Five factsheets have been launched to help farmers maintain and improve the quality of water bodies in Ireland.
The sheets have been released by Teagasc as part of the Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme (ASSAP).
This first tranche of factsheets have been released on the second day of Teagasc Water Quality Week which is running from Monday, March 22, to Friday, March 26.
- Riparian Buffer Zones;
- Organic Fertiliser Management;
- Nitrate Leaching from Tillage Lands;
- Early Nitrogen for Spring Grassland;
- Grassland Herbicide Use and Water Quality.
According to the agricultural authority, the documents provide “practical tips” for farmers to implement which will benefit the streams and rivers and other water bodies flowing through their farms.
For example by establishing Riparian Buffer Zones in key locations on your farm, it will help to protect water courses from nutrient, sediment and pesticide losses.
The local ASSAP adviser is available to advise on the most suitable locations and size of riparian margins for individual farms. These areas will not only benefit water quality but also assist in improving biodiversity and carbon sequestration.
Commenting, the head of the Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme (ASSAP) Noel Meehan said:
Organic fertilisers can be a valuable asset on a farm – but only if managed correctly. When spread, organic fertiliser is either absorbed by soil and plants or lost to air and water.
“By minimising losses through careful application, farmers can retain more nutrients, reduce sward contamination and reduce the fertiliser bill on the farm.
“This will increase farm profit while helping to protect our air, atmosphere and water quality.”
Continuing, the Teagasc officer added that the factsheet on ‘Grassland Herbicide Use and Water Quality’ has some “really useful tips to reduce the risk” to water bodies when using pesticides – and should be essential reading for all farmers spraying grassland for weeds.
“Data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2019 show there were 82 exceedances above the limit, in 27 drinking water supplies. 52 of these (63.4%) were in relation to MCPA,” Meehan concluded.
More details can be found on the factsheets and Water Quality Week on the Teagasc website here.