Teagasc ‘well positioned’ to assist farmers in meeting climate challenge

With a strong research base, Teagasc is “well positioned” to assist farmers in meeting the challenges of climate action, the agricultural authority has said.

In the Teagasc Annual Report and Accounts for 2019, the agency outlines the environmental research it has conducted to help reduce the emission of greenhouse gases from agriculture going forward.

The Teagasc Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC), updated earlier this year, forms the basis of many of the actions in the Government’s Climate Action Plan.

A total of 14 cost-beneficial, cost-neutral and cost-effective mitigation measures were identified in the Teagasc MACC to reduce agricultural emissions (methane and nitrous oxide), the authority says.

These measures were estimated to reduce emissions by 1.85 Mt of carbon dioxide equivalents per year between 2021 and 2030, if implemented.

The largest contributors to the abatement are using protected urea, improving dairy EBI and using low emission slurry spreading.

Teagasc research has shown that the actions which improve production efficiency can also contribute to environmental progress. With a strong research base behind them, Teagasc advisors are very well positioned to assist farmers to meet the challenges ahead, the agency says.

In addition, the Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advice Programme (ASSAP), which is a collaboration between Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine as well as the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, together with dairy processors through Dairy Sustainability Ireland, was highlighted.

This, Teagasc says, is demonstrating how advisors can influence and encourage farmers to protect the environment, particularly Ireland’s water bodies.

Sticking with dairy, the authority also noted that thousands of farmers attended the Teagasc Dairy Open Day, Moorepark 2019, in July of last year.

At the event they heard how the Irish dairy industry has been transformed, with exports of Irish dairy products and ingredients increasing to over €4 billion in 2018.

Milk production in Ireland increased to nearly eight billion litres in 2019. Teagasc has produced guidelines for the dairy sector, identifying key actions that need to be undertaken to reduce the industry’s environmental footprint and to ensure the highest standards in animal welfare.