Minister McConalogue and Teagasc are planning a fertiliser alternative strategy.
The minister has engaged with the state agency to seek a roadmap to maintain farm output, whilst reducing the use of chemical fertiliser on farms and dealing with the rising cost and availability of fertilisers internationally.
Fertiliser alternative strategy
Minister McConalogue spoke with incoming Teagasc director, Frank O’Mara on Wednesday, September 29th, 2021.
They agreed to examine all options to provide farmers with “viable” advice to run their farming business, whilst reducing dependence on chemical fertiliser.
The report will look at the short, medium and long-term options of farmers reducing chemical fertiliser usage.
The move comes in response to a spike in fertiliser prices, at home and internationally in recent weeks due, primarily, to increases energy costs.
Minister McConalogue and Frank O’Mara agreed that there is “untapped potential” in the more strategic use of cattle and pig slurry, farmyard manure and alternative fertiliser to grow grass and reduce costs.
Also, they agreed that there needs to be a greater focus on lime and soil testing.
Besides, Minister McConalogue recently launched an innovative €10m soil sampling initiative.
Commenting on the development, Minister McConalogue said:
“I am acutely conscious of the situation around fertiliser prices, which is very much an international issue.”
“While I cannot control prices or influence the market, I believe there are options on the island where we can grow more grass while reducing our dependency on chemical fertiliser.”
Furthermore, he said this would have benefits for both farmers but also the environment. “We are fortunate to have Teagasc at our disposal. I know they will deliver a report and roadmap that will serve our sector, farmers and environment.”
“Furthermore, I know Frank and his team will deal with this plan and roadmap as a matter of urgency. I look forward to seeing it come to fruition.”