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ICMSA say ‘drill-down’ into EPA Report shows progress made

The GHG inventories issued by EPA highlight a rise in emissions for the agriculture but they also show obvious changes that are occurring at farm level.  

“The devil – and the progress made- is in the detail and it’s necessary to ‘drill-down’ to see the areas where progress is being made” said President of the ICMSA, Pat McCormack.

“There are trends developing within each sub heading that show progress. For example, the amount of emissions from lime application increased by 37.5% in the last year because farmers are actively trying to correct the soil pH. This is a good thing as it should reduce our dependence on nitrogen fertiliser going forward. Our emissions from urea have increased by 8.8%. This can be easily be reduced by encouraging farmers to incorporate protected urea into their fertiliser programs, which is something we have been pushing with the Co-ops and merchants” said Mr. Mc Cormack. “Protected urea must become more widely available and accessible and as that occurs, we expect to see the emissions from Nitrogen fall significantly”, he continued

The ICMSA President noted that emissions from manure management have declined marginally and he attributed that to the fact that more and more farmers are using low emission slurry-spreading equipment on their land. 

“We anticipate that this is only the start of a declining trend in this area and, again, this is a declining trend that we could accelerate if the Government was prepared to look at more flexible grants and financial tools around what is prohibitively expensive machinery ” said Mr. Mc Cormack.

But it was on methane emission levels that the ICMSA President was most focussed: “As we all know methane is our biggest contributor to GHG emissions and is a direct consequence of increased cattle numbers. For the first time since 2012, methane emissions have stabilised”, said Mr. Mc Cormack, who said this was a significant finding. “This should not be overlooked and may point to a stabilisation in herd size going forward”, he noted.

“While headlines grab attention, the detail is what matters and when you ‘drill-down’ you see that change is happening on farms nationwide and that has to be welcomed” concluded Mr. Mc Cormack.  

Ends.  24 October 2019

Pat McCormack, 087-7608958

President, ICMSA  

Or

Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office