Sustainable Farming for the Future
Farmers are increasingly facing the challenge of farming sustainably from an economic, social, and environmental perspective. ‘Driving sustainable growth’ is the theme for the Teagasc stand at this year’s National Ploughing Championships in Carlow, and all three pillars of sustainability are being addressed by Teagasc researchers, specialists, and advisors over the three day event.
Enterprise specialists combining with environmental specialists will outline the technologies to optimise farm productivity and enhance the environment.
Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle said; “Teagasc environmental research on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, protecting water quality, enhancing soil structure and fertility and encouraging biodiversity on farms, will help farmers to farm commercially while protecting the environment. We have identified win-win solutions for farmers to adopt on their own farms and we would encourage all farmers to look to implement these.”
Head of Environment Knowledge Transfer, Pat Murphy said; “low emission slurry spreading and protected urea are two technologies that farmers must adopt if we are to seriously address the levels of ammonia and greenhouse gases coming from agriculture. Enhancing biodiversity on farms, particularly through hedges and field margins, will be critical to the future, and looking at indicator species like bees is a great way to check that our farming activities are in tune with nature.”
David Wall, Teagasc environment researcher said: “Soils underpin Irish agriculture and how we manage them to maintain soil quality is critical to the future productivity of Irish agriculture. Addressing issues like soil compaction and nutrient loss are steps that the individual farmer can take to improve their farming enterprises. The new team of water quality advisers (ASSAP) are working with farmers across the country to maintain and improve water quality.”
The outdoor exhibition at the Teagasc stand at the National Ploughing Championships showcases many good farming practices for the environment;
- The first paddock exhibits the soil profile, the basis for all production, demonstrating rooting depth by grass and mustard crops and issues related to soil compaction management.
- The second paddock demonstrates how trailing shoe slurry application compares with splash plate application and outlines the benefits of protected urea fertiliser.
- The third paddock exhibits varying grass covers and how grass production and management can help optimise profitability sustainably.
- The final paddock will showcase Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Measures to promote plant biodiversity and support bee populations are highlighted. Integrating forestry into sustainable production systems will be addressed.