The aim of the Teagasc Crops, Environment and Land Use Programme is to develop and transfer cost-effective crop production systems, along with evidence-based knowledge to support and underpin the development of an environmentally sustainable, competitive and profitable agri-food sector.

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  • Datafile: Grassland legacy effects on yield of a follow-on crop in rotation strongly influenced by legume proportion and moderately by drought

    Grange, Guylain; Brophy, Caroline; Finn, John (2022)
    Dataset contains the dry matter and nitrogen yield responses of a Lolium multiflorum crop (summed across harvests). The L. multiflorum crop was sown on plots comprising grassland communities of one to six species (and one to three functional groups) that were growing for the previous two years. An experimental summer drought was implemented on half of each plot during the grassland phase but not the crop phase. Data were collected in Wexford, Republic of Ireland (52.299584, -6.506458) in 2020.
  • Data file: A landscape classification map of Ireland and its potential use in national land use monitoring.

    Carlier, J.; Doyle, M.; Finn, John; Ó hUallacháin, D.; Moran, J.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 2019R425 (Elsevier, 2021)
    This data file provides the map (png file) and GIS data associated with a publication in the Journal of Environmental Management titled 'A landscape classification map of Ireland and its potential use in national land use monitoring.'
  • A landscape classification map of Ireland and its potential use in national land use monitoring

    Carlier, J.; Doyle, M.; Finn, John; O hUallachain, Daire; Moran, J.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 2019R425 (Elsevier BV, 2021-07)
    This study presents a novel landscape classification map of the Republic of Ireland and is the first to identify broad landscape classes by incorporating physiographic and land cover data. The landscape classification responds to commitments to identify and classify the Irish landscape as a signatory to the European Landscape Convention. The methodology applied a series of clustering iterations to determine an objective multivariate classification of physiographic landscape units and land cover datasets. The classification results determined nine statistically significant landscape classes and the development of a landscape classification map at a national scale. A statistical breakdown of land cover area and diversity of each class was interpreted, and a comparison was extended using independent descriptive variables including farmland use intensity, elevation, and dominant soil type. Each class depicts unique spatial and composition characteristics, from coastal, lowland and elevated, to distinct and dominating land cover types, further explained by the descriptive variables. The significance of individual classes and success of the classification is discussed with particular reference to the wider applicability of the map. The transferability of the methodology to other existing physiographic maps and environmental datasets to generate new landscape classifications is also considered. This novel work facilitates the development of a strategic framework to efficiently monitor, compare and analyse ecological and other land use data that is spatially representative of the distribution and extent of land cover in the Irish countryside.
  • Benchmarking a decade of holistic agro-environmental studies within the Agricultural Catchments Programme

    Mellander, Per-Erik; Lynch, M.B.; Galloway, J.; Žurovec, O.; McCormack, Michele; O’Neill, M.; Hawtree, D.; Burgess, E.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Teagasc, 2022-02-26)
    Meeting sustainable food production challenges requires efficient ways to manage nutrients and mitigate the losses of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) to water. Future nutrient management therefore requires a clearer understanding of the relative influence of soils, geology, farm practice, landscape and weather on the propensity for nutrients to be lost to water. Within the Agricultural Catchments Programme (ACP), environmental, agronomic and socioeconomic data have been gathered since 2009, using the same experimental methodology in five meso-scale river catchments, and one karst spring zone, covering a range of soils, landscapes and farming systems. The ACP has contributed to a better understanding of nutrient mobilisation and transfer pathways and highlighted the influence of the physical and chemical environment as well as agricultural and meteorological drivers on diffuse nutrient loss to ground and surface waters. The environmental quality standards were breached for N and/or P in some of the catchments, but for different reasons and not always clearly linked to the source pressures within the catchment. There are clearly no one-size-fits-all solutions for mitigation of nutrient losses to water. A better understanding of the underlying processes is required to identify critical source areas, to select mitigation strategies, when to implement them and to build realistic expectations of their impact. Sustainability in an agricultural setting is not confined to environmental issues, but also includes social, economic and innovative aspects. To maximise farmers’ uptake of environmental measures, the actions should encompass all these aspects of sustainability. Integrated knowledge transfer is key.
  • Potatoes in Ireland: Sixty years of potato research and development, market evolution and perspectives on future challenges

    Griffin, Denis; Bourke, L.; Mullins, Ewen; Hennessy, M.; Phelan, S.; Kildea, Steven; Milbourne, Dan (Teagasc, 2022-02-25)
    Potato is often considered synonymous with Ireland, due to the great Irish famine in 1845, and remains the most important primary food crop in Ireland. Over the last 60 yr, the area of potatoes has reduced from 86,000 ha to 9,000 ha. This trend has occurred in most developed countries but in Ireland it is due to decreasing consumption, increasing yield, decline in seed production and potatoes no longer being use for animal feed. Significant specialisation occurred in the industry during the 1990s, with improvements in agronomy, on farm investment in storage and field equipment, consolidation of packing facilities, and a significant shift in cultivar choice, with Rooster becoming the dominant cultivar. These developments led to an increase in yield from 20 t/ha in the mid-1980s to over 40 t/ha today. Potato research in Ireland has focused on breeding, pathology and agronomy, while there have been significant changes in how knowledge is communicated to growers and the industry in this period. The industry faces many challenges in the future, largely framed by climate change, the need to reduce fertiliser and plant protection products as part of the EU Farm to Fork Strategy and industry size constraints. New superior potato varieties and novel breeding techniques will have potential to help address many challenges in combination with integrated pest management principles. Multi-actor approaches will be necessary to address all challenges but particularly to aid the industry grow and exploit emerging opportunities.
  • Quantification of In Planta Zymoseptoria tritici Progression Through Different Infection Phases and Related Association with Components of Aggressiveness

    Rahman, Atikur; Doohan, Fiona; Mullins, Ewen; European Union; 674964 (Scientific Societies, 2020-06)
    In planta growth of Zymoseptoria tritici, causal agent of Septoria tritici blotch of wheat, during the infection process has remained an understudied topic due to the long symptomless latent period before the emergence of fruiting bodies. In this study, we attempted to understand the relationship between in planta growth of Z. tritici relative to the primary components of aggressiveness, i.e., latent period and pycnidia coverage in regard to contrasting host resistance. We tested isolates collected from Ireland against the susceptible cultivar Gallant and cultivar Stigg, which has strong partial resistance. A clear isolate−host interaction effect (F = 3.018; P = 0.005, and F = 6.008; P < 0.001) for latent period and pycnidia coverage, respectively, was identified. Furthermore, during the early infection phase of latency from 5 to 11 days postinoculation (dpi), in planta growth rate of fungal biomass was significantly (F = 30.06; P < 0.001) more affected by host resistance than isolate specificity (F = 1.27; P = 0.27), indicating the importance of host resistance in the early infection phase. In planta Z. tritici growth rates in cultivar Gallant spiked between 11 and 16 dpi followed by a continuous fall onward, whereas in cultivar Stigg it was slowly progressive in nature. From correlation and regression analysis, we found that the in planta growth rate preceding the average latent period of cultivar Gallant has more influence on latency duration and pycnidia production. Likewise, correlation between component of aggressiveness and in planta growth rate of pathogen supports our understanding of aggressiveness to be driven by the pathogen’s multiplication capacity within host tissue.
  • A comparative study on seed physiology and germination requirements for 15 species of Eucalyptus

    Afroze, Farhana; Douglas, Gerry C.; Grogan, Helen; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 15/S/759 (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-09-23)
    Seed physiology of 15 Eucalyptus species of interest for cut foliage plantations was unknown and therefore evaluated. The viability and vigour of seeds and germination potential of 15 Eucalyptus species was determined by using a tetrazolium (TZ) staining test, and the results were compared to a germination test. In a separate experiment, seeds of each lot were subjected to either 0 or 4-week cold stratification at 4 ± 1 °C to investigate their potential stratification requirement. After stratification, seeds were then allowed to germinate at 22 ± 1 °C with 16 h lighting per day for 36 days. Seed viability and vigour were checked by evaluating % root, cotyledon and first true leaves emergence, and the speed of emergence, in the germination test. The germination percentages varied with the species. Seed stratification with the interaction of seed species lots significantly affected both viability and vigour. The seed viability of the different species ranged from 9 to 100% and 2 to 100%, for the TZ test and germination test, respectively, with a high correlation (R2 = 0.89) between the two. Physiology tests revealed that cold stratification of seed was not required for the 15 species to maximise their germination potential and growth in Irish and British climate.
  • Prunus laurocerasus - A crop walkers guide to pests and diseases

    Horticulture Development Department; Grogan, Helen; McGuinness, Brian; Whelton, Andy; Baars, Jan-Robert; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 15S759 (Teagasc, 2021)
    The large glossy leaves of Prunus laurocerasus are affected by a variety of problems including pests, diseases and nutrition. The most common issue is commonly referred to as ‘shothole’ due to the nature of the disease symptoms and its’ resemblance to shotgun damage. The causal agents of ‘shothole disease’ vary considerably and this will affect how you approach your disease management strategy.
  • The occurrence of herbicide-resistant Avena fatua (wild oats) populations to ACCase-inhibiting herbicides in Ireland

    Byrne, R.; Vijaya Bhaskar, A.V.; Spink, J.; Freckleton, R.; Neve, P.; Barth, Susanne (Teagasc, 2021-06-03)
    Following growers’ reports of herbicide control problems, populations of 30 wild oats, Avena fatua, were collected from the south-east main arable counties of Ireland in 2016 and investigated for the occurrence and potential for herbicide resistance to acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACCase) inhibitors pinoxaden, propaquizafop and cycloxydim, as well as acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibitor mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron. Plant survival ≥20% was considered as the discriminating threshold between resistant and susceptible populations, when plants were treated with full recommended field rates of ACCase/ALS inhibitors. Glasshouse sensitivity screens revealed 2 out of 30 populations were cross-resistant to all three ACCase inhibitors. While three populations were cross-resistant to both pinoxaden and propaquizafop, and additionally, two populations were resistant to propaquizafop only. Different degree of resistance and cross-resistance between resistant populations suggest the involvement of either different point mutations or more than one resistance mechanism. Nevertheless, all populations including the seven ACCase-resistant populations were equally susceptible to ALS inhibitor. An integrated weed management (cultural/non-chemical control tactics and judicious use of herbicides) approach is strongly recommended to minimize the risk of herbicide resistance evolution.
  • A note on the early transcriptional response in leaves and root of potato plants to cadmium exposure

    Mengist, M.F.; Byrne, Stephen; Griffin, Denis; Milbourne, Dan; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11SF308 (Teagasc, 2021-03-26)
    Potato plants can accumulate a high amount of cadmium (Cd) in the tuber when grown in soils rich in Cd. The molecular mechanisms governing Cd accumulation in the potato plant are poorly understood. Here we performed an RNA-sequencing experiment to identify genes differentially expressed in the leaf and root of potato during early stages of Cd exposure. Results did not identify any significant transcriptional response in leaves under 1 or 5 mg kg−1 Cd after 72 h. However, in the roots we did identify 2,846 genes that were significantly differentially expressed after 72 h between plants grown in 5 mg kg−1 Cd and controls. These included genes involved in photosynthesis and autophagy being up-regulated, and genes involved in intracellular transport being down-regulated. This study is the first report on the transcriptome-wide response of potato to Cd stress, providing insight into the molecular mechanisms involved in the response.
  • Fertiliser characteristics of stored spent mushroom substrate as a sustainable source of nutrients and organic matter for tillage, grassland and agricultural soils

    Velusami, B.; Jordan, S.N.; Curran, T.; Grogan, Helen; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme (Teagasc, 2021-05-12)
    Spent mushroom substrate (SMS) is an organic manure that can be used with advantage in agriculture. Under European Union (EU) (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations, SMS cannot be applied to land over the winter months and must be stored on concrete surfaces, either covered or uncovered, to prevent nutrient-rich runoff seeping into groundwater. Spent mushroom substrate at four storage facilities, two covered and two uncovered, was analysed for physical and chemical characteristics after storage for up to 12 mo. Significant differences (P<0.05) were identified for all parameters across the four sites, except for pH, but there were no consistent differences that correlated with uncovered or covered storage conditions. The content of nitrogen (N) and manganese (Mn) was significantly lower in uncovered SMS, while the content of iron (Fe) and copper (Cu) was significantly higher. The chemical nitrogen-phospous-potassium (NPK) fertiliser equivalent value of SMS, when applied at a rate of 10 t/ha, was between €105 and €191 per hectare. Nitrogen-phospous-potassium concentrations per kg wet weight were all higher in SMS that was stored under cover, meaning higher chemical fertiliser savings are possible. The high pH of stored SMS (7.8–8.1) means it could be used with good effect on acid soils instead of ground limestone. The low bulk density of SMS (0.545–0.593 g/cm3) makes it an ideal amendment to soils to improve soil structure and quality. There is some variability in the nutrient content of SMS from different sources, so it is advisable to get the material analysed when including in nutrient management plans.
  • Experimental comparison of two methods to study barley responses to partial submergence

    Miricescu, Alexandra; Byrne, Tomás; Doorly, Catherine M; Ng, Carl K Y; Barth, Susanne; Graciet, Emmanuelle; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Maynooth University Kathleen Lonsdale Institute for Human Health.; 14/S/819 (Biomed Central, 2021-04-13)
    Background Crop yield is dependent on climate conditions, which are becoming both more variable and extreme in some areas of the world as a consequence of global climate change. Increased precipitation and flooding events are the cause of important yield losses due to waterlogging or (partial) submergence of crops in the field. Our ability to screen efficiently and quickly for varieties that have increased tolerance to waterlogging or (partial) submergence is important. Barley, a staple crop worldwide, is particularly sensitive to waterlogging. Screening for waterlogging tolerant barley varieties has been ongoing for many years, but methods used to screen vary greatly, from the type of soil used to the time at which the treatment is applied. This variation makes it difficult to cross-compare results. Results Here, we have devised a scoring system to assess barley tolerance to waterlogging and compare two different methods when partial submergence is applied with either water or a starch solution at an early developmental stage, which is particularly sensitive to waterlogging or partial submergence. The use of a starch solution has been previously shown to result in more reducing soil conditions and has been used to screen for waterlogging tolerance. Conclusions Our results show that the two methods provide similar results to qualitatively rank varieties as tolerant or sensitive, while also affecting plants differently, in that application of a starch solution results in stronger and earlier symptoms than applying partial submergence with water.
  • Physiological and transcriptional response to drought stress among bioenergy grass Miscanthus species

    De Vega, Jose J.; Teshome, Abel; Klaas, Manfred; Grant, Jim; Finnan, John; Barth, Susanne; European Union; Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions COFUND CAROLINE; UK Research Council; FP7-KBBE-2011-5-289461; et al. (Biomed Central, 2021-03-06)
    Background Miscanthus is a commercial lignocellulosic biomass crop owing to its high biomass productivity, resilience and photosynthetic capacity at low temperature. These qualities make Miscanthus a particularly good candidate for temperate marginal land, where yields can be limited by insufficient or excessive water supply. Differences in response to water stress have been observed among Miscanthus species, which correlated to origin. In this study, we compared the physiological and molecular responses among Miscanthus species under excessive (flooded) and insufficient (drought) water supply in glasshouse conditions. Results A significant biomass loss was observed under drought conditions in all genotypes. M. x giganteus showed a lower reduction in biomass yield under drought conditions compared to the control than the other species. Under flooded conditions, biomass yield was as good as or better than control conditions in all species. 4389 of the 67,789 genes (6.4%) in the reference genome were differentially expressed during drought among four Miscanthus genotypes from different species. We observed the same biological processes were regulated across Miscanthus species during drought stress despite the DEGs being not similar. Upregulated differentially expressed genes were significantly involved in sucrose and starch metabolism, redox, and water and glycerol homeostasis and channel activity. Multiple copies of the starch metabolic enzymes BAM and waxy GBSS-I were strongly up-regulated in drought stress in all Miscanthus genotypes, and 12 aquaporins (PIP1, PIP2 and NIP2) were also up-regulated in drought stress across genotypes. Conclusions Different phenotypic responses were observed during drought stress among Miscanthus genotypes from different species, supporting differences in genetic adaption. The low number of DEGs and higher biomass yield in flooded conditions supported Miscanthus use in flooded land. The molecular processes regulated during drought were shared among Miscanthus species and consistent with functional categories known to be critical during drought stress in model organisms. However, differences in the regulated genes, likely associated with ploidy and heterosis, highlighted the value of exploring its diversity for breeding.
  • Development of a defined compost system for the study of plant-microbe interactions

    Masters-Clark, E.; Shone, E.; Paradelo, M.; Hirsch, P. R.; Clark, I. M.; Otten, W.; Brennan, Fiona; Mauchline, T. H.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Natural Environment Research Council; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-05-05)
    Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria can improve plant health by providing enhanced nutrition, disease suppression and abiotic stress resistance, and have potential to contribute to sustainable agriculture. We have developed a sphagnum peat-based compost platform for investigating plantmicrobe interactions. The chemical, physical and biological status of the system can be manipulated to understand the relative importance of these factors for plant health, demonstrated using three case studies: 1. Nutrient depleted compost retained its structure, but plants grown in this medium were severely stunted in growth due to removal of essential soluble nutrients - particularly, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Compost nutrient status was replenished with the addition of selected soluble nutrients, validated by plant biomass; 2. When comparing milled and unmilled compost, we found nutrient status to be more important than matrix structure for plant growth; 3. In compost defcient in soluble P, supplemented with an insoluble inorganic form of P (Ca3(PO4)2), application of a phosphate solubilising Pseudomonas strain to plant roots provides a signifcant growth boost when compared with a Pseudomonas strain incapable of solubilising Ca3(PO4)2. Our fndings show that the compost system can be manipulated to impose biotic and abiotic stresses for testing how microbial inoculants infuence plant growth.
  • Tropical forest soil carbon stocks do not increase despite 15 years of doubled litter inputs

    Sayer, Emma J.; Lopez-Sangil, Luis; Crawford, John A.; Bréchet, Laëtitia M.; Birkett, Ali J.; Baxendale, Catherine; Castro, Biancolini; Rodtassana, Chadtip; Garnett, Mark H.; Weiss, Lena; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-07-23)
    Soil organic carbon (SOC) dynamics represent a persisting uncertainty in our understanding of the global carbon cycle. SOC storage is strongly linked to plant inputs via the formation of soil organic matter, but soil geochemistry also plays a critical role. In tropical soils with rapid SOC turnover, the association of organic matter with soil minerals is particularly important for stabilising SOC but projected increases in tropical forest productivity could trigger feedbacks that stimulate the release of stored SOC. Here, we demonstrate limited additional SOC storage after 13–15 years of experimentally doubled aboveground litter inputs in a lowland tropical forest. We combined biological, physical, and chemical methods to characterise SOC along a gradient of bioavailability. After 13 years of monthly litter addition treatments, most of the additional SOC was readily bioavailable and we observed no increase in mineral-associated SOC. Importantly, SOC with weak association to soil minerals declined in response to long-term litter addition, suggesting that increased plant inputs could modify the formation of organo-mineral complexes in tropical soils. Hence, we demonstrate the limited capacity of tropical soils to sequester additional C inputs and provide insights into potential underlying mechanisms.
  • Impact of nitrogen compounds on fungal and bacterial contributions to codenitrification in a pasture soil

    Rex, David; Clough, Timothy J.; Richards, Karl G.; Condron, Leo M.; de Klein, Cecile A. M.; Morales, Sergio E.; Lanigan, Gary J.; New Zealand Government; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 16084 (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-09-16)
    Ruminant urine patches on grazed grassland are a signifcant source of agricultural nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. Of the many biotic and abiotic N2O production mechanisms initiated following urine-urea deposition, codenitrifcation resulting in the formation of hybrid N2O, is one of the least understood. Codenitrifcation forms hybrid N2O via biotic N-nitrosation, co-metabolising organic and inorganic N compounds (N substrates) to produce N2O. The objective of this study was to assess the relative signifcance of diferent N substrates on codenitrifcation and to determine the contributions of fungi and bacteria to codenitrifcation. 15N-labelled ammonium, hydroxylamine (NH2OH) and two amino acids (phenylalanine or glycine) were applied, separately, to sieved soil mesocosms eight days after a simulated urine event, in the absence or presence of bacterial and fungal inhibitors. Soil chemical variables and N2O fuxes were monitored and the codenitrifed N2O fuxes determined. Fungal inhibition decreased N2O fuxes by ca. 40% for both amino acid treatments, while bacterial inhibition only decreased the N2O fux of the glycine treatment, by 14%. Hydroxylamine (NH2OH) generated the highest N2O fuxes which declined with either fungal or bacterial inhibition alone, while combined inhibition resulted in a 60% decrease in the N2O fux. All the N substrates examined participated to some extent in codenitrifcation. Trends for codenitrifcation under the NH2OH substrate treatment followed those of total N2O fuxes (85.7% of total N2O fux). Codenitrifcation fuxes under non-NH2OH substrate treatments (0.7–1.2% of total N2O fux) were two orders of magnitude lower, and signifcant decreases in these treatments only occurred with fungal inhibition in the amino acid substrate treatments. These results demonstrate that in situ studies are required to better understand the dynamics of codenitrifcation substrates in grazed pasture soils and the associated role that fungi have with respect to codenitrifcation.
  • In vitro screening of different Pseudomonas fluorescens isolates to study lytic enzyme production and growth inhibition during antagonism of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cumini, wilt causing pathogen of cumin

    Rathore, Ridhdhi; Vakharia, Dinesh K.; Singh Rathore, Dheeraj (Springer Open, 2020-05-12)
    Land plants exist in close association with bacterial and fungal microbes, where some associations can be pathogenic and others can be mutualistic/beneficial. One such relation exists between host plant, Cuminum cyminum L. (Cumin) and Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cumini (Foc), the causal pathogen of cumin wilt and Pseudomonas fluorescens (Pf), where Pf acts as a bio-agent for inhibiting Foc and promoting plant growth of cumin. In this study, antagonism by 10 different Pf isolates against Foc was studied under laboratory conditions through percent growth inhibition and biochemical mechanisms. Among these Pf isolates, Pf-5 exhibited the highest in vitro growth inhibition (82.51%). A positive correlation was observed between percent growth inhibition and specific activities of hydrolytic enzymes, chitinase, β-1, 3 glucanase, and protease, where a negative correlation was observed with cell wall degrading enzymes, cellulase and polygalacturonase. To conclude, isolate Pf-5 could be a potential biocontrol agent for Fusarium wilt disease of cumin.
  • Roadmap for the European Joint Program SOIL: Towards Climate-Smart Sustainable Management of Agricultural Soils

    Saskia, Visser; Saskia, Keesstra; Órlaith, Ní Choncubhair; Titia, Mulder; Edoardo, Costantini; Francois, Sousanna Jean; Claire, Chenu; Peter, Kuikman; Jennie, Barron; Niels, Halberg; et al. (MDPI AG, 2020-06-23)
    Our planet suffers from humankind’s impact on natural resources, biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems. Intensive modern agriculture with inappropriate inputs of fertilisers, pesticides and fossil fuel –based energy has increasingly added to human pressure on the environment. As a key element of our natural capital, soils are also under threat, despite being essential to provide food, feed, fibre and fuel for an increasing global population. Moreover, soils play a key role in carbon, water and energy cycles, highlighting their importance for biomass provision and the circular bioeconomy. Evidently, these new and complex challenges cannot be resolved effectively with existing knowledge and experience alone. These challenges require scientific research, interdisciplinary collaboration and networking to find context-specific and tailored solutions addressing societal issues of our time and facilitating the adoption of these solutions. The most effective approaches are based on the involvement of multiple actors from science, policy, economy, civil society and farming that have the same goal, work on the same societal issue, but have complementing backgrounds, expertise and perceptions. The European Joint Programme (EJP) SOIL is a European network of research institutes in the field of soil science and agricultural soil management that will provide science-based advice to practitioners and policymakers, at local, national and European level. The EJP SOIL aims to align and boost research, training and capacity building through joint programming activities co-funded by the European Commission and national research programs. This will reduce current fragmentation and help to find synergies in order to make a leapfrog in research on good agricultural soil management in three main areas: climate change mitigation and adaptation, production capacity in healthy food systems, and environmental sustainability. By joint programming, training and capacity building, EJP SOIL will also take into account the need for effective policy solutions, as well as the socio-economic conditions of all stakeholders in the agricultural value chain. Thus, a key focus of the EJP SOIL is to build and strengthen a framework for an integrated community of research groups working on related aspects of agricultural soil management. As part of this effort, EJP SOIL will co-construct with stakeholders a roadmap for agricultural soil research. To develop a structured roadmap, EJP SOIL works with a version of the knowledge management framework of Dalkir (2005). The EJP version uses four compartments: (i) Knowledge development, (ii) knowledge harmonisation, organisation and storage (iii) knowledge sharing and transfer, and (iv) knowledge application. The four segments are part of a cyclic process to enhance the development and use of knowledge on agricultural soils. Knowledge development comprises assessing new knowledge needs to achieve the expected impacts of EJP SOIL. Therefore, by involving multiple stakeholders, knowledge gaps across Europe will be identified to work towards the adoption of Climate-Smart Sustainable Agricultural Soil Management (CSSASM). Within the knowledge sharing and transfer compartment, the capacity of scientists, advisors, policy makers, farmers and other stakeholders will be strengthened. EJP SOIL will work to support networks and co-creation of new knowledge with stakeholder groups, stimulating innovation in CSSASM. The knowledge harmonization, organization and storage compartment of the knowledge framework ensures linkages with all stakeholders to guarantee data harmonization and standardization. The last compartment, application of knowledge, will be facilitated by creating better guidelines, awareness and capacity for Climate-Smart Sustainable Agricultural Soil Management adoption and by strengthening science-to-policy processes at EU and Member State level.
  • Plant Sciences and Crop Husbandry: Research Report 1989

    Rea, Joe; Butler, Thomas; Fottrell, P; Harvey, Maurice; McDaid, Donal; O'Dowd, Helen; O'Dwyer, Michael; Power, Patrick; Walshe, Mary; Walshe, Padraig; et al. (2021-12-09)
    This report summarizes the research undertaken by Teagasc in the areas of Plant Sciences and Crop Husbandry in 1989
  • An Analysis of the Cost of the Abatement of Ammonia Emissions in Irish Agriculture to 2030

    Buckley, Cathal; Krol, Dominika; Lanigan, Gary J.; Donnellan, Trevor; Spink, John; Hanrahan, Kevin; Boland, Andy; Forrestal, Patrick; Humphreys, James; Murphy, Pat; et al. (Teagasc, 2020-09)
    This analysis quantifies the potential to abate national ammonia (NH3) emissions up to 2030. This report is an updated marginal abatement cost curve (MACC) analysis where Teagasc has quantified the abatement potential of a range of ammonia mitigation measures, as well as their associated costs/benefits (see Lanigan et al. 2015 for previous analysis). The objective of this analysis is to quantify the extent and costs associated with meeting future ammonia emission targets that were negotiated as part of the amended Clean Air Policy Package. The requirement to reduce ammonia emissions is urgent, both in terms of compliance with the National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NECD), and as a principal loss pathway for agricultural nitrogen (N). Improvement of N efficiency is a key focus for improving farm efficiency and sustainability as well as reducing the ammonia, nitrate and greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of agriculture. This is particularly relevant in the context of the national strategies on the development of the agri-food sector: Food Wise 2025, Ag-food strategy 2030 and Ag-Climatise (currently under development) and the newly unveiled EU Farm to Fork Strategy, which is a part of the European Green Deal. Under the baseline scenario (S1), agricultural ammonia emissions are projected to increase by 9% (without any mitigation) by 2030 relative to 2005 levels. While these increases are small in comparison to the targeted increase in agricultural output, they will provide a major challenge to meeting emissions targets, particularly as agriculture comprises over 99% of national emissions. The analysis presented in this report seeks to quantify the ammonia mitigation potential under likely uptake pathways. This is not an exhaustive analysis of all mitigation measures, but represents an assessment of best available techniques, based on scientific, peer-reviewed research carried out by Teagasc and associated national and international research partners. Indeed, any future changes in the sector or in the national emission inventory calculations will require further analysis of the applicability of ammonia mitigation techniques, particularly in terms of housing and storage but also in the context of other reactive N1 emissions. It should also be noted that some mitigation measures, particularly those related to nitrogen application to soils, could result in either higher greenhouse gas emissions or higher nitrate leaching. Compared to a future where no mitigation measures are deployed to address emissions, by 2030 the average technical abatement2 potential was estimated to be approximately 15.26 kt NH3 at a net cost of €10.86 million per annum. However, it should be noted that the net cost (€10.86 million) is comprised of 6 measures that are cost negative (-€22.21 million) and 7 measures that are cost positive (€33.07) and that some of the cost negative measures are predicated on efficiency gains driven by best management practice adoption (e.g. liming and clover measures with associate chemical N reductions). Amongst the thirteen mitigation measures selected for this analysis, 80% of the mitigation potential can be achieved by the full implementation of the mitigation pathways for protected urea and low emission slurry spreading (LESS) techniques for bovines. It should be stressed that this is an assessment of the maximum abatement potential and realising this level of abatement in practice will be extremely challenging. Any increase in agricultural activity beyond the baseline scenario will increase absolute emissions. The level of mitigation achievable is based on the draft AgClimatise measures any delay or reduction in the uptake of these measures will reduce the mitigation achieved. It must also be ensured that all mitigation measures should, where possible, be synergistic with reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and N loss to water.

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