Sensors are to be rolled out on 30 farms in west Kerry in order to achieve greater carbon, cost and labour efficiency.

Under a new €220,000 EU horizon 2020 scheme, the farmers will extend the grazing system in a bid to increase carbon efficiency. Six farmers are enrolled in the scheme already, with a call going on soon for more farmers to take part.

The real-time data collected by the sensors describe current and predicted weather and soil conditions, grass growth rates and key environmental indicators.

This data will be analysed and used to develop models and effective decision-support tools for farmers and to add value to a range of products and services - for example, it will use good environmental parameters in marketing goods from the area.

For every 10-day extension in grazing season, there is a 1.7% decrease in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to Teagasc’s dairy carbon navigator.

Grazing season extension

It is anticipated that the grazing season could be extended by 10 days on the Dingle peninsula through good grassland management achieved through use of the sensor technology.

This 10-day extension of grazing will also mean increased profit for the farmer, with the carbon navigator finding that for every 10-day extension in grazing season, profit is increased by €27/dairy cow.

The Dingle hub will collaborate with Teagasc, the IFA, local Dingle hub-based technology provider Net Feasa and Kerry Agribusiness to roll out the sensor technology.

See more about the scheme in this week’s Irish Farmers Journal.

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