FarmLand – Episode 9

Tonight on FarmLand, independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice and Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan, go head-to-head on the country’s strides to hit its renewable energy and carbon emission targets.

The Galway-Roscommon representative describes Bord na Mona’s decision to end peat harvesting five years ahead of schedule as “absolutely nonsensical”.

He also frankly states that “planes should be grounded” as part of the country’s moves to reduce carbon emissions.

Alongside him on the couch, Eamon Ryan openly admits that biomass is “not a long-term, efficient or economic solution” for generating power in the country’s embattled power plants.

John Sweeney, a leading climatologist based at Maynooth University, warns that biomass production is just a “short-term” solution to Bord na Mona’s power plant challenges.

Speaking about the company’s decision to end peat harvesting earlier than previously planned, the professor said: “I think the fact that the closing date has been brought forward to 2025 is very productive, it’s very useful, and we have to welcome it.”

Meanwhile, farmer and contractor Pat Farrelly tells reporter Sylvester Phelan of his experience of growing willow in Co. Meath.

He says that any efforts to grow willow for biomass production need a lot more Government support – up to the same level as forestry.

Plus, as attention turns to the winter drying-off period, Tom O’Dwyer, the head of Dairy Knowledge Transfer at Teagasc Moorepark offers advice on how to get the best results.

He notes that there are three key segments in the process: Before the drying off day; the drying off event itself; and then afterwards.

And finally Laois dairy farmer Pauraic Spencer outlines his plans for the coming weeks to reporter Niall Claffey.