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The Urgent Actions

The climate challenge requires a whole of sector co-ordinated response to move the industry forward. Teagasc, through its MACC curve, has set out how the agriculture and food system can evolve over the short and medium term to meet its climate obligations.

To support the need for early and decisive action at farm level, Teagasc plans to accelerate its research, advisory and education activity in the following areas:

Nitrogen - Immediate actions include:

Greater use of red and white clover in grazing systems, improved soil fertility/health, reduce crude protein in both bovine and pig diets, develop precision grazing technologies and fertiliser technologies.

Methane - Immediate actions include:

The generation of specific enteric methane emission factors for Irish grass-based systems; evaluation of feed additives and inhibitors; earlier slaughter of prime beef cattle; breeding lower enteric emitting animals; reducing methane emissions from slurry.

Carbon - Immediate actions include:

The generation of Irish specific emission factors related to soil type, land use and management; increased afforestation and the impact of afforestation on soil carbon fluxes, evaluate the influence of hedgerow and hedgerow management on soil carbon fluxes; increasing the use of cover crops in tillage; evaluate the influence of water table
management/rewetting of organic soils on soil carbon emissions.

Biodiversity - Immediate actions include:

Enhancing biodiversity in all farming systems; include an assessment of biodiversity in the National Farm Survey; developing effective farm scale biodiversity indicators supported by use of digital technologies; improve the biodiversity management plans for High Nature Value farming and forestry systems.

Diversification - Immediate actions include:

Increased activity in organic farming, horticulture and forestry as well as anaerobic digestion for bio-methane production.

Adaptation - Immediate actions include:

The production and management of resilient grasses and forages for the future Irish grass-based production systems; new crops and cropping systems; new pest and weed control.

Circular Food System - Immediate actions include:

Reducing food waste, eco-friendly packaging and alternative protein sources.

Policy - Immediate actions include:

Regularly updating the MACC, in collaboration with the EPA providing science-based Irish specific emission factors in the national inventory, and contributing science based policy advice on climate change, agriculture and land use at a national and international level.