Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, has launched a new initiative entitled: the Teagasc Soils, Nutrients and Fertiliser Campaign for 2022.
This is in response to the unprecedented fertiliser prices and potential supply availability concerns arising this spring.
In October 2021, McConalogue requested Teagasc Director Professor, Frank O’Mara, to lay out a “credible” roadmap to:
- Assist farmers in the short term;
- Also, to offer long-term solutions “in the move” to reduce Ireland’s dependency on chemical fertilisers.
Teagasc responded by assembling what McConalogue described as “practical, easy to use” information.
He said this data would assist farmers, advisors, and other stakeholders to optimise the use of valuable plant nutrients.
The minister views this as an “important” roadmap for the short, medium, and long-term that will “help reduce our dependency” on chemical fertiliser in a sustainable manner.
Teagasc fertiliser campaign
Speaking at the launch today (Wednesday, January 26th, 2022), the minister said:
“I have been closely monitoring the rise in fertiliser prices over the past six months. It is something I am seriously concerned about.”
“That is why I am excited to see the Soils, Nutrients and Fertiliser Campaign come to life. This is a campaign that will be good for the environment and good for the pocket.”
The Teagasc Soils, Nutrients and Fertiliser Campaign aims to assist farmers in addressing the challenge of maintaining farm output whilst dealing with the rising cost and availability of fertilisers internationally.
Teagasc Director, Professor Frank O Mara, said Teagasc is farmers to focus on:
- Nutrient management planning;
- Optimisation of soil fertility;
- Using organic manures strategically;
- Increasing clover in swards;
- All balanced with prudent fertiliser usage.
“The knowledge base in Teagasc will be available through our advisors and specialists to assist farmers to adapt to the current fertiliser market, and support them to make informed decisions,” he said.
Managing plant nutrients
According to Pat Murphy, head of the Teagasc Environment Knowledge Transfer Department, the “crucial” need to protect our environment means that prudent management of plant nutrients on grass and tillage crops is “more vital than ever”.
He highlighted the timing, rates of application, and choice of chemical fertilisers and organic manures will impact profitability.
“Careful use of plant nutrients will also minimise the risk of releasing greenhouse gases into the air or nutrients to our waters,” he advised.
Teagasc has assembled 20 factsheets to provide “the latest” technical advice. They are available for all farmers to view and download via its website.
The factsheets cover soil testing, lime application, organic manures, clover, P and K advice, and protected urea.
Also, there are detailed enterprise factsheets with practical advice for farmers with cattle, sheep, dairy, and tillage businesses.
Lastly, the state agency addresses the importance of growing enough grass this year and securing enough fodder for next winter in individual factsheets.