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Environment Newsletter - February 2023

08 February 2023
Type Newsletter

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In this edition:

  • Best practice burning
    Uncontrolled wildfires are unequivocally devastatingfor all uplands, but it is important not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Restrictions in timing of when burning is allowed tend to be foremost in all burning discussions, giving a perception that anyburning between September and February is ok, but that is not the case.
  • Wild Atlantic Nature knowledge exchange groups
    Background - Farmer discussion groups have been a key component of the Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) programme for many years. Research has found that discussion group members are more likely to adopt technology and that groups are an effective mechanism in the delivery of advice. Discussion groups are impacting on management and efficiency.
    Mayo KE WAN group - Lowland farmers discuss grassland management at their monthly meetings using grass measurement and budgeting tools as decision-making aids.
  • Message from ASSAP - Careful application of slurry
    As chemical fertiliser prices have increased significantly in the past 12 months and remain high, it is worth noting that the value of organic fertilisers has also increased. Now 1,000 gallons of slurry is worth approximately €50. Here are some slurry application tips.
  • Message from Signpost - Lowering your fertiliser bill
    • Where do I start to reduce emissions? Step one on any farm should be to reduce the reliance on chemical nitrogen (N) in grassland and cropping systems.
    • How does reducing chemical N reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? Chemical N releases nitrous oxide into the atmosphere when applied to land. Nitrous oxide is one of the three main GHGs we need to reduce. If you reduce the amount of chemical N used on the farm you reduce the amount of nitrous oxide emitted.
    • How can I reduce chemical N use?
      1. Get soil fertility correct.
      2. Apply slurry using low-emission slurry spreading (LESS) methods between February and May.
      3. Use clover or multi-species swards.
    • What chemical fertiliser should I use? If chemical fertiliser must be applied, then switching from CAN and straight urea to protected urea will directly reduce both GHG and ammonia emissions, while also being cheaper.