Irish sheep farmers will take part in a new €4.6m EU sheep scheme aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from sheep farms.
The LIFE Green Sheep project aims to reduce the carbon footprint of sheepmeat and milk production by 12%, while ensuring the sustainability of production.
Farmers from Ireland, France, Italy, Romania and Spain, who combined produce 47% of EU sheepmeat and 63% of EU sheep milk, will take part in the five-year scheme.
Under the scheme, farmers and farm advisers will carry out a large-scale diagnosis of GHG emissions and carbon storage on sheep farms.
Climate-friendly sheep farming practices will also be carried out and national action plans for different production systems will be developed.
The project is expected to result in a decrease in GHG emissions of 30,621t of CO2 equivalent, representing a 12% abatement on farms.
It is expected to deliver a diagnosis on GHG emissions and sustainability for over 1,355 demonstration sheep farms and 282 innovative farms, which are expected to act as leaders in the project.
Data from the project will be stored on a database, generating technical, economic and environmental performance results for different production systems in the five countries.
An economic and social feasibility analysis for the implementation of a carbon plan for the whole sheep production sector will also be carried out.
The project is also expected to deliver a common methodology for the assessment of the farm carbon footprint and sustainability.
In total, 143 farm advisers and 1,637 farmers from the five countries will take part in the scheme.