Irish grain has a much lower carbon footprint than maize often imported for use in Irish rations from across the Atlantic, initial figures from a study into the carbon footprint of Irish grain from Teagasc show.

At this week’s Teagasc National Tillage Conference, John Spink showed figures from a Teagasc trial which places the carbon footprint of an Irish wheat crop at 169.2kg CO2e/t of grain produced in a plough-based establishment system.

This means 169.2kg of carbon dioxide equivalents were produced per tonne of wheat produced.

Detailed figures

The head of crops, environment and land use research at Teagasc detailed figures for winter wheat, barley, oats and oilseed rape in rotation and continuous wheat. He stated that the data was based on the period from 2016 to 2020.

In comparison, Brazilian maize has a carbon footprint of about 1,339kg CO2e/t and US maize has a carbon footprint of approximately 269kg CO2e/t.

Approximately 150,000t of Brazilian maize and 70,000t of US maize were imported into Ireland from January to November 2023.

More results from this project are expected shortly. See the full details of this research on the tillage pages of this week's paper.