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€10m Soil Sampling and Analysis Programme launched

Soil will play an important role in helping Ireland meet its water, air, climate and biodiversity targets

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Horticulture

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3 June 2021 | 0

A €10 million Soil Sampling and Analysis Programme has been launched by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. It is hoped that the programme will put soil carbon, soil health and fertility at the very centre of Ireland’s future agricultural model.

Healthy soil is the basis for all farming, be it livestock, tillage or horticulture, said Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue.

“Detailed knowledge about soils on our farms will increase economic and environmental sustainability and I am pleased to announce my department’s support for the Pilot Soil Sampling and Analysis Programme to establish national baseline information on soils across Irish farms,” said Minister McConalogue.

Soil will play an important role in helping Ireland meet the water, air, climate and biodiversity targets of both the CAP and Green Deal. The sampling programme will provide the farmer with the critical information to make farm management decisions from improving nutrient use efficiency to soil carbon levels in our soils.

As well as assessing soil fertility and soil pathogen, baseline soil carbon levels will be measured under the initiative. The findings will guide future actions to support carbon farming.

Participants will not receive a monetary payment but will receive comprehensive soil analysis reports with next generation data which, with advisory support, can be used as a soil management tool.

At field scale, the soil sampling programme will provide the basis for the next generation of soil-specific nutrient management advice and underpin targeted fertiliser and organic manure applications (right nutrient type, right application rate, right time and right place) across all farming systems in Ireland.

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