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Key measures: what should farmers and policy makers focus on first?

Nitrous oxide mitigation

  • Management of and reductions in use of nitrogen fertilisers should be the first focus. This can be achieved through a combination of reduced N fertiliser application and altered fertiliser formulation (either protected urea or ammonium-based compound fertilisers).
  • Key technologies for achieving a reduction in nitrogen fertiliser use include the greater use of white and red clover, achieving optimum soil pH and soil P/K status in combination with enhanced use of legumes and multi-species swards and the use of Low Emissions Slurry Spreading (LESS). These can reduce fertiliser use to between 322,590 tonnes N (P1) and 285,727 tonnes N (P2) by 2030.
  • Altering fertiliser formulation (switching from CAN to protected urea or an ammonium-based compound) will reduce emissions in 2030 by between 418 ktCO2eq yr1 (Pathway 1) and 553 ktCO2eq yr1 (Pathway 2). Reduced crude protein in animal feed concentrates will also contribute to reduced nitrogen loading in soils.
  • The cumulative abatement over the period 2021 to 2030 for nitrogen fertiliser is between 6.8 million and 11.1 million tonnes CO2eq.

Methane mitigation

  • EBI could reduce absolute levels of methane by 255 ktCO2eq yr1 by 2030 under both Pathway 1 and 2. View video below with further information from Donagh Berry

  • Reduced age at finish could reduce emissions in 2030 by 470 and 732 ktCO2eq yr1 for Pathways 1 and 2, respectively. This is equivalent to a reduction of average finishing age by 2 and 3 months, respectively. View video below with information from Paul Crossan

  • Feed additives that inhibit methane production in the rumen, could reduce methane emissions in 2030 by between 396 ktCO2eq yr1 (P1) and 788 ktCO2eq yr1 (P2). These still require a lot of research for development and deployment.
  • Diversification into organic farming, forestry or particularly feedstock (grass) production for biomethane production could reduce emissions in 2030 by between 150 ktCO2eq yr1 and 417 ktCO2eq yr1.
  • Manure management, in terms of slurry additives and aeration but also biomethane and extended grazing could reduce manure methane emissions by between 423 ktCO2eq yr1 and 879 ktCO2eq yr1 by 2030.

Marginal Abatement Cost Curve 2023

Figure 4: Marginal Abatement Cost Curve for LULUCF in 2030 (carbon abatement and sequestration associated with forestry, land management and land-use change) for Pathway 2 uptake levels. Values are based on linear uptake of measures between 2021-2030. Dashed line indicates Carbon cost of €100 per tonne CO2.

Marginal Abatement Cost Curve 2023

Figure 5: Marginal Abatement Cost Curve for 2030 bioenergy abatement produced in the agriculture and forestry sectors using Pathway 2 uptake levels. The dashed column indicates the biomethane marginal cost at pre-2022 energy price levels (low cast scenario). The dashed column indicates the cost of biomethane at pre-2022 gas prices. The dashed line indicates Carbon cost of €100 per tonne CO2.