Teagasc boss Frank O’Mara was speaking at the Lismullin spring seminar in Meath last week. Just back from a study trip to New Zealand, he was fresh with ideas that could be implemented in Ireland.

One of his stand-out take home messages was around the work Kiwi farmers are doing to monitor water quality in over 300 catchments around New Zealand.

In many cases, farmers had invested in the equipment themselves and were monitoring nutrients in the water to better inform themselves on what was happening in rivers and streams running through farms.

The learning and sharing of information from this equipment was upskilling farmers on managing nutrients and water quality.


The model of changing water quality is completely at odds with the regulatory stance taken by Irish authorities, who have implemented almost 40 different new water improvement measures in the last two years.

All stick and no carrot comes to mind.

The other key take home he had was all the work they had ongoing on the use of plantain in the ryegrass and clover swards to better help reduce the risk of nitrogen leaching and nitrous oxide emissions.

It is fair to say both research and advisory projects would have real relevance here in an Irish grazing scenario also.