Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Departmental Funding

Photo of Matt ShanahanMatt Shanahan (Waterford, Independent)
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178. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to a developing pastureland project incorporating multi-seed sward analysis research being undertaken at Waterford Institute of Technology; if he has considered allocating specific funding from his Department to this greenhouse gas reduction initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10483/22]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The attributes of our grasslands are the foundation for the added-value and quality of those foods produced from grazing livestock.

The Deputy is right to draw attention to multi-species swards. This is an area that my Department has been funding research in recently and which is demonstrating the positive impacts they can have on climate, soil, biodiversity and water quality in pasture-based systems.

Last week, I announced the opening of a scheme providing financial support to farmers to sow Multi-Species Swards (MSS). We are targeting the planting of 12,000ha of MSS this year.

While I am unable to comment further on the project the Deputy is referring to until further information is provided, I am pleased to highlight involvement by the Waterford Institute of Technology in a project involving multi-species swards, ‘LoCAM-Dairy’, which received funding of just under €600,000 from my Department.

This project aims to demonstrate the environmental sustainability and generate greenhouse gas emission factors associated with the reseeding of grasslands using multi-species swards coupled with no nitrogen fertiliser application. Projects such as this are essential for feeding into the scientific evidence-base that it is critical to turn research into policy and practice, which has been demonstrated recently through the roll out of the Multi-Species Sward Measure at farm level.

It is also important to highlight the recognition in Food Vision 2030 of multi-species swards as a priority for enhanced research. In line with this, my Department will continue to support the research needed to investigate aspects of multi-species swards in an Irish context and in particular, the role they can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving soil structure and enhancing biodiversity, while also maintaining the quality of our meat and dairy produce and supporting the viability of farmers.


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