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Improved farm practices that are reducing emissions at farm level

Teagasc researcher, Jonathan Herron, joins Emma-Louise Coffey on this week’s Dairy Edge podcast and quantifies how much dairy farming is contributing to national greenhouse gas emissions with practices on dairy farms showing a reduction in emissions intensity.

Jonathan explains that dairy production accounts for 12% (agriculture = 34%) of total national emissions, with methane and nitrous oxide being the predominant gases being emitted from agriculture.

Jonathan gives an insight into the new emissions intensity of milk production per kg CO2-eq per kg fat and protein corrected milk at 0.99 kg, compared to previously reported 1.12 kg.  He explains that this takes into account where farmers have engaged in improved farming practices such as switching from CAN to Urea or protected Urea, switching from splash plate to LESS technologies, integrates white clover and improved genetic merit of their herds.

For farms that stopped using CAN on farms, they reduced emissions by 7-8% with no negative impact to grass productivity.

Jonathan suggested that future emission intensity can include a mitigation factor arising from Carbon sequestration. While the quantity of Carbon sequestered per ha is not known yet, research is on-going to quantify how much Carbon is stored on Irish farms in tree and plant life (i.e. hedgerows, grassland and tillage crops).

For more episodes from the Dairy Edge podcast go to the show page at: www.teagasc.ie/thedairyedgepodcast

The Dairy Edge is a co-production with LastCastMedia.com