The aim of the Teagasc Rural Economy and Development Programme is to help decision making by stakeholders of Teagasc through research and knowledge transfer activities.

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  • The single farm payment and income risk in Irish farms 2005–2013

    Knapp, Edward; Loughrey, Jason (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2017-05-12)
    Agricultural income volatility has become a major hurdle for Irish farmers and policymakers to overcome in their drive to increase investment, production and ultimately income in the sector. This paper studies data from 927 farms in the Teagasc National Farm Survey between 2005 and 2013, the first 9 years of the decoupled subsidy era. The primary income support for European farmers, the single farm payment (SFP), is analysed in the context of its relationship with market income risk, i.e. farm income excluding subsidies. Detrended measures of market income variability are regressed on a large set of control variables. The findings suggest that the amount of SFP received by farmers has a strong and statistically significant relationship with agricultural income volatility.
  • Farm-level viability, sustainability and resilience: a focus on cooperative action and values-based supply chains

    Hooks, Teresa; Macken-Walsh, Áine; McCarthy, Olive; Power, Carol; Teagasc’s Walsh Fellowship Scheme (NAIK Research Institute of Agricultural Economics, 2017-12-01)
    This paper presents a critical discussion of the concepts of farm-level viability, sustainability and resilience, which are typically discussed separately in the literature. While farm-level viability frequently focuses on measurable economic factors, sustainability is comparatively more elusive because of its added social, cultural and ecological dimensions. Resilience, in turn, is unambiguous in the sense that it requires particular conditions, but is achieved in dynamic ways. A traditional resilience strategy in agriculture globally is co-operative action, involving farmers working together to enhance their viability and sustainability, often achieving resilience. We draw attention to agricultural development models that are distinctive because they leverage co-operative action in and between family farms in agricultural communities while pursuing integrated viability, sustainability and resilience strategies. We focus on the prospect of such rural development models, particularly a values-based supply chain approach, and identify crucial considerations and future research needs.
  • Mitigating Nutrition and Health Deficiencies in Older Adults: A Role for Food Innovation?

    Baugreet, Sephora; Hamill, Ruth M.; Kerry, Joseph P.; McCarthy, Sinéad N.; Teagasc; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11F045 (Wiley, 2017-03-07)
    The aim of this review is to describe the factors contributing to diminished food intake, resulting in nutritional deficiencies and associated health conditions in older adults and proposes food innovation strategies to mitigate these. Research has provided convincing evidence of a link between healthy eating patterns and healthy aging. There is a need to target new food product development (NPD) with functional health benefits specifically designed to address the particular food-related needs of older consumers. When developing foods for older adults, consideration should be given to the increased requirements for specific macro- and micronutrients, especially protein, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B. Changes in chemosensory acuity, chewing difficulties, and reduced or poor swallowing ability should also be considered. To compensate for the diminished appetite and reduced intake, foods should be energy dense, nutritionally adequate, and, most importantly, palatable, when targeting this cohort. This paper describes the potential of new food product development to facilitate dietary modification and address health deficiencies in older adults.
  • Farm economic sustainability in the European Union: A pilot study

    O'Donoghue, Cathal; Devisme, Simon; Ryan, Mary; Conneely, Ricky; Gillespie, Patrick; Vrolijk, Hans; EU Seventh Framework Programme; 613800 (NAIK Research Institute of Agricultural Economics, 2016-12-01)
    The measurement of farm economic sustainability has received intermittent academic interest in recent times, while the conceptual discussions are often quite limited. Moreover, this concept receives more attention at periods of diffi culty for the sector. The measurement of farm viability is an important precondition to enrich these discussions. Therefore, it is necessary to develop more comprehensive and detailed measurement techniques to provide more clarity on viability and vulnerability levels in the sector. This paper refocuses attention on this issue, using a pilot dataset collected at farm level across a range of EU Member States which facilitates the assessment of an additional category of viability, namely that of economically sustainable farms, i.e. farms that are economically vulnerable but which are deemed sustainable by the presence of off-farm income. Differences in viability and economic sustainability across the eight surveyed Member States are shown. The analysis is sensitive to the factors included in the measurement of viability as well as to the threshold income used to defi ne viability. Although this is a pilot study, it enhances our understanding of the factors affecting cross-country evaluation of viability and sustainability, and the policy instruments that could improve viability levels.
  • Plasma lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations associated with musculoskeletal health and incident frailty in The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)

    Murphy, Caoileann H.; Duggan, Eoin; Davis, James; O'Halloran, Aisling M.; Knight, Silvin P.; Kenny, Rose Anne; McCarthy, Sinead N.; Romero-Ortuno, Roman; Teagasc; European Union; et al. (Elsevier, 2023-01)
    Introduction Lutein and zeaxanthin are diet-derived carotenoids that are proposed to help mitigate frailty risk and age-related declines in musculoskeletal health via their anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the association between lutein and zeaxanthin status and indices of musculoskeletal health and incident frailty among community-dwelling adults aged ≥50 years in the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). Methods Cross-sectional analyses (n = 4513) of plasma lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations and grip strength, usual gait speed, timed up-and-go (TUG), probable sarcopenia (defined as grip strength <27 kg in men, <16 kg in women), and bone mass (assessed using calcaneal broadband ultrasound stiffness index) were performed at Wave 1 (2009–2011; baseline). In the longitudinal analyses (n = 1425–3100), changes in usual gait speed (at Wave 3, 2014–2015), grip strength (Wave 4, 2016) and TUG (at Wave 5, 2018), incident probable sarcopenia (at Wave 4) and incident frailty (Fried's phenotype, Frailty Index, FRAIL Scale, Clinical Frailty Scale-classification tree, at Wave 5) were determined. Data were analysed using linear and ordinal logistic regression, adjusted for confounders. Results Cross-sectionally, plasma lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations were positively associated with usual gait speed (B [95 % CI] per 100-nmol/L higher concentration: Lutein 0.59 [0.18, 1.00], Zeaxanthin 1.46 [0.37, 2.55] cm/s) and inversely associated with TUG time (Lutein −0.07 [−0.11, −0.03], Zeaxanthin −0.14 [−0.25, −0.04] s; all p < 0.01), but not with grip strength or probable sarcopenia (p > 0.05). Plasma lutein concentration was positively associated with bone stiffness index (0.54 [0.15, 0.93], p < 0.01). Longitudinally, among participants who were non-frail at Wave 1, higher plasma lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations were associated lower odds of progressing to a higher frailty category (e.g. prefrailty or frailty) by Wave 5 (ORs 0.57–0.89, p < 0.05) based on the Fried's phenotype, FRAIL Scale and the Clinical Frailty Scale, and in the case of zeaxanthin, Frailty Index. Neither plasma lutein nor zeaxanthin concentrations were associated with changes in musculoskeletal indices or incident probable sarcopenia (p > 0.05). Conclusion Higher plasma lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations at baseline were associated with a reduced likelihood of incident frailty after ~8 years of follow up. Baseline plasma lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations were also positively associated with several indices of musculoskeletal health cross-sectionally but were not predictive of longitudinal changes in these outcomes over 4–8 years.
  • Measurement of sustainability in agriculture: a review of indicators

    Latruffe, Laure; Diazabakana, Ambre; Bockstaller, Christian; Desjeux, Yann; Finn, John; Kelly, Edel; Ryan, Mary; Uthes, Sandra; FP7 EU project ‘FLINT’; 613800 (NAIK Research Institute of Agricultural Economics, 2016-12-01)
    In recent decades, the concept of sustainability has become increasingly prominent in agricultural policy debates. This has led more and more stakeholders to pay attention to the questions of monitoring and evaluation of agricultural practices, and raised the question of appropriate indicators to assess sustainability aspects of given practices. We provide here a review of indicators of sustainability for agriculture. We describe sustainability indicators used in the literature following the typology based on the three sustainability pillars: environmental, economic and social. The literature review shows that the environmental pillar has undergone an ‘indicator explosion’, due to the multitude of themes covered and the attention given by society to this dimension of sustainability. By contrast, economic indicators target a relatively small number of themes. Social indicators typically cover two main themes: sustainability relating to the farming community and sustainability relating to society as a whole. The measurement of these social indicators is challenging as they are often qualitative and may therefore be considered subjective. Careful attention should be given to the choice of indicators, since the data measured will infl uence the calculation of that indicator and therefore the outcome of the analysis. It should fi rst be decided whether individual or composite indicators are preferable, and whether single indicators or a set of indicators should be used. Also, sustainability assessments should be validated, credible and reproducible. Several selection criteria are provided in the literature, such as representativeness, transferability, adaptability and measurability at an acceptable cost.
  • Sustainability levels in Irish dairy farming: a farm typology according to sustainable performance indicators

    Micha, Evgenia; Heanue, Kevin; Hyland, John J.; Hennessy, Thia; Dillon, Emma Jane; Buckley, Cathal (NAIK Research Institute of Agricultural Economics, 2017-08-01)
    Feeding the world’s population in a sustainable manner is one of the key challenges facing the future of global agriculture. The recent removal of the milk quota regime in the European Union has prompted an expansionary phase in dairy farming, especially in Ireland. Achieving this expansion in a sustainable manner is crucial to the long-term survival and success of the Irish dairy sector. In this paper we examine the sustainability of Irish dairy farming, defi ning ‘sustainability’ as economically profi table, environmentally friendly and socially effi cient. A typology of Irish dairy farms has been created using data on profi tability, environmental effi ciency and social integration derived from the Teagasc National Farm Survey. Economic, social and environmental performance indicators were determined and aggregated and then used in a multivariate analysis for the identifi cation and classifi cation of farm clusters. The purpose of this study to classify Irish dairy farms using performance indicators, thereby, assisting policy makers in identifying patterns in farm performance with a view to formulating more targeted policies. Two of the three clusters elicited from the analysis were similar in regards to their respective indicator scores. However, the remaining cluster was found to perform poorly in comparison. The results indicate a clear distinction between ‘good’ and ‘weak’ performers, and the positive relationship between the economic, environmental and social performance of Irish dairy farms is evident.
  • Going beyond FADN: The use of additional data to gain insights into extension service use across European Union Member States

    Brennan, Noreen; Ryan, Mary; Hennessy, Thia; Cullen, Paula; Dillon, Emma; the EU Seventh Framework Programme; 613800 (NAIK Research Institute of Agricultural Economics, 2016-12-01)
    This paper examines the use of extension services by farm households across eight European Union (EU) Member States, exploring the type of extension service engaged with, the degree of engagement and the type of information sought. The impact of extension on economic, environmental and social sustainability is also considered. European data utilised are those collected from a pilot sample of 820 households in 2015/2016 as part of the EU Framework 7 project FLINT, from which the Irish results are incorporated further with Irish Farm Accountancy Data Network data. The results outline the key contrasts across the countries investigated and suggest that the degree to which households engage with extension services is primarily infl uenced by national policies. In addition, this analysis indicates that the extent of this engagement has implications for sustainability at the farm level. The fi nal conclusions and policy recommendations in this paper support the development of a large- scale version of the FLINT pilot survey.
  • Satellite remote sensing of grasslands: from observation to management

    Ali, Iftikhar; Cawkwell, Fiona; Dwyer, Edward; Barrett, Brian; Green, Stuart; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2016-02-02)
    Aims Grasslands are the world’s most extensive terrestrial ecosystem, and are a major feed source for livestock. Meeting increasing demand for meat and other dairy products in a sustainable manner is a big challenge. At a field scale, Global Positioning System and ground-based sensor technologies provide promising tools for grassland and herd management with high precision. With the growth in availability of spaceborne remote sensing data, it is therefore important to revisit the relevant methods and applications that can exploit this imagery. In this article, we have reviewed the (i) current status of grassland monitoring/observation methods and applications based on satellite remote sensing data, (ii) the technological and methodological developments to retrieve different grassland biophysical parameters and management characteristics (i.e. degradation, grazing intensity) and (iii) identified the key remaining challenges and some new upcoming trends for future development. Important Findings The retrieval of grassland biophysical parameters have evolved in recent years from classical regression analysis to more complex, efficient and robust modeling approaches, driven by satellite data, and are likely to continue to be the most robust method for deriving grassland information, however these require more high quality calibration and validation data. We found that the hypertemporal satellite data are widely used for time series generation, and particularly to overcome cloud contamination issues, but the current low spatial resolution of these instruments precludes their use for field-scale application in many countries. This trend may change with the current rise in launch of satellite constellations, such as RapidEye, Sentinel-2 and even the microsatellites such as those operated by Skybox Imaging. Microwave imagery has not been widely used for grassland applications, and a better understanding of the backscatter behaviour from different phenological stages is needed for more reliable products in cloudy regions. The development of hyperspectral satellite instrumentation and analytical methods will help for more detailed discrimination of habitat types, and the development of tools for greater end-user operation.
  • Defining national biogenic methane targets: Implications for national food production &amp; climate neutrality objectives

    Prudhomme, Remi; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Ryan, Mary; Styles, David; Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Ireland (Elsevier, 2021-10)
    Methane is a short-lived greenhouse gas (GHG) modelled distinctly from long-lived GHGs such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide to establish global emission budgets for climate stabilisation. The Paris Agreement requires a 24–47% reduction in global biogenic methane emissions by 2050. Separate treatment of methane in national climate policies will necessitate consideration of how global emission budgets compatible with climate stabilisation can be downscaled to national targets, but implications of different downscaling rules for national food production and climate neutrality objectives are poorly understood. This study addresses that knowledge gap by examining four methods to determine national methane quotas, and two methods of GHG aggregation (GWP100 and GWP*) across four countries with contrasting agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sectors and socio-economic contexts (Brazil, France, India and Ireland). Implications for production of methane-intensive food (milk, meat, eggs and rice) in 2050 and national AFOLU climate neutrality targets are explored. It is assumed that methane quotas are always filled by food production where sufficient land is available. Global methane budgets for 1.5 °C scenarios are downscaled to national quotas based on: grand-parenting (equal percentage reductions across countries); equity (equal per capita emissions); ability (emission reductions proportionate to GDP); animal protein security (emissions proportionate to animal protein production in 2010). The choice of allocation method changes national methane quotas by a factor of between 1.7 (India) and 6.7 (Ireland). Despite projected reductions in emission-intensities, livestock production would need to decrease across all countries except India to comply with quotas under all but the most optimistic sustainable intensification scenarios. The extent of potential afforestation on land spared from livestock production is decisive in achieving climate neutrality. Brazil and Ireland could maintain some degree of milk and beef export whilst achieving territorial climate neutrality, but scenarios that comply with climate neutrality in India produce only circa 30% of national calorie and protein requirements via rice and livestock. The downscaling of global methane budgets into national policy targets in an equitable and internationally acceptable manner will require simultaneous consideration of the interconnected priorities of food security and (land banks available for) carbon offsetting.
  • The spatial impact of rural economic change on river water quality

    O’Donoghue, Cathal; Buckley, Cathal; Chyzheuskaya, Aksana; Green, Stuart; Howley, Peter; Hynes, Stephen; Upton, Vincent; Ryan, Mary (Elsevier, 2021-04)
    This paper, using Ireland as a case study, examines the relationship between rural economic activities and river water quality. The stipulation from the EU water framework directive (WFD) that all surface waters in the EU must be of ‘good ecological status’ necessitates a quantitative understanding of the major determinants of water quality. Within this context, this paper combines a number of spatial datasets relating to agricultural, land use, residential and industrial activities, to examine the major economic influences on the ecological quality of water resources. It is hoped that providing a comprehensive understanding of the effect of a variety of economic activities that influence the ecological quality of water will be an important tool in the management of risk and will allow for more appropriate land use planning aimed at restoring and maintaining water quality as required by the WFD. Results indicate that the level of forestry, industrial activity, the intensity and type of agricultural activity and the type of wastewater treatment in an area are all critical factors affecting the quality of water resources. The model finds that relationship between agriculture and water quality improved over time during a period where there was substantial legislative measures and financial support to facilitate improved water quality.
  • Addressing the challenge of wood mobilisation through a systemic innovation lens: The Irish forest sector innovation system

    Kilcline, Kevin; Dhubháin, Áine Ní; Heanue, Kevin; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Ryan, Mary; Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 15/C/684 (Elsevier, 2021-07)
    In the face of growing demand for sustainable sources of biomass, the challenge of mobilising non-industrial private forest landowners (NIPF) with varying management objectives, to actively manage their forests and increase the supply of wood biomass, is an area of growing research and policy focus. While innovation and knowledge exchange is increasingly viewed as a means of promoting sustainable wood mobilisation, structural weaknesses in the sector such as deficiencies in the institutional and infrastructural setting or capacity of stakeholders, can negatively influence innovation processes. Addressing these overarching challenges requires a systemic analysis of the barriers to innovation across the forest sector as a whole. This case study of the Irish forest sector develops a comprehensive innovation systems framework, integrating structural and functional streams of innovation systems research. This `coupled structural–functional’ framework is applied to identify a number of interconnected systemic problems that hinder the functioning of the forest sector innovation system and negatively influence the potential for co-innovation and wood mobilisation in the sector. Three sets of key systemic wood mobilisation problems are identified, among which there is negative feedback. These so called `blocking mechanisms' have developed over time as a result of historical patterns of practice, prevailing culture, attitude and regulation and are defined here as (i) weak networks blocking capacity development of new forest owners, (ii) infrastructural problems blocking the reach and effectiveness of knowledge networks, (iii) rigid institutional structures and policy blocking co-innovation. To address these deficiencies in the current forest policy and institutional environment, this study makes a number of policy recommendations to promote co-innovation and tackle the multi-dimensional challenge of wood mobilisation.
  • Implementation of the EU LEADER programme at member-state level: Written and unwritten rules of local project selection in rural Poland

    Furmankiewicz, Marek; Janc, Krzysztof; Macken-Walsh, Aine; Polish National Science Centre; 2019/33/B/HS4/00176 (OPUS 17) (Elsevier, 2021-08-31)
    Local Action Groups (LAGs) are multi-sectoral, area-based partnerships operating throughout the European Union to support participatory local development in rural areas. One of the operational elements of the programme is that multi-sectoral partnerships at the local level select and fund local development projects. The aim of this paper is to explore the dynamics of the selection process at the local level, paying attention to both exogenous and endogenous dynamics that originate at both the EU, national and local levels and how these influence the selection and funding of local development projects. We present the results of qualitative case studies conducted of 15 LAGs in rural Poland. Results indicate that centrally prescribed scoring criteria for the selection of projects issued are used, but, in many cases, local unwritten rules favouring territorial distribution of funds according to number of inhabitants and perceived fairness are highly influential on the selection process. We highlight in this context how local criteria shape top-down rules for the operationalisation of LEADER at the local level, illustrating features of mixed exogenous-endogenous development. We discuss how the interplay of local and external decision-making factors ultimately determine the activities of EU-funded development programmes, highlighting benefits of local decision-making in rural development but also signalling that EU procedures are realised to variable extents.
  • A discrete choice experiment exploring farmer preferences for insurance against extreme weather events

    Doherty, Edel; Mellett, Sinead; Norton, Daniel; McDermott, Thomas K.J.; O' Hora, Denis; Ryan, Mary; European Regional Development Fund (FEDER); EAPA – 272/2016 (Elsevier, 2021-07-15)
    Agriculture represents one of the most vulnerable sectors to extreme weather events that are projected to increase with climate change. Insurance has been advocated as a more efficient means to ensure financial security to farmers, than post-disaster aid for damages. A potential drawback of insurance however, is that unless carefully designed it could dis-incentivise farmers to engage in wider farm adaptation measures or lead to more risk-taking behaviour. This paper analyses the attractiveness of publicly-backed climate risk insurance offerings to farmers and explores their preferences for elements of insurance schemes that do not negatively affect incentives for wider farm adaptation. Specifically, a discrete choice experiment is used to reveal Irish farmers’ preferences for multi-annual insurance contracts and weather-indexed versus traditional indemnity insurance and cost. Results indicate that a majority of farmers are willing to buy publicly-backed insurance for protection from extreme weather events. Younger farmers, farmers who currently have farm insurance, farmers from certain geographical locations and farmers who have been previously affected by extreme weather events are more likely to buy insurance. With respect to the design of insurance schemes, farmers prefer multi-annual coverage versus annual renewal. They also prefer indexed-insurance and have a strong preference for cheaper coverage. Despite the important role that insurance could play in protecting farms financially from damage caused by extreme weather events, few studies have examined preference for weather-indexed insurance within a European context. New evidence on farmer preferences and intended behaviours is therefore critical to inform policy in this area.
  • More than two decades of Agri-Environment schemes: Has the profile of participating farms changed?

    Cullen, Paula; Hynes, Stephen; Ryan, Mary; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship (Elsevier, 2021-08-15)
    The agri-food sector is under increased pressure from consumers to improve on the sustainability of production processes. Policies that incentivise farmers to improve environmental performance, such as agri-environment schemes (AES), are increasingly important. Understanding the choice to participate in these programmes aids policymakers in designing schemes that meet participation and environmental goals. While a number of studies have investigated the decision using cross-sectional data on one or multiple locations, very few have used longitudinal data to investigate the impact of institutional changes over time. Using Ireland as a case study, this paper uses a nationally representative panel of data spanning 23 years to model the impact of scheme and policy changes on the type of farms participating in AES. This paper argues that environmental issues surrounding intensive farms (such as the loss of nutrients and sediment to water and greenhouse gas emissions) are not being optimally addressed in scheme design and further development of such programmes is needed to reduce negative environmental impacts.
  • Exploring nitrogen indicators of farm performance among farm types across several European case studies

    Quemada, M.; Lassaletta, L.; Jensen, L.S.; Godinot, O.; Brentrup, F.; Buckley, C.; Foray, S.; Hvid, S.K.; Oenema, J.; Richards, K.G.; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-01)
    Nitrogen (N) indicators are key for characterizing farm performance, because of the role of N in food production and environmental sustainability. A systematic monitoring of N balance at the farm level could contribute to understanding differences in N management and impacts among farms and among regions. The objective of this study was to increase the understanding of differences in N indicators at the farm level across Europe, and to derive possible target values. Farm-level data were collected through surveys of 1240 farms from Atlantic, Continental and Mediterranean Europe, that were diverse rather tahn country representative. The data were analysed according to a common procedure, using three related indicators: N use efficiency (NUE, farm-gate ratio of N outputs to N inputs), N surplus and N output in agricultural products. Specific target values were derived for farm type (arable, dairy, pig and mixed farms) based on the statistical analysis of the data set. The effect of not accounting for N losses involved in the production of purchased feed and the end use of exported manure (externalisation) on the animal farm indicators was evaluated by recalculating inputs with adjusting factors. The results show a wide variation in NUE and N surplus, mainly related to differences in farming systems and management. Arable farms presented lower mean N input and surplus than livestock farms, and therefore had the highest median NUE. The modest targets (i.e. median of data) for arable farms were NUE 61% and N surplus 68 kg N ha−1, for dairy farms NUE 30% and N surplus 155 kg N ha−1, and for pig farms NUE 40% and N surplus 135 kg N ha−1. Externalisation had a large effect on animal farm indicators. After adjusting for externalisation, the modest target NUE for dairy farms was 19% and for pig farms 23%. Farms outside their agro-environmental optimum could approach their specific targets by increasing or reducing N inputs (intensification or extensification) or adopting additional strategies (sustainable intensification). In conclusion, N indicators were useful to compare farm performance among different farming systems and to define a characteristic operating space for a farm population, but caution should be taken when comparing livestock farms before externalisation adjustment, and consideration should be given to changes in soil N stocks. Farm system-specific targets for N indicators and linkages with the Common Agricultural Policy may create the necessary incentives to optimise NUE and reduce N losses to air and water.
  • Participation in agri-environmental schemes: A contingent valuation study of farmers in Ireland

    McGurk, Eoin; Hynes, Stephen; Thorne, Fiona (Elsevier, 2020-05-15)
    Agri-environment schemes (AES) are an important part of agricultural policy within Europe. They seek to achieve important goals with regards to biodiversity and the protection of natural resources while also helping to maintain culturally important landscapes and agricultural practices. Participation rates have been an important area of research into assessing the success of AES. Within Ireland and more broadly across Europe, systematic non-participation in AES has been observed. Certain farm and farmer types have been found more likely to participate. In this paper a contingent valuation exercise is conducted that assesses how AES payment levels impact on the participation decision of farmers. A bivariate probit with sample selection is utilised to account for farmers who are unwilling to participate regardless of payment levels. This allows for a more accurate estimation of farmer willingness-to-accept to participate in the hypothetical AES presented. It also offers insight into the characteristics of farmers who are unlikely to ever participate in these schemes. From the results it appears a significant proportion (30%) of farmers are unlikely to ever participate in AES, with the remaining open to participation depending on the compensation offered. It is argued that increased compensation levels may increase participation rates among some farmers who to date have been unlikely to participate.
  • Improving a land surface scheme for estimating sensible and latent heat fluxes above grasslands with contrasting soil moisture zones

    Ishola, Kazeem A.; Mills, Gerald; Fealy, Reamonn M.; Choncubhair, Órlaith Ní; Fealy, Rowan; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 2016076 (Elsevier, 2020-11-15)
    Knowledge of soil–vegetation–atmosphere energy exchange processes is essential for examining the response of agriculture to changes in climate in both the short and long term. However, there are relatively few sites where all the flux measurements necessary for evaluating these responses are available; where they exist, data are often incomplete and/or of limited duration. At the same time, there is often an extensive observation network available that has gathered key meteorological data (sunshine, wind, rainfall, etc.) over decades. Simulating the terms of the surface energy balance (SEB) using available meteorological, soil and vegetation data can improve our understanding of how agricultural systems respond to climate and how this response will vary spatially. Here, we employ a physically-based scheme to simulate the SEB fluxes over a mid-latitude, maritime temperate environment using routine weather observations. The latent heat flux is a critical SEB term as it incorporates the response of the plant to environmental conditions including available energy and soil water. This response is represented in modeling schemes through surface resistance (rs), which is usually expressed as a function of near-surface water vapor alone. In this study, we simulate the SEB over two grassland sites, where eddy flux observations are available, representing imperfectly- and poorly- drained soils. We employ three different formulations of rs, representing varying degrees of sophistication, to estimate the surface fluxes. Due to differences in soil moisture characteristics between the sites, we ultimately focused our attention on an rs formulation that accounted for soil water retention capacity, based on the Jarvis conductance model; the results at both hourly and daily intervals are in good agreement, with RMSE values of ≈ 40 W m−2 for sensible and latent heat fluxes at both sites. The findings show the potential value of using routine weather observations to generate the SEB where flux observations are not available and the importance of soil properties in estimating surface fluxes. These findings could contribute to the assessment of past and future climate change on grassland ecosystems.
  • Afforestation: Replacing livestock emissions with carbon sequestration

    Duffy, Colm; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Ryan, Mary; Styles, David; Spillane, Charles; Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship scheme; GOIPG/2015/3416 (Elsevier, 2020-06-15)
    In Ireland, agriculture accounts for 33% of national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Ireland faces significant challenges in terms of emissions reduction and is well off course in terms of meeting binding European Union targets. Flexibility mechanisms will allow Ireland to offset 5.6% of its commitment via sequestration in biomass and soils and land use change. Agricultural emissions in Ireland are largely driven by livestock production. As such, the purpose of this research is to estimate the net GHG emission benefit resulting from a land use change with forest replacing livestock systems (dairy, beef cattle and sheep). We estimate the total carbon sequestration in biomass and harvested wood products, along with the total emissions avoided from each livestock system on a per hectare basis. In addition, the paper compares the social cost of carbon to the average income per hectare of each livestock system. Finally, a hypothetical national planting scenario is modelled using plausible planting rates. Results indicate that the greatest carbon benefit is achieved when forest replaces dairy production. This is due to high emissions per hectare from dairy systems, and greater sequestration potential in higher-yielding forests planted on better quality soils associated with dairy production. The inclusion of harvested wood products in subsequent rotations has the potential to enhance GHG mitigation and offset terrestrial carbon loss. A hypothetical national planting scenario, afforesting 100,000 ha substituting dairy, beef cattle and sheep livestock systems could abate 13.91 Mt CO2e after 10 years, and 150.14 Mt CO2e (unthinned plantations) or 125.89 Mt CO2e (thinned plantations) over the course of the rotation. These results highlight the critical role for forest land use change in meeting the urgent need to tackle rising agricultural emissions.
  • Is a scientific career in agri-food considered viable for girls in secondary school?

    Hyland, John; Boyle, Catriona; Ferguson, Eimear; Teagasc (Teagasc, 2023-12)
    The Festival of Farming and Food 2022 was organised by Teagasc as part of Science Week. A key finding from the previous year’s evaluation of the event was that girls viewed science as a male-dominated career. Therefore, the 2022 festival was partially evaluated through a focus group (eight participants) with Transition Year (TY) students from an all-girls school who attended the Climate and Farming event at Teagasc Moorepark. The focus group with the TY students also served to investigate perceptions of girls towards science as a career path.

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