Minister launches ‘code of practice’ for reducing ammonia emissions

Minister Michael Creed has launched a code of practice aimed at cutting agricultural ammonia emissions.

The minister announced the ‘Code of Good Practice for Reducing Ammonia Emissions from Agriculture’ today, Wednesday, November 20.

Minister Creed stated: “Following a consultative process earlier this year, I am very pleased to launch this code… Ireland has clear targets to deliver in terms of reduced ammonia emissions and the adoption and implementation of these measures outlined in this code will reduce the risk of Ireland exceeding its ammonia ceilings into the future.”

The code is being described as a “guidance document” that outlines best practice actions to cut ammonia emissions.

The department pointed out that ammonia emissions arise “principally from fertiliser and manure applications, animal feeding strategies, animal housing and manure storage”, adding that ammonia can have a negative impact on health and biodiversity.

The department also said that technologies such as low-emission slurry spreading equipment were already delivering on cutting this type of emissions.

To date, the department has approved some 2,000 grants for this type of technology under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS II), amounting to grants of around €19 million.

The department also highlighted the ‘4R principles’ for dealing with ammonia emissions: using the right nutrient source, at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place.

“It is important that this valuable nitrogen source remains within the production system, resulting in significant savings in chemical fertiliser usage. It has never been more critical that we maximise the efficiency of our use of nutrients,” a department statement said.

Minister Creed commented: “As food producers and farmers, we have a tremendous reputation internationally in terms of the sustainability of the food and drink we produce, and this is something we can be immensely proud of.”

Concluding his remarks, he argued: “In order to preserve the reputation of our country’s green image, we must address ammonia losses to the environment over the next decade. I have no doubt Irish farmers will embrace this challenge head on.”