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Make a small change that will make a BIG difference

Climate change and its associated policies has seen increasing pressure on agriculture worldwide to reduce its Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.The same is true in Ireland. Agriculture is classed as a significant contributor to GHG emissions in Ireland. Áine Murray, Teagasc PhD student has a solution

Climate change and policies associated with it has also seen increasing pressure on agriculture in Ireland to reduce its Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While many will argue that there are other sources to blame for GHGs in Ireland, agriculture is a currently classed as a significant contributor to GHG emissions in Ireland.

However, when it comes to ammonia emissions which impact air quality, agriculture in Ireland is responsible for 90% of these. Therefore we need to take action to achieve climate targets and to avoid potential fines that may be associated with breaching limits but also to exact a real change in terms of our ammonia and our GHG emissions to improve air quality and reduce any potential impact Irish agriculture may be having on global warming.

Protected Urea

One of the main ways that Irish farmers can dramatically reduce their ammonia emissions and also lessen greenhouse gas emissions associated with fertiliser application is to switch to protected urea. Protected urea is urea which is treated with an active ingredient called a urease inhibitor. The inhibitor blocks the conversion of urea to ammonium.  By doing this, ammonia gas lost from untreated urea is reduced significantly (79%).

When it comes to the GHGs, using protected urea in place of CAN reduces the losses of the very potent GHG, Nitrous Oxide, by 71%. The fact that the protected urea does not deliver N directly to the soil in the form of nitrate (as would be the case with CAN), nitrate losses that could occur in the event of rainfall following fertiliser application, is also reduced. Switching to protected urea impacts on water quality, greenhouse gas emissions and ammonia emissions AND it has no impact on grass growth as Áine Murray, PhD student at Teagasc Moorepark explains in this video.