MINISTER for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr Charlie McConalogue has launched a major investment of €10 million in a pilot Soil Sampling and Analysis Programme.
This programme is aimed at putting soil carbon, soil health and fertility at the centre of Ireland’s future agricultural model.
Minister McConalogue said: “Our farmers know that a healthy soil is the basis for all farming be it livestock, tillage or horticulture.
“Detailed knowledge about soils on our farms will increase economic and environmental sustainability.
“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.
“In addition to 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 & right place) across all farming systems in Ireland.”
Soils will play and important role in meeting our water, air, climate and biodiversity targets of both the CAP and Green Deal.
This 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.
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 said: “Soil health and nutrient management are high on my Departments 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.”