are more breeding animals in the country.
“There is also an opportunity to reduce methane emissions by introducing systems that allow animals to be killed earlier. And Teagasc colleagues are testing a range of methane-reducing feed additives that could potentially represent significant mitigation technology in the future.”
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/farming-news/signpost-programme-to-provide-clear-emissions-picture-by-year-end-41898056.html Flagship program to provide a clear “picture” of emissions by year-end