Teagasc Signpost Programme Newsletter May 2022
In this month’s newsletter, we publish a factsheet on practical steps to reduce chemical N use on farms as well as an article on useful tips for managing silage effluent. We have the profiles of 3 Signpost farmers, our monthly climate actions, key messages from the Teagasc clover walks and more
We have the profiles of 3 Signpost farmers, John Joe Fitzgerald, sheep farmer from Kerry, JP Hammersley, dairy calf to beef farmer from Tipperary and Richard Starrett, dairy farmer from Donegal, as well as our monthly climate actions. In case you missed the recent Teagasc clover walks, we have recorded the key messages. Our decision support tool for this month is the popular Grass 10 newsletter which provides a useful guide to grassland management throughout the grazing season. We have an update from Signpost with a Royal Visit and an award for the programme. On the Environment Edge podcast, Maria Hayes of the The Sea Solutions project outlines what they are doing to reduce methane emissions.
Steps to Reduce Chemical Nitrogen
The Government’s Climate Action Plan 2021 sets out a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Irish agriculture by 22-30% by 2030. To achieve this target reduction, a suite of measures has been identified. One of the targets is to reduce chemical nitrogen (N) fertiliser use by 20% to 2030.
Silage Pit & Effluent Management
Silage effluent is a highly polluting liquid and can cause fish kills in watercourses/rivers and contaminate wells if not collected, stored and land spread properly. It is important to examine and repair silage pits and collection channels when pits are empty to ensure safe storage.
John Joe Fitzgerald
John Joe started lambing on the 10th of April with all the ewes lambing outdoors on the enclosed rough ground where they were being supplemented with hay and concentrates prior to lambing. Ewes and lambs initially move to the green ground after lambing. The plan is that the ewes rearing singles will remain here for the first 7 weeks before going back to the hill, while the ewes rearing twins will remain on the green ground up until weaning time in early August.
Growth and demand continue to remain finely balanced here in Lattin at 27kg DM/ha/day and 31kg DM/ha/day, respectively. I’m hoping that we will experience a flourish of growth over the coming week or two. A key priority over the coming weeks is to make excellent quality silage. With rising input prices, I feel that having 74+ DMD silage in the yard is the best strategy to reduce some of the impact of potentially higher meal prices for the winter ahead
For the last three years Richard has been using protected urea when applying straight nitrogen and has been happy with the results. He sees no difference in grass growth in comparison to CAN or Urea when using protected urea. Richard does have some clover in swards and has included it in seed mixtures over the last 10 years. In 2021, he over sowed clover in paddocks on the milking platform and the plan is to continue to do this in 2022. He will have to adopt different management to promote greater clover content in his swards where over sowing has taken place.
Climate Actions for May
Each month, we present climate actions that farmers can take to reduce gaseous emissions. These actions will be practical and timely. See below climate actions for the month of May.
Key Messages from Recent Clover Walks
Mike Egan, Teagasc Researcher, Moorepark provides us with a short tutorial on Clover Establishment .
John Douglas, Teagasc Grassland Specialist, Grass 10 provides us with a short tutorial on Nutrient Management in Grass Clover Swards
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Each week, you can expect to see:
- PastureBase Ireland growth figures
- Grass10 Weekly Tips
- Grass growth and soil temperature predictions
- A Grass10 Farmer profile
- The Clover Reporter
- Research Updates
We have an update from Signpost with a Royal Visit and a training award
In March, HRH Prince Charles visited a Teagasc Glanbia Signpost Future Farm in Waterford – Shane and John Fitzgerald, Portlaw, Co. Waterford and tasted some very fine whiskey from Signpost tillage farmer John Crowley’s farm. The Irish Institute of Training and Development awarded ICOS Skillnet, ICOS, Dairygold & Teagasc with the Pearse Walsh Award 2022 for their “Sustainability Programme - Practical Steps to more Sustainable Farming Systems".
Winners of the Pearse Walsh Award, presented by Harvest
The Irish Institute of Training and Development awarded ICOS Skillnet, ICOS, Dairygold & Teagasc with the Pearse Walsh Award 2022 for their “Sustainability Programme - Practical Steps to more Sustainable Farming Systems”. This entry excited the judges with a truly inspiring project aimed at reducing carbon footprint by influencing the behaviour of individuals in the farming community. This project represents a huge collaborative effort starting with ICOS Skillnet and stretching to Teagasc, The Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine (DAFM), Bord Bia, University College Cork (UCC) and others. The teams presentation to the Pearse Walsh judges brought to life the challenges and scalability opportunities, the innovative approach to learning and the transfer of learning of this initiative with clarity, insight, and purpose. The judges believe that the initiative demonstrates an innovative approach to learning and the transfer of learning which reflects the spirit of the Pearse Walsh Award
The Environment Edge Podcast
With a third of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from agriculture and methane being one of the biggest challenges, what is the Teagasc led project Sea Solutions doing to solve the problem. Dr Maria Hayes, Teagasc Senior researcher in Ashtown’s food research centre and coordinator of the Sea Solutions project joins us for a chat.
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Signpost Programme Partners
The Signpost Programme is a collaborative partnership of farmers, industry and State Agencies, working together for climate action.