NUI Galway and Teagasc have joined forces in an alliance aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of Irish agriculture over the coming years.
The ‘Strategic Research and Training Alliance on Carbon-Neutral Agriculture’ was launched last week by Minister of State, Sean Kyne, who said that the partnership would help in the country make the transition to a low carbon, climate resilient economy.
The NUIG/Teagasc alliance will facilitate new research projects and new post-graduate courses aimed at examining how Ireland can cut greenhouse gas emissions during food production.
Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources, Sean Kyne, said that climate change presented many challenges for Ireland and not least in how the country managed its overall emissions profile.
He said that those challenges were clearly understood by Government as understood by Government and reflected in the National Policy Position on Climate Action and how the Climate Action and the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015.
Minister Kyne said that climate action in Ireland was being directed from two different perspectives – mitigation and adaptation.
“The plan will focus on four key sectors – Transport, Electricity Generation, Built Environment, and Agriculture and Forestry which is where this new strategic alliance between NUIG and Teagasc will come in.
“There is a very great need, on the one hand, to reduce emissions and on the other, to consider the global challenge of sustainable food production for a projected population of over nine billion by 2050.
“We need to find the optimal balance between reducing emissions within the agriculture and land use sector while taking into account the vital need to maximise sustainable food production.
“Research and work that will take place under this partnership between NUIG and Teagasc will be central to helping us achieve this balance and also our national, European and international aims and obligations at combatting Climate Change.”
Farmers willing to play part on climate measures
FARMERS in the West of Ireland are more than willing to play their part in tackling the issue of climate change but due recognition must be given to their ongoing progress in reducing emissions, Connacht IFA Chair Pat Murphy said this week.
His comments come in the wake of the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – released this week – which has warned that climate change is ‘widespread, rapid and intensifying’.
“We all have to face up to the climate change issue – it cannot be ignored – but as a country Ireland is in a position to produce food in a very, very environmentally friendly way,” said Pat Murphy.
He added that over recent months the role that Irish farms played in acting as carbon sinks was at last being recognised by different organisations.
“We are ready and willing to play our parts in a food production chain that’s environmentally friendly and sustainable.
“But as farmers we will need the support, back-up and recognition of central Government in our ongoing efforts to play our part in this,” said Pat Murphy.
Earlier this week, IFA President Tim Cullinan said that Irish farmers can be a big part of climate action by using ‘our natural advantage to produce carbon efficient foods’ and also in the production of renewable energy on farms.
He said the recent change to the Climate Bill, which recognised the carbon storage capabilities of Irish farms, was an important acknowledgement that farmers can contribute towards making Ireland net carbon zero by 2050.
Read full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
July ticked all the right boxes for farmers
JULY turned out to be a pretty much ideal month for farming with up to 25 dry days in places while the bulk of the rainfall was ‘delivered’ in two downpours over one weekend.
Abbeyknockmoy weather recorder, Brendan Geraghty, said that his rainfall total for the month of 2.95 inches (75mms.) was below the average for July – but this told only half the story.
Significant rainfall occurred only on six days during our seventh month with two big downpours on the evening of Friday the 19th – and through the day on the following Sunday, the 21st.
“I suppose overall July would have to be regarded as an excellent month as indeed was the Summer overall.
“We tended to get the rainfall in concentrated bursts but we had a lot of fine and pleasant days during the month that enabled farmers to get a lot of work done,” said Brendan Geraghty.
For full story see this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Drought conditions still prevail but a change is on the way
DESPITE the western region faring better than many other parts of the country in terms of July rainfall, major concerns have been expressed in Galway over the winter feed situation.
The most significant break in the drought pattern came on the weekend of July 15 last with over 20mms. of rainfall arriving in some parts of the county including the Met Éireann station in Athenry.
Ardrahan dairy farmer, Pat Murphy, said that while the rains of that weekend had been a help, many farmers across the county were still facing into a very serious feed and fodder situation.
“The rain we got – particularly what fell on Sunday week last [July 15] – was welcome and it did green up the place a bit, but the overall grass situation remains critical.
“Like a lot of other farmers I know, I am paying big money every week buying in extra ration to try and ‘stretch out’ the grass but there just seems to be no end in sight to the drought – and the Summer is passing.
“The date for a second cut of silage is now going back well into September. Farmers would need to have their second cut taken in the first week or so of September to allow them spread fertiliser for late grazing before the deadline [Sept. 15] for spreading nitrogen arrives,” said Pat Murphy.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.