Written answers

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Photo of Peadar TóibínPeadar Tóibín (Meath West, Aontú)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

357. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to recent Teagasc research (details supplied) into the sequestering of carbon on Irish farms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8431/23]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I understand from Teagasc that the research in question was based on data from five mineral grassland sites monitored by the Teagasc Environment Research Centre, Johnstown Castle, County Wexford. The average sequestration rate was -1.5 tCO2e, ranging from -0.75 to -4.11 tCO2e per hectare per year. These studies were conducted over a limited number of sites and years. There were no agricultural peat soil sites included in these studies, which are currently a major source of emissions in the inventory.

The sequestration rate at sites in Johnstown Castle varied due to land-use change, changes in farm management practices and due to climate variation, such as dry years. The effect of these factors can switch soils from being a net sink to a net source of carbon emissions. All of these factors require further measurement before the inventory can be amended and are subject to new research.

We provided Teagasc with €4.5 million for the purchase of equipment to fund the National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory (NASCO) to investigate the effect of soil type, land-use, farm management and climate on carbon emissions and sequestration across 30 Irish sites. Teagasc is currently completing the establishment of the carbon observatory and has recruited new staff to manage the infrastructure. Ultimately, this research will help farmers to produce carbon balances more accurately for their specific farms and support carbon farming initiatives.

We are also funding the ‘AGRI-SOC’ project led by Teagasc to evaluate land-use and management impacts on soil organic carbon in Irish grasslands. This project aims to provide better mitigation options and a toolkit for farmers to assist the sector both in terms of a reduced carbon footprint for agricultural produce and to provide more accurate measures of carbon sequestration in grasslands for improved national inventory reporting.

In addition, we are funding Irish researchers involved in collaborative European projects under the European Joint Programme on Soil that also involves research on soil carbon sequestration. In a further effort to build on this, sequestration is also included in the specification of the Department’s Thematic Research Call 2023 that I launched in recent days.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.