Signpost Sustainability Week 2022
Farming for a Better Future
Friday, 14 October - Friday, 21 October 2022
Sustainability Week 2022 consisted of a series of public in person and virtual events: Farm Walks | Webinars | Podcasts
Click on the events to get more information from the week
- Teagasc Arrabawn Signpost Dairy Farm Walk - Loughrea, Co. Galway - Tuesday October 18th, 11am
- Teagasc Tirlan Signpost Dairy Farm Walk - Cappoquin, Co. Waterford - Thursday October 20th - 11am
- Teagasc Kerry Agribusiness Dairy Farm Walk - Crecora, Co. LImerick - Thursday October 20th - 11am
- First steps to achieving our emissions reduction target - Friday October 14th - 9.30am
- Launch of the Teagasc Sustainability Report 2021 - Monday October 17th - 2pm
- How Teagasc can help farmers improve sustainability on their farms - Friday October 21st - 9.30am
See details of the events taking place throughout the week below:
Programme of Events
Friday, 14 October | 9.30am
First steps to achieving our emissions reduction target
On this webinar which took place on Friday, 14 October, Mark Gibson, Head of Teagasc Outreach & Innovation Department, Teagasc was joined in studio by Dr Seamus Kearney, Teagasc Signpost Programme and Dr Deirdre Hennessey, Teagasc to discuss the first steps to achieving our emissions reduction target – reducing emissions from chemical N. The panel were also joined on farm by Signpost Dairy Farmer Edwin Thompson, Teagasc Tipperary Joint Programme and Shane O Hanlon, Teagasc Signpost Programme Advisor who gave an overview of the steps that Edwin is taking on the farm to reduce emissions from chemical N.
Watch webinar recording below
Monday, 17 October
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are greenhouse gases generated by agriculture, which have a negative impact on climate change. In agriculture methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) are the most important. Agriculture contributes over one third of Ireland’s national greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture now has a target of a 25% reduction ion greenhouse gasses to be achieved by 2030.
Click here for more information on reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Webinar - Launch of the Teagasc Sustainability Report 2021
The Teagasc Rural Economy programme published the annual Teagasc Sustainability Report for 2021, which is based on data collected from farmers through the National Farm Survey. The reports tracks the economic, social and environmental sustainability of Irish farms.
View presentation Signpost year one results presentation for Signpost webinar October 17th 2022 (PDF)
Podcast - The Environment Edge Special Edition - Reducing N and GHG losses
A special episode of The Environment Edge was released on Monday, 17 October featuring Signpost farmer, Trevor Boland from Co. Sligo along with Future Beef Programme Advisor Gabriel Trayers. Trevor farms in a heavy soils area, more prone to N2O losses and this podcast will focus on what is being done on the farm to reduce N and GHG losses.
Listen to the episode of The Environment Edge Podcast below
Tuesday, 18 October
Enhancing Farm Biodiversity
The Irish landscape provides a rich variety of natural, cultural and built heritage. Here, we outlined a range of relevant Teagasc resources that addressed farmland biodiversity and the Irish countryside. These included an overview and some detail on current and recent research projects, as well as a collection of Teagasc leaflets and information booklets.
Teagasc Arrabawn Signpost Dairy Farm Walk | 11am - 1pm
Conor is farming in Tynagh in Galway in partnership with his parents Vincent and Mary, and wife Orla. They are currently farming 100Ha, of which 20 is rented. The milking platform is 42Ha and is stocked at 3.2 cows/Ha. In 2021 they milked 128 cows. The EBI of the herd is €174 and the heifers are €253. The 6 week calving rate is 82%. The cows produced 430kg MS/cow in 2020. The farm grew 13t DM/Ha in 2020. Facilities on the farm are good with a new 24 unit parlour installed this year, 130 cubicle spaces available and good grazing infrastructure throughout the farm.
Father and son duo Vincent and Conor O’Brien farm together with the help of Ivor Glennon. Also present on the farm is Vincent’s wife, Mary, and Conor’s wife and kids, Orla, Frank, Alex and Kate. The O’Brien team are keen to ensure their farm is as sustainable as possible and recently invested in a state-of-the-art milking parlour and cow drafting system to provide a more efficient and safe working environment. A relatively new addition to the dairy world, Conor joined his father on the farm three years ago. Vincent had just acquired an adjacent farm and they decided to begin increasing the herd numbers together. Although their passion clearly lies in dairy farming, the duo are conscious that maintaining a healthy work life balance is of the utmost importance.
There has been a major focus on clover on the O’Brien family farm in recent years. On the day of the farm walk there will be a discussion on the establishment and management of grass clover swards. Clover content in some of the paddocks will be assessed and scored on the day.
Munster Bovine will be discussing the importance of the final milk recording and selective dry cow therapy. The average somatic cell count on the O’Brien farm is 36,000 cells/ml in 2022 which is excellent. This has been achieved through a major focus on hygiene at milking time as well as excellent milking facilities.
Topics discussed included
- How to reduce carbon footprint
- Clover management & establishment
- Water quality
- Importance of final milk recording and drying off cows
- Autumn grass management & fodder options
Speakers were as follows
- Thomas Murphy, Teagasc
- Shane O’Hanlon, Teagasc Signpost Advisor
- Ivan Kelly, Teagasc ASSAP Advisor
- Caitlin Looney, Teagasc
- Munster Bovine Representative
Wednesday, 19 October
Improving Soil Health
Teagasc has a long history of soils research and is currently working at the cutting edge of soils research in association with national and international collaborators. The current Teagasc programme focuses on the chemical, physical and biological health of agricultural soils and the development of sustainable soil management advice which enhances soil functions including soil biodiversity, carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, productivity, and water purification and storage.
Click here to read about some of the work being carried out within the Soil Programme in Teagasc
Thursday, 20 October
Improving Water Quality
In Ireland all water policy and management is led by the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and under this, the country has been set a target of achieving ‘good status’ for all its waters. However, despite a lot of good work over the last 20-30 years we are falling short in achieving this target and water quality has remained mainly static with no significant improvement being recorded. Updates will be provided on the work of the Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme (ASSAP) to help improve water quality, and also on the latest from the Agricultural Catchments Programme.
Teagasc Tirlan Signpost Dairy Farm Walk | 11am
This farm walk took place on Thursday, 20 October at 11am on the farm of Steven Fitzgerald, Graigue, Aglish, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, P51 NP92 for a Practice Change for Profit Teagasc Tirlán Signpost Farm Walk. Attendees at the farm walk had an insight into the facts and figures on the herd, closing for Autumn ’22 with clover, benefits to the farm and water quality with Multi species swards on this farm, how to maintain our hedgerows, recent farm buildings constructed on the farm and Tirlán will explain the Sustainability payment set up.
Teagasc Kerry Agribusiness Dairy Farm Walk | 11am
This farm walk took place on Thursday, 20 October at 11am on the farm of Gerry & Niall Moloney, Badgersfort, Crecora, Co. Limerick, V94 W1C9 for a Teagasc Kerry Agribusiness Signpost Farm Walk. Attendees at the farm walk were briefed on topics such as reducing nitrogen use; changing fertiliser type to reduce emissions and save money; breeding a more profitable and environmentally sustainable herd; and maintaining productivity by reducing emissions.
Calving Heifers at 24 Months Workshops
Calving heifers at two years of age significantly increases the net margin per suckler cow compared to calving at 30 to 36 months of age. Reducing the age at which heifers calve is also one of the most efficient ways to reduce carbon emissions from a suckler herd. Teagasc and ICBF ran a series of workshops across the country in October and November on this topic.
Friday, 21 October | 9:30am
How Teagasc can help farmers improve sustainability on their farms
On the Teagasc Signpost webinar series on Friday, 21 October at 9:30am Prof. Frank O’Mara, Director of Teagasc Signpost Programme, launched the Signpost Sustainability Results. While Dr. Tom O’Dwyer, Head of the Signpost Programme presented and discussed the results to date. The Signpost Programme ‘Farmers for climate action’, includes over 60 organisations and companies, and includes over 120 demonstration farmers across the range of farming enterprises.
View the webinar below