We are all continuously reading and hearing, more and more, over the last 2-3 years the narrative around Irish farming needing to reduce its’ environmental footprint. However on Wednesday, 9th December 2020 Irish farmers received an ultra clear message from the Irish Government outlining their future vision for Irish farming in the Report launched by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine entitled “Ag Climatise – A Roadmap towards Climate Neutrality”.
This Report for the first time clearly puts numbers on some of the action points.
- In this Report the Department states: ‘Chemical nitrogen use on Irish farms peaked at 408,000 tonnes in 2018. This must be reduced to a target level of 350,000 tonnes by 2025, with a further reduction to an ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM of 325,000 tonnes by 2030, equivalent to the usage in 2013. Over 50% of chemical nitrogen usage is in the dairy sector and therefore this must be a key focus area.’
- Furthermore the use of protected nitrogen products is promoted. The use of ‘standard’ urea is to be prohibited by the end of 2023, and the aim is to have 65% of straight CAN (Calcium Ammonium Nitrate) sales as protected urea/protected nitrogen by 2030.
In a nutshell, Irish farmers are going to need to grow their crops - whether that’s cereals, potatoes, vegetables, grazed grass and silage - using less chemical fertilisers. This needs to be achieved without hitting crop yield and quality in order to ensure the farmer earns a good return.
Drummonds agronomists are confident that we can help our valued customer to rise to this weighty challenge and “to grow more, while using less”. The key to achieving this target involves increasing the nutrient use efficiency of the chemical fertilisers we recommend our customers to apply; and ensuring that our soils are working and healthy; and capable of making the valuable nutrients “locked up” in many of our soils available to the growing crop.
Sustainable Soil Fertility Programme
The steps include:
- Mapping of the whole farm and taking accurate soil samples.
- Interpreting all soil tests and clearly explaining the results to our customer. Recent soil test results may be used where available.
- Creating an easy to understand, prescriptive lime & fertilizer plan on a field
by field, or even paddock by paddock basis, for your farm. For a livestock farmer our Plan will include slurry, farmyard manure as well as other organic manures. Every farm is different and our Plan is designed to be specific to soil type, field uses, crop offtake and stocking rate (in the case of a livestock farm).
- The structure of the soils on your farm will be assessed using the Grass VESS
(Visual Estimation Soil Structure) technique. This test will help identify potential problems which may exist and help with deciding on the most appropriate remedial action required.
- In addition we will conduct a soil biological activity test and estimate the stock and availability of nitrogen in your soils.
- On livestock farms pre-cutting silage yields will be measured; and pre-harvest samples are tested for sugars and nitrates in order to help improve the feeding value and quality of your silage.
N.B. Drummonds agronomists are partnered & availing of the technical expertise of Grassland Agro, who are our principal fertilizer supplier, located in the centre of our catchment in Slane, Co. Meath. Grassland Agro have proven technologies, and many years of experience and expertise in improving soil health.
Farmers interested in availing of our “Sustainable Soils Fertility Programme” should contact their local Drummonds Technical Sales Advisor/Agronomist, or speak with their local Drummonds Branch Manager in the coming days. Spring is just around the corner, and important decisions about your fertilizer requirements for ’21 will soon need to be made – arm yourself with the tools to make correct and accurate decisions for YOUR farm.
For Further information please contact your local Drummonds Advisor:
Fertiliser Services Manager
Tel: 01 - 8255 0111 (Clonee)
Mobile: 087- 400 3896
Agronomy Srevices Manager
Tel: 041 983 8986 (Drogheda)
Mobile: 087 600 4800
Article compiled by: Frank Glynn & Brian Reilly
To find your local Drummonds Branch Click Here and they will be delighted to help answer any queries you may have.