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John & Debbie Sheridan

Farm Update January 2023

John and Debbie Sheridan are dairy Signpost farmers farming in Killoskehane, Borrisoleigh, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.  John has worked closely with Mark Bourke (Centenary), Padraig Costigan (local Teagasc advisor) and Shane O’Hanlon (Signpost programme advisor) to put in place a plan to reduce total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on his farm. Using protected urea as his main source of nitrogen (N) was identified as an “easy win” for John. “I made the call to my local co-op (Centenary Co-op) and ordered the fertilisers based on my nutrient management plan” John explains.

Protected Urea

Over the entire year, 70% of nitrogen fertiliser purchased on John’s farm was a protected fertiliser. “Financially it made sense to switch over to protected urea.  For every 5 tonne of CAN I would normally use, I switched to 3 tonne of protected urea and I saved €1,200”. Switching from CAN to protected urea contributed to a saving of €8,000 in John’s overall fertiliser bill. By adopting protected urea, John also reduced total GHG emissions on his farm by 4%.

“I saved €12,700 and reduced emissions by 5% on my farm this year”

In 2021, John spread 211 kg N/ha.  In 2022, he has reduced the nitrogen use to 175 kg N/ha or a reduction of 17%, compared to 2021”. Based on Pasture Base data up to 1st October in both years, John’s grass grown in 2022 was 10,302 kg DM/ha compared to 10,865 kg DM/ha in 2021. The reduction in yield in 2022 is due to drought and reflective of the impact of the drought on yield across the country.  This reduction in nitrogen fertiliser use has saved a further €4,700. This reduction in nitrogen has also reduced overall GHG emissions on John’s farm by an additional 1%. “Overall I have saved €12,700 and reduced my overall farm emissions by 5%, by changing fertiliser product and reducing my nitrogen application slightly for every grazing round. It was the most valuable phone call I made in 2022.  Ordering protected urea will be the first phone call I will make for 2023!”

Shane O’Hanlon / Padraig Costigan