The heavy rains two weeks ago may have raised hopes of improved growing conditions, but those hopes were quickly dashed with the arrival of our most recent heatwave. My situation is that my weed supply remains “short”.
na one more positive note, it was great to finish my second cut silage in sunny weather. My decision to only use liquid manure as fertilizer was certainly a risk, but it seemed to have paid off. The result is that I now have enough silage to get my cattle through the winter.
Regarding the proposed 25 percent cut in emissions from agriculture, in a move not unlike Cromwellian land grabs, our government appears to have decided to literally give farmers the carbon in a bid to placate many of its more stubborn members rob loans generated by their farms.
For example, the photosynthesis we learned in school is a process where grasslands and hedgerows absorb carbon dioxide and sunlight, and then release oxygen. But who owns large amounts of Ireland’s grasslands and hedgerows?
Research shows that carbon sequestration rates in mineral grassland soils are typically between 1.5 and 4 tonnes CO2 per hectare per year – again most Irish grasslands are farm owned.
So what is our government up to? Well, they’ve developed a uniquely unique one-column “environmental balance sheet” that they claim shows a farm’s carbon footprint.
While this balance obviously includes the amount of greenhouse gases produced on a farm, for reasons best known to our government, it completely ignores the vast amount of carbon absorbed through carbon sequestration and photosynthesis on our farms.
We all know the need to cut emissions, but we also know that nobody likes being cheated, and farmers are no exception. So if our environmental footprint does not report the true ‘net’ figures for a farm’s CO2 emissions, I believe little progress can be made towards our emissions targets.
This unique ‘attack’ on our carbon credits has already prompted organizations like Co Limerick-based Carbon Removal Action Group (CRAG) to intensify their fight to raise public awareness of the massive amount of greenhouse gases emitted Ireland are tied to farms every day.
There are also growing concerns about what will happen to these carbon credits. Who decides who they are given to? And what happens if they are not fully utilized?
Meanwhile, rural Ireland is not missing. While visiting the North Tipperary Agricultural Show in Nenagh recently I came across a local organization called Hedgerows Ireland, an independent organization that is very aware of the importance of hedgerows to biodiversity in Ireland.
Their enlightened stance on hedges is certainly supported by preliminary estimates from a 2007-2013 EPA climate change research program that suggest hedges and non-forested forests could potentially sequester 0.66-3.3 tCO2/ha/year. A very impressive number, most people will agree.
In addition to increasing biodiversity, common sense tells us how important trees and hedgerows are in protecting livestock, not only during inclement weather but also during warm sunny spells.
Unfortunately, as we all know, common sense is not that common. Despite the massive support of the farmers for the GLAS hedge planting, the GLAS hedge system was suddenly discontinued after only two years, apparently for budgetary reasons. It seems that the ‘fine words’ we hear from our politicians about carbon sequestration only come at a price.
This reminds me of a sentence that the notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is said to have once said: “Everyone has their price, the most important thing is to find out what it is.”
It seems we have just discovered the price that our self righteous politicians and the EU are willing to pay for proven projects that support and promote biodiversity in the Irish landscape.
John Heney farms in Kilfeackle, Co. Tipperary
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/beef/beef-advice/john-heney-yes-emission-levels-must-be-reduced-but-no-one-likes-being-cheated-41904411.html John Heney: Yes, emissions need to be reduced, but no one likes to be cheated