Increasing the land area farmed under tillage is one “obvious solution” to hitting the "ambitious targets" set out by Government this week according to the Irish Grain Growers (IGG) group.

The group said that “the facts are available but not highlighted enough” when it comes to the tillage sector’s “very low carbon footprint”.

IGG was speaking following the launch of the Government’s Climate Action Plan on Thursday, which set a carbon emissions reduction target of 22% to 30% by 2030.

Role of tillage

While IGG noted the sector does have “room for improvement”, it said that it is “up for the challenge” and already taking steps in the right direction.

The group welcomed the long-term commitment to the Straw Incorporation Measure and protein payment going forward, both measures within the Climate Action Plan reported by the Irish Farmers Journal on Thursday.

It said tillage farmers should feel “optimistic about their future”, but urged policy makers to realise the sector’s potential when it comes to its role in the national effort to reduce carbon emissions.

“We are good at growing grass in Ireland, but we are equally good, if not better, at growing crops, a fact lost on many.”

Getting CAP right

However, on CAP the, group said: “We must highlight again that the new CAP reform could and will have serious consequences for the active full-time tillage farmer.”

They outlined how tillage farmers “will be financially dragged back” and said it will lead to a situation where land formerly used for crop production will move to “other higher-producing carbon farm practices”.

The IGG group said this will be “going totally against the grain of the new Carbon Action Plan where low carbon-producing farming will be key to success going forward”.