There has been a positive reaction to the new pilot soil-sampling and analysis programme, with Department sources saying confirming that in the region of 4,500 applications were received by Tuesday evening.

The pilot programme which opened on Monday morning will remain open until Friday, 8 October, and the Department of Agriculture is encouraging interested farmers to continue to make an application.

The programme has a €10m fund and is focused on establishing national baseline information on soils across Irish farms. The programme will focus on three main areas:

  • Macro and micronutrients for agronomic advice and water quality risk assessment.
  • Soil carbon relating primarily to improving climate objectives and soil health.
  • Farm level E coli assessment.
  • Farmers selected will receive confirmation in the coming weeks and will then be contacted to arrange the collection of samples. The programme offers an opportunity for farmers to get up to 16 samples per farm paid for by the Department, with a maximum of 4ha permitted for one sample.