A new €1.4m carbon sequestration research project in collaboration with Dairy Research Ireland, has been announced by VistaMilk SFI Research Centre.

The research will build on investment by the Department of Agriculture to establish the National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory (NASCO).

This network of carbon dioxide-monitoring towers is said to be one of the most comprehensive in Europe and places Ireland at the forefront of soil carbon research.

Vistamilk researchers will use this network to explore the impacts of farm management practices on a variety of soil types.

The four-year project will be led by Dr Karl Richards and Professor Gary Lanigan from the Teagasc environment, soils and land use research department.

Climate friendly

VistaMilk has said it believes that there is an opportunity to greatly enhance the ability of the agricultural sector to achieve the new ambitious greenhouse gas targets for 2030 and the goal of carbon neutrality for 2050.

Welcoming the announcement, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State Martin Heydon said the research comes as a critical step in developing opportunities that encourage and reward farmers for capturing carbon.

“Moreover, if Ireland can provide rigorous measurements of carbon sequestration on a regular basis, it will underline the positive contribution that farming is making to reduce net emissions.”

Director of research in Teagasc Prof Frank O’Mara said the research will point the way towards climate-smart farming and will be central to providing the guidance and support to Irish farmers that will facilitate them moving to more climate-friendly farming systems.