• The 2003 CAP reform: Do decoupled payments affect agricultural production?

      Howley, Peter; Hanrahan, Kevin; Donnellan, Trevor (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2009)
      The move from coupled payment policy instruments to payments that are decoupled from production have made estimating future trends in agricultural output much more challenging. Using a dynamic multi product partial equilibrium model, the overall aim of this paper is to examine the potential supply inducing effect of decoupled payments. This issue is important in the context of WTO negotiations, and, in particular, in discussions surrounding the appropriateness of decoupled payments being included as a ‘green box’ policy. The results suggest that farm operators, to a large extent, do not treat these payments as fully decoupled and they do in fact maintain a strong supply inducing effect on agricultural production. Findings suggest, however, that this trade distorting effect is less than previously coupled payments.
    • 583 Evidence-based social learning for safety and health promotion among irish dairy farmers

      O'Connor, T; Meredith, D; Kinsella, J; McNamara, J (BMJ Journals, 2018-04-24)
      Introduction Farming is an occupation that incurs high rates of occupational injuries and illness, including fatalities. Internationally, legislative approaches to improve agricultural occupational safety and health (OSH) practices have been inconsistent in achieving those objectives. Many alternative initiatives to influence agricultural OSH practices have been developed, frequently emphasising information provision. In Ireland, evaluation of information provision approaches, such as classroom-based learning, has found that this is ineffective for improving agricultural OSH practices. However, peer-based learning using communities of practice (COPs), such as Teagasc dairy farmer discussion groups, presents a promising context for agricultural OSH promotion in Ireland. Research has established the efficacy of farmer discussion groups for promoting adoption of novel technologies and production practices. Little research has been undertaken to assess whether they are effective for promoting agricultural OSH practices. This paper describes the extent to which Teagasc dairy discussion groups engage with agricultural OSH, and identifies the characteristics associated with agricultural OSH engagement. The results are evaluated with respect to the existing literature regarding effective social learning for farming and OSH promotion, to assess the suitability of these COPs for agricultural OSH promotion. Methods Information about discussion group characteristics and engagement with OSH topics was collected using a survey of Teagasc dairy discussion group members, and a survey of Teagasc dairy discussion group facilitators. The statistical software R was used to assess variation in discussion group engagement with OSH, and the group characteristics statistically associated with that variation. Result Analysis of the results is ongoing and will be completed in September 2017. Discussion The findings of this study, including the evaluation framework developed from literature review, can contribute to effective agricultural OSH promotion in Ireland, and internationally. This is especially true for other countries with existing farmer COPs, such as farmer discussion groups in New Zealand and Wales.
    • AGMEMOD Outlook for Agricultural and Food Markets in EU Member States 2018-2030

      Salomon, Petra; Banse, Martin; Donellan, Trevor; Hass, Marlen; Jongeneel, Roel; Laquai, Verena; van Leeuwen, Myrna; Reziti, Ioanna; Salputra, Guna; Zirngibl, Max-Emanuel; et al. (2020-07-31)
      Policy, administration and industry need medium-term projections of the expected developments in the agri-food markets for their decision-making processes. The EU Commission presents such projections for the EU as a whole in December of each year. Those projections and their assumptions regarding policy and macroeconomic developments are depicted to the level of individual EU Member States with the exception of Luxembourg, which is included in the figures of Belgium, by applying the partial equilibrium model AGMEMOD. The working paper briefly describes the approach to establish projections for the EU Member States. The projections cover the markets of main agricultural products, in particular for cereals and oilseeds (rapeseed and sunflower seed), livestock (cattle, pigs, goats and sheep), meat (beef, pork, and poultry), milk and dairy products (drinking milk, butter, cheese, skimmed milk powder, whole milk and semiskimmed milk powder). The outcomes comprise items like areas, livestock numbers, yields, production, trade and use, as well as prices. The individual projection results are displayed in tables.
    • AgriBenchmark: Benchmarking Sustainable Nutrient Management on Irish Farms

      Murphy, Paul N.C.; Thomas, Ian; Buckley, Cathal; Kelly, Edel; Dillon, Emma; Hennessy, Thia; Environmental Protection Agency (2020-10-14)
      AgriBenchmark explored the possibilities for benchmarking of nutrient management performance on Irish farms. Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) data (2008–2015; 1446 farms) were used to characterise and explore the potential for improvement of farm nutrient management performance and resultant aspects of environmental and economic sustainability through the derivation of three key performance indicators (KPIs) at the farm-gate level: farm nutrient balance (kgha–1), nutrient use efficiency (NUE; %) and profitability (gross margin; €ha–1). In this report, the farm nutrient balance is defined as the farm-gate nutrient imports (fertiliser, feed, animals, etc.) minus the exports (animals, crops, wool and milk). A positive balance (surplus) is considered to represent a nutrient source pressure in terms of the risk of nutrient losses to the wider environment. The data and analyses in this report cover the main, more intensive agricultural systems in Ireland (excluding pig and poultry farms) and are representative of, on average, 61% of farms nationally and 76% of the total utilised agriculture area (UAA; excluding commonage).
    • The agricultural impact of the 2015–2016 floods in Ireland as mapped through Sentinel 1 satellite imagery

      O'Hara, Rob; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, 2019-10-11)
      Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research | Volume 58: Issue 1 The agricultural impact of the 2015–2016 floods in Ireland as mapped through Sentinel 1 satellite imagery R. O’Haraemail , S. Green and T. McCarthy DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/ijafr-2019-0006 | Published online: 11 Oct 2019 PDF       Abstract Article PDF References Recommendations Abstract The capability of Sentinel 1 C-band (5 cm wavelength) synthetic aperture radio detection and ranging (RADAR) (abbreviated as SAR) for flood mapping is demonstrated, and this approach is used to map the extent of the extensive floods that occurred throughout the Republic of Ireland in the winter of 2015–2016. Thirty-three Sentinel 1 images were used to map the area and duration of floods over a 6-mo period from November 2015 to April 2016. Flood maps for 11 separate dates charted the development and persistence of floods nationally. The maximum flood extent during this period was estimated to be ~24,356 ha. The depth of rainfall influenced the magnitude of flood in the preceding 5 d and over more extended periods to a lesser degree. Reduced photosynthetic activity on farms affected by flooding was observed in Landsat 8 vegetation index difference images compared to the previous spring. The accuracy of the flood map was assessed against reports of flooding from affected farms, as well as other satellite-derived maps from Copernicus Emergency Management Service and Sentinel 2. Monte Carlo simulated elevation data (20 m resolution, 2.5 m root mean square error [RMSE]) were used to estimate the flood’s depth and volume. Although the modelled flood height showed a strong correlation with the measured river heights, differences of several metres were observed. Future mapping strategies are discussed, which include high–temporal-resolution soil moisture data, as part of an integrated multisensor approach to flood response over a range of spatial scales.
    • Agriculture, Rural Development and Potential for a ‘Middle Agriculture’ in Ireland

      Macken-Walsh, Aine (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010-03)
      This paper gives a brief overview of current farm viability in Ireland and summarises some of the main ‘barriers’ to farm families’ engagement in contemporary rural development programmes. Against this backdrop, the paper discusses the potential of a middle agriculture model for rural development. The capacity of such a model to address some of the economic, social and cultural predicaments of Irish family farms is outlined. The potential of the model is also discussed in terms of how it may respond to contemporary EC rural development policy priority objectives.
    • Alternative uses for co-products: Harnessing the potential of valuable compounds from meat processing chains

      Mullen, Anne Maria; Álvarez García, Carlos; Zeugolis, Dimitrios; Henchion, Maeve; O'Neill, Eileen; Drummond, Liana; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; 11/F/043 (Elsevier, 03/05/2017)
      Opportunities for exploiting the inherent value of protein-rich meat processing co-products, in the context of increased global demand for protein and for sustainable processing systems, are discussed. While direct consumption maybe the most profitable route for some, this approach is influenced greatly by local and cultural traditions. A more profitable and sustainable approach may be found in recognizing this readily available and under-utilised resource can provide high value components, such as proteins, with targeted high value functionality of relevance to a variety of sectors. Applications in food & beverages, petfood biomedical and nutrition arenas are discussed. Utilization of the raw material in its entirety is a necessary underlying principle in this approach to help maintain minimum waste generation. Understanding consumer attitudes to these products, in particular when used in food or beverage systems, is critical in optimizing commercialization strategies.
    • Anthelmintic-resistant nematodes in Irish commercial sheep flocks- the state of play

      Good, Barbara; Hanrahan, James P; de Waal, Daniel Theodorus; Patten, Thomas; Kinsella, Andrew; Lynch, Ciaran Oliver (Biomed Central, 2012-12-22)
      Anthelmintic resistance has been reported in most sheep producing countries. Prior to the mid 1990s, reports of anthelmintic resistance in Ireland were sparse and focused on benzimidazole, one of the three classes of anthelmintic available during this period. This evidence for efficacy issues on Irish farms combined with awareness that anthelmintic resistance was increasingly being reported in other countries prompted the need for more comprehensive investigations on Irish farms. Faecal egg count reduction and micro-agar larval development tests were employed to investigate resistance to benzimidazole, levamisole and macrocyclic lactone. There is compelling evidence for resistance to both benzimidazole (>88% of flocks) and levamisole (>39% of flocks). Resistance of nematode populations to macrocyclic lactone was suspected on a small number of farms (11%) but needs to be confirmed. The recent introduction of two new classes of anthelmintics, after over a 25 year interval, together with the evidence that anthelmintic resistance is reported within a relatively short time following the introduction of a new anthelmintic compound means that the challenge to the industry is immediate. Actions are urgently required to manage anthelmintic resistance so as to prolong the lifespan of anthelmintics.
    • Application of data envelopment analysis to measure technical efficiency on a sample of Irish dairy farms

      Kelly, Eoin; Shalloo, Laurence; Geary, Una; Kinsella, Anne; Wallace, Michael (Teagasc, 2012-12)
      The aim of this study was to determine the levels of technical efficiency on a sample of Irish dairy farms utilizing Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and to identify key management and production factors that differ between producers indentified as efficient and inefficient. DEA was used in this study to generate technical efficiency scores under assumptions of both constant returns to scale (CRS) and variable returns to scale (VRS). The average technical efficiency score was 0.785 under CRS and 0.833 under VRS. Key production characteristics of efficient and inefficient producers were compared using an analysis of variance. More technically efficient producers used less input per unit of output, had higher production per cow and per hectare and had a longer grazing season, a higher milk quality standard, were more likely to have participated in milk recording and had greater land quality compared to the inefficient producers.
    • Assessing the Geographic Representativity of Farm Accountancy Data

      green, stuart; O'Donoghue, Cathal (MDPI AG., Basel, Switzerland, 06/02/2013)
      The environment affects agriculture, via soils, weather, etc. and agriculture affects the environment locally at farm level and via its impact on climate change. Locating agriculture within its spatial environment is thus important for farmers and policy makers. Within the EU countries collect detailed farm data to understand the technical and financial performance of farms; the Farm Accountancy Data Network. However, knowledge of the spatial-environmental context of these farms is reported at gross scale. In this paper, Irish farm accounting data is geo-referenced using address matching to a national address database. An analysis of the geographic distribution of the survey farms, illustrated through a novel 2D ranked pair plot of the coordinates, compared to the national distribution of farms shows a trend in the location of survey farms that leads to a statistical difference in the climatic variables associated with the farm. The farms in the survey have significantly higher accumulated solar radiation values than the national average. As a result, the survey may not be representative spatially of the pattern of environment x farm system. This could have important considerations when using FADN data in modelling climate change impacts on agri-economic performance.
    • Assessing the role of artificially drained agricultural land for climate change mitigation in Ireland

      Paul, Carsten; Fealy, Reamonn; Fenton, Owen; Lanigan, Gary; O'Sullivan, Lilian; Schulte, Rogier P.; Irish Dairy Research Fund; Teagasc Greenhouse Gas Working Group; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Elsevier, 2017-12-19)
      In 2014 temperate zone emission factor revisions were published in the IPCC Wetlands Supplement. Default values for direct CO2 emissions of artificially drained organic soils were increased by a factor of 1.6 for cropland sites and by factors ranging from 14 to 24 for grassland sites. This highlights the role of drained organic soils as emission hotspots and makes their rewetting more attractive as climate change mitigation measures. Drainage emissions of humic soils are lower on a per hectare basis and not covered by IPCC default values. However, drainage of great areas can turn them into nationally relevant emission sources. National policy making that recognizes the importance of preserving organic and humic soils’ carbon stock requires data that is not readily available. Taking Ireland as a case study, this article demonstrates how a dataset of policy relevant information can be generated. Total area of histic and humic soils drained for agriculture, resulting greenhouse gas emissions and climate change mitigation potential were assessed. For emissions from histic soils, calculations were based on IPCC emission factors, for humic soils, a modified version of the ECOSSE model was used. Results indicated 370,000 ha of histic and 426,000 ha of humic soils under drained agricultural land use in Ireland (8% and 9% of total farmed area). Calculated annual drainage emissions were 8.7 Tg CO2e from histic and 1.8 Tg CO2e from humic soils (equal to 56% of Ireland’s agricultural emissions in 2014, excluding emissions from land use). If half the area of drained histic soils was rewetted, annual saving would amount to 3.2 Tg CO2e. If on half of the deep drained, nutrient rich grasslands drainage spacing was decreased to control the average water table at −25 cm or higher, annual savings would amount to 0.4 Tg CO2e.
    • An Assessment of the Irish Speciality Food Enterprises’ use of the Internet as a Marketing Tool

      Canavan, Orla; Henchion, Maeve; O'Reilly, Seamus; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, 01/04/2005)
      This study set out to explore the role of the Internet as a marketing tool for Irish speciality food producers and to research on-line speciality food sales as a business opportunity. The project achieved this through a combination of consumer focus groups, a producer web audit, producer depth interviews and an e-mailed on-line producer survey. Irish consumers acknowledged potential for on-line sales of Irish speciality food products to export and gift markets; however they could not see significant advantages for on-line sales in the domestic market. Experience with the product (and consequent importance of the purchase experience), the high delivery cost of an already premium priced product and difficulties associated with receipt of deliveries were identified as the main reasons for not purchasing on-line.
    • An assessment of the Irish speciality food enterprises’ use of the internet as a marketing tool

      Canavan, Orla; Henchion, Maeve; O'Reilly, Seamus (Teagasc, 2005-04)
      This study set out to explore the role of the Internet as a marketing tool for Irish speciality food producers and to research on-line speciality food sales as a business opportunity. The project achieved this through a combination of consumer focus groups, a producer web audit, producer depth interviews and an e-mailed on-line producer survey. Irish consumers acknowledged potential for on-line sales of Irish speciality food products to export and gift markets; however they could not see significant advantages for on-line sales in the domestic market. Experience with the product (and consequent importance of the purchase experience), the high delivery cost of an already premium priced product and difficulties associated with receipt of deliveries were identified as the main reasons for not purchasing on-line.
    • Assessment of water-limited winter wheat yield potential at spatially contrasting sites in Ireland using a simple growth and development model

      Lynch, J.P.; Fealy, Reamonn; Doyle, D.; Black, L.; Spink, John; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 19/09/2017)
      Although Irish winter wheat yields are among the highest globally, increases in the profitability of this crop are required to maintain its economic viability. However, in order to determine if efforts to further increase Irish wheat yields are likely to be successful, an accurate estimation of the yield potential is required for different regions within Ireland. A winter wheat yield potential model (WWYPM) was developed, which estimates the maximum water-limited yield achievable, within the confines of current genetic resources and technologies, using parameters for winter wheat growth and development observed recently in Ireland and a minor amount of daily meteorological input (maximum and minimum daily temperature, total daily rainfall and total daily incident radiation). The WWYPM is composed of three processes: (i) an estimation of potential green area index, (ii) an estimation of light interception and biomass accumulation and (iii) an estimation of biomass partitioning to grain yield. Model validation indicated that WWYPM estimations of water-limited yield potential (YPw) were significantly related to maximum yields recorded in variety evaluation trials as well as regional average and maximum farm yields, reflecting the model’s sensitivity to alterations in the climatic environment with spatial and seasonal variations. Simulations of YPw for long-term average weather data at 12 sites located at spatially contrasting regions of Ireland indicated that the typical YPw varied between 15.6 and 17.9 t/ha, with a mean of 16.7 t/ha at 15% moisture content. These results indicate that the majority of sites in Ireland have the potential to grow high-yielding crops of winter wheat when the effects of very high rainfall and other stresses such as disease incidence and nutrient deficits are not considered.
    • Barriers to Change: a Sociological study of Rural Development in Ireland

      Macken-Walsh, Aine; ICERTS Marine Beaufort Marine Award (Teagasc, 01/06/2009)
      Teagasc’s Rural Economy Research Centre (RERC) and Rural Development Advisory Unit initiated a research project in 2006 to investigate the ‘Barriers to Change’ experienced by farmers and fishers in adapting to challenges arising from a changed rural development mandate. Economic models developed by the organisation predicted farmers’ exodus over time from nonviable farming enterprises and in response to shifts towards postproductivist policies. A significant proportion of farmers, however, are continuing with what are officially categorised as nonviable farms and are slow to become involved in economic activities in line with the contemporary rural development agenda. In this light, the ‘Barriers to Change’ project was designed to explore the sociocultural inhibitors to farmers’ engagement. The project also incorporated a casestudy analysis of a fishing community whose members are experiencing similar ‘barriers’.
    • Barriers to uptake of technology in animal production

      Macken-Walsh, Aine (Teagasc, 2019-12-06)
      Presentation from the Joint Teagasc-SRUC Conference "Rural Futures II: Towards sustainable solutions for Ruminant Pastoral Agricultural Systems in Scotland and Ireland"
    • Can technology help achieve sustainable intensification? Evidence from milk recording on Irish dairy farms

      Balaine, Lorraine; Dillon, Emma J.; Läpple, Doris; Lynch, John; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; University of Oxford; 14/ 889; 205212/Z/16/Z (Elsevier BV, 2020-03)
      This article explores the potential of a farm technology to simultaneously improve farm efficiency and provide wider environmental and social benefits. Identifying these ‘win-win-win’ strategies and encouraging their widespread adoption is critical to achieve sustainable intensification. Using a nationally representative sample of 296 Irish dairy farms from 2015, propensity score matching is applied to measure the impact of milk recording on a broad set of farm sustainability indicators. The findings reveal that the technology enhances economic sustainability by increasing dairy gross margin and milk yield per cow. Furthermore, social sustainability is improved through a reduction in milk bulk tank somatic cell count (an indicator of animal health and welfare status). Conversely, milk recording (as it is currently implemented) does not impact farm environmental sustainability, represented by greenhouse gas emission efficiency. While the study shows that milk recording is a ‘win-win’ strategy, ways of improving current levels of utilisation are discussed so that milk recording achieves its ‘win-win-win’ potential in the future.
    • Can’t See the Wood for the Trees: The Returns to Farm Forestry in Ireland

      Breen, J.; Clancy, D.; Ryan, Mary; Wallace, Michael (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      The period 2007-2009 witnessed considerable variability in the price of outputs such as milk and cereals and this was compounded by a high degree of volatility in the price of inputs such as fertilizer, animal feed and energy. Previously, Irish farms have used the returns to off-farm employment as well as agricultural support payments such as the Single Farm Payment (SFP) and the Rural Environmental Protection Scheme (REPS) to protect their living standards against low and uncertain agricultural market returns. However, the downturn in the Irish economy has led to a reduction in the availability of off-farm employment and also the discontinuation of REPS. This may lead to an increase in afforestation on Irish farms, as forestry offers greater certainty through the provision of an annual premium in addition to the SFP. However, the decision to afforest represents a significant long-term investment decision that should not be entered into without careful economic consideration. The aim of this paper is to use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) analysis method to calculate the returns to forestry under alternative opportunity costs associated with conventional agricultural activities being superseded. The returns to forestry are calculated using the Forestry Investment Value Estimator (FIVE). These returns were then incorporated in the DCF model along with the returns to five conventional agricultural enterprises, which would potentially be superseded by forestry. This approach allows for the calculation of the Net Present Value (NPV) of three forestry scenarios.
    • CAP reform post 2013: Examining the equity dimensions of agricultural support.

      Howley, Peter; Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; European Commission; SSPE-CT-2005-021543 (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2009)
      Using a dynamic multi-product partial equilibrium model, this paper firstly examines the potential impact of recent policy changes accruing from the mid term review of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2003 on the cattle and sheep sectors in Ireland. Secondly, this paper evaluates the potential impact of the implementation of a CAP budget neutral, common EU flat area payment across all Member States. The European Commission has signalled that it will be evaluating current differences in the level of support between Member States as, for example, in the explanatory memorandum accompanying the Commission’s Health Check proposals the Commission argues that it is “increasingly harder to justify the legitimacy of significant individual differences in the support level which are only based on past support” (CEC, 2008; p.18). This paper demonstrates how there are significant differences in the level of CAP payments per hectare across Member States, as generally farmers in more prosperous Western and Nordic countries receive a much higher level of payment per hectare than farmers in relatively poorer Central and Eastern European countries. In relation to Ireland, similar to most other EU-15 countries, farmers benefit from the current inequitable distribution of payments and the results indicate that any move towards equalising the level of payments per hectare will have a significant negative impact on agricultural production and net trade.
    • Cap reform: implications for Ireland

      Howley, Peter; Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; European Commission (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2009)
      Increasingly farmers can be viewed as multifunctional providers of a range of commodity and non-commodity goods that are valued by society. Changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) such as the shift towards decoupled payments not only have significant effects on agriculture but also rural areas and society more generally. Given that the CAP is likely to be the most significant driving force for change in the Irish countryside, it will be important to assess the impact of policy changes. Using a dynamic, multi-product, partial equilibrium model, this paper firstly examines the potential impact of recent policy changes accruing from the Mid-Term Review of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In addition, this paper highlights additional potential reforms of the CAP and discusses their implications for the Irish agricultural sector.