1. Home
  2. /
  3. Climate Change
  4. /
  5. Climate Change News
  6. /
  7. McConalogue Launches Innovative €10...

McConalogue Launches Innovative €10 Million Soil Sampling and Analysis Programme

Sep 22, 2021 | Biodiversity News, Climate Change News

The Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr Charlie McConalogue T.D., today launched a major investment of €10 million in a pilot Soil Sampling and Analysis Programme. This substantial programme is aimed at putting soil carbon, soil health and fertility at the very centre of our future agricultural model.

Minister McConalogue said, “Our farmers know that a healthy soil is the bedrock for all farming be it livestock, tillage or horticulture. A healthy soil equals a healthy crops and grass and this equals healthy livestock Having knowledge about soils on our farms and using the knowledge to drive soil health will improve both the economic and environmental sustainability of farms.

“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.”

Minister McConalogue added, “As well as the soil fertility and soil pathogen assessment, the programme will measure baseline soil carbon levels which will guide future actions to support carbon farming. It will also 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.”

Our soils will play an important role in meeting our water, air, climate and biodiversity targets of both the CAP and Green Deal. This sampling programme will provide farmers with the critical information to make farm management decisions from improving nutrient use efficiency to soil carbon levels in our soils. Advisors will be up-skilled to assist farmers in translating the results of the programme into meaningful guidance for farmers. In this way, the pilot programme will realise the potential of managing soils on Irish farms.

Minister McConalogue emphasised: “Soil health and nutrient management are high on my Department’s priorities and feature strongly in commitments of the Programme for Government therefore this pilot programme is an important first step in delivering on these. It is also in line with my Department’s Action Plan 2021.”

Minister Pippa Hackett, who has responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity also welcomed the launch of this pilot soil sampling and analysis programme and stated, “Our soil is so much more than just a growing medium for a crop – be that grass, cereals or horticulture. Healthy soil is alive with biodiversity, which supports much of our wider ecosystem, and it can also sequester and store carbon. However, soil in Ireland is currently a net emitter of carbon; we need to reverse that, and this programme will help us to do that. It will give farmers critical information about their own soil, which will enable them to make more targeted land management decisions. It will also generate national baseline information on soil across Irish farms, which will inform policymakers make decisions about the best advice to give. I am really looking forward to seeing the results, and would urge farmers to get involved.”

Minister Martin Heydon who has responsibility for Research and Development added, “This investment builds on our recent investment of €2 million in a National Soil carbon observatory, a significant research project to better understand carbon in our soils. These investments build our capacity to deliver an important climate contribution from the sector in the years ahead and I would encourage all farmers to avail of this initiative and work with their advisors to tailor their management practices in light of the important information these samples will deliver.”

The programme will be open for applicants on Monday 27th September and full details are available at Pilot Soil Sampling Programme.

All Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine initiatives are undertaken as part of the Department’s Action Plan 2021, which is available at Statement of Strategy 2021 – 2024.

Latest News Categories