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Apply now for Pilot Soil Sampling Programme

Apply now for Pilot Soil Sampling Programme

Today, Monday 27th September sees the opening of a pilot Soil Sampling and Analysis Programme. This is a farm level soil sampling & analysis initiative which will provide farmers and their advisors with comprehensive details about the soil health and condition on their farms. Read how to apply here

Pictured above: Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State for Agriculture, Pippa Hackett with Rory Geldard, NRM, David O'Connell, IAS Laborotaries and Eoghan Finneran, Farmeye

Last week The Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr Charlie McConalogue T.D., launched a major investment of €10 million in the pilot Soil Sampling and Analysis Programme. This substantial programme is aimed at putting soil carbon, soil health and fertility at the very centre of our future agricultural model.

While this pilot programme does not provide the farmer with a monetary payment, the incentive for the farmer is to receive comprehensive soil analysis reports with next generation data which, with advisory support will be used as a soil management tool on the farm. The soil sampling programme, at field scale, will provide the basis for the next generation of soil-specific nutrient management advice and underpin targeted fertiliser and organic manure applications (right nutrient type, right application rate, right time & right place) across all farming systems in Ireland.

How to apply

  • A farmer with a 2021 BPS application may apply to participate.
  • The application is submitted online through the Agfood system, completed by the farmer or approved agent of the farmer.
  • Participation is voluntary and it is open to all regions and farming enterprises.
  • Applications will be accepted on a first come first served basis - however a regional spread of applicants will be selected.

There is a limit on the number of samples that can be taken per participating farm of 16 samples, the equivalent of 64 ha. This limit is in place to ensure maximum uptake in terms of geographic region and farming system across the country.

What happens next?

  • Successful applicants will be contacted by the laboratory to arrange a sampling time.
  • Soil sampling will commence from October 2021
  • Soil analysis results will be returned to the Department, the farmer (and ICBF if this option was selected).
  • Each famer will receive the analysis reports with information on macro- and micronutrients, soil carbon and the presence of E.coli.
  • Advisors will assist in the interpretation of results to achieve maximum benefit.

Overall benefits

The programme will gather baseline soil information to inform better policy development, implementation and monitoring and as a basis for enhanced farm level nutrient and environmental sustainability advice. The soil parameters will assist with targeting management practices /measures and advice to support national and EU policy such as Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), Climate Action Plan, Farm-to-Fork, Water Framework & Nitrates Directives, and the Biodiversity Strategy and the new EU R&I, Soil Health and Food Mission.

Developing a baseline national data set

The purpose of this programme therefore is to develop a baseline national data set at farm level for these parameters:

  • Macro- and micronutrients for agronomic advice and water quality risk assessment.
  • Soil carbon(C) relating primarily improving climate objectives and soil health.
  • Soil pathogen assessment as a biosecurity measure for policy guidance.

Information for Agents

Agents who wish to apply on behalf of their 2021 BPS clients must confirm with client that they approve of this application. Details are available in: follow the Agent Authorisation Information on the Soil Sampling Programme webpage.

All applications are made individually for each interested farmer, partnership or company.

The Pilot Soil Sampling Programme (SSP) will be delivered by a collaboration which includes NRM, IAS Laboratories and Farmeye.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has advised that:

 Farmers must read the Terms and Conditions which can be found at this link: Pilot Soil Sampling Programme –Terms & Conditions and Other documentation