Tillage farmers in Ireland are reaching 76.5% nitrogen use efficiency with some at almost 100%.

At a Signpost farm walk last week, Teagasc figures showed that Signpost farmer Darren Allen from Co Cork had a nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) of 98.5% in 2022. This means that almost all nitrogen used on the farm was taken up by a crop and is not lost to the environment.

Good soil fertility was a contributing factor in this figure, cover crops were planted to take up nitrogen which may otherwise be lost to water, crop rotation, the use of organic manures, protected urea and appropriate nitrogen fertiliser rates all contributed.

According to the Teagasc National Farm Survey specialist tillage farms have a figure for NUE of 76.5%. To put that into perspective the average dairy farm had a NUE of 27.2% in 2022.

Cattle farms had a NUE of 33.9% and sheep farms had a NUE of 37.6%. Tillage farms with livestock had a NUE of 66.6% in 2022.