The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is still evaluating the emissions reduction impact of the farm measures included in the Climate Action Plan 2023.

EPA climate change programme manager Dr Mary Frances Rochford said the agency will complete this analysis in the first half of the year. These evaluations will then be incorporated into the EPA’s emissions projections.

The Climate Action Plan measures already asked of farmers include reducing the slaughter age of cattle and using more protected urea.

Dr Rochford called for “urgency” in the farm sector’s rollout of these climate measures in order to reverse agriculture’s climate trends.

“What is really key in terms of the message here is implementation, the move from pilots and small-scale activities to look at the rollout across the sector and looking at doing that at scale and pace,” she said.

She was speaking at the Farming 2023 seminar at the Lismullin Conference Centre in Co Meath on Tuesday.

Land use

Dr Rochford also confirmed that an emissions ceiling for the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector will be announced in 2023.

She acknowledged that the latest research on farm emissions and sequestration could need to be incorporated into future EPA climate calculations but highlighted that the farm sector must first develop a “validated performance” on its sustainability.

Following Dr Rochford, Prof Laurence Shalloo of Teagasc noted that discussion is ongoing with the EPA when it comes to the latest farm climate research.

He highlighted Teagasc research on a feed additive for dry cows on silage which shows methane reductions of about 15%, and another study which suggests that methane emissions from grazing cattle are overestimated by as much as 40% in spring.

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‘Scale and pace’ needed for roll out of farm climate measures - EPA