Uptake of protected urea and using low-emission slurry spreading (LESS) equipment are two of the main actions at farm level identified to reduce greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions and show that farmers are willing to change, IFA environment chair Paul O’Brien has said.

Sales of protected urea have increased this year, from January to June just under 40,000t was sold, compared to 21,000t in 2019.

O’Brien said: “Nobody is denying the scale of the climate challenge facing Irish farmers, but it is great to see farmers already adapting and getting on with it.

“In the midst of extreme scrutiny of farming practices, what often gets overlooked is the positive and tangible change that is occurring at farm level.”

Willing to change

The IFA has said that these actions show that farmers are willing to change, but highlighted that a focussed plan is needed to encourage farmers to take up the measures identified in the Teagasc MACC.

Teagasc research identified protected urea as the number one technology to reduce losses of both ammonia from urea and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere.

IFA dairy chair Tom Phelan said that with grant support from TAMS, farmers have already invested an estimated €79.6m in LESS equipment such as trailing shoes and dribble bars.

Phelan said: “There is a six- to nine-month waiting list for such machinery, which clearly indicates the interest among farmers. Next year, all farmers in receipt of a nitrates derogation must spread their slurry with LESS. This is real change delivered by farmers.”

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