• Application of Dexter’s soil physical quality index: an Irish case study

      Fenton, Owen; Vero, Sara; Schulte, Rogier P. O.; O'Sullivan, Lilian; Bondi, G.; Creamer, Rachel E.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; 6582 (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 26/08/2017)
      Historically, due to a lack of measured soil physical data, the quality of Irish soils was relatively unknown. Herein, we investigate the physical quality of the national representative profiles of Co. Waterford. To do this, the soil physical quality (SPQ) S-Index, as described by Dexter (2004a,b,c) using the S-theory (which seeks the inflection point of a soil water retention curve [SWRC]), is used. This can be determined using simple (S-Indirect) or complex (S-Direct) soil physical data streams. Both are achievable using existing data for the County Waterford profiles, but until now, the suitability of this S-Index for Irish soils has never been tested. Indirect-S provides a generic characterisation of SPQ for a particular soil horizon, using simplified and modelled information (e.g. texture and SWRC derived from pedo-transfer functions), whereas Direct-S provides more complex site-specific information (e.g. texture and SWRC measured in the laboratory), which relates to properties measured for that exact soil horizon. Results showed a significant correlation between S-Indirect (Si) and S-Direct (Sd). Therefore, the S-Index can be used in Irish soils and presents opportunities for the use of Si at the national scale. Outlier horizons contained >6% organic carbon (OC) and bulk density (Bd) values <1 g/cm3 and were not suitable for Si estimation. In addition, the S-Index did not perform well on excessively drained soils. Overall correlations of Si. with Bd and of Si. with OC% for the dataset were detected. Future work should extend this approach to the national scale dataset in the Irish Soil Information System.
    • The employment effects of Food Harvest 2020 in Ireland

      Miller, Ana Corina; Matthews, Alan; Donnellan, Trevor; O'Donoghue, Cathal (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2014)
      This paper examines the job creation potential of the four main sectoral growth targets in the Food Harvest 2020 (FH2020) development plan for Irish agriculture, namely the growth targets for milk, beef, sheep and pigs. As well as the direct employment that would be created from an increase in activity in the agriculture sector, there would be a knock-on benefit for the rest of the economy arising out of the linkages between agriculture and other economic sectors, as well as the spending of those additionally employed on goods and services produced in the economy. Commonly this is described as the multiplier impact. Two scenarios are simulated using different assumptions to assess how employment will respond to increased output. The first scenario shows the effects of the four shocks calculated using average or direct employment coefficients. The second scenario calculates the effects using marginal employment coefficients estimated using an econometric model of the output-employment relationship. Our results are sensitive to the choice of coefficients used to simulate the employment potential of the FH2020 targets. Based on our preferred scenario using marginal employment coefficients, we estimate that achieving the FH2020 targets will create at least an additional 16,500 jobs in the Irish economy.