Agriculture accounts for approximately 30% of Irish greenhouse gas production with most of the remainder being contributed by the transport and domestic sectors, Ireland is committed to reducing GHG emissions by 20% by 2020.
Agriculture emissions are in steady decline and are currently 9% lower than in 1990. The Irish grass based beef production systems are relatively carbon efficient. While agricultural emissions are difficult to reduce farmers who adapt a number of practices and technologies can significantly improve efficiency, improve profitability and lower GHG emissions.
The Carbon Navigator is an online farm management package produced by Bord Bia and Teagasc that quantifies the environmental gains that can be made on an individual’s farm. Each BDGP participant must complete a Beef Carbon Navigator by 31st October 2016.
The first completion of the Carbon Navigator must be undertaken in conjunction with an approved advisor.
The Department will cover the cost of the approved advisor for the completion of the Carbon Navigator.
The farmer’s cost is incorporated into the annual BDGP payment.
Beef Carbon Navigator
The navigator quantifies the environmental gains that can be made on each applicant’s farm by setting targets in key areas such as grassland management. It is a very useful and simple tool which allows individual farmers to look at changes which can be made on their farm in areas such as the length of the grazing season or their average calving rate, and then illustrates what that change would mean in terms of reduced GHG emissions from his/her herd and the increased profitability associated with such a change.
Specifically in 2016 each participant is required to provide details that highlight how a farm’s GHG emissions can be reduced. The areas covered are as follows:
- Longer grazing season,
- Younger age at first calving,
- Higher calving rate,
- Improved growth rates,
- Nitrogen efficiency, and
- Slurry management.
The report compares your farm performance with other similar farms and highlights the potential impact on income and GHG emissions of reaching the targets set.
Following on from the initial completion in 2016, applicants must submit data annually to allow for an update of the carbon navigator. This data will be submitted via survey forms issued by the ICBF to each applicant and will cover areas such as (1) grazing season length, (2) fertiliser use, and (3) slurry spreading.
Process for BDGP Participants
The Department through a service provider, Teagasc, have trained qualified advisors on the process of completing a carbon navigator. Details of trained advisors are available on the Department’s website.
Individual BDGP participants should select an advisor of their choice form the list and make an appointment to complete their navigator. The advisor will assist the farmer in the completion of the navigator in 2016 (before October 31st) and also provide farmers with an overview of the benefits associated with reaching the individual targets set out in the navigator. The farmer is then expected to complete the navigator in each of the following years either online or through the submission of key data as set out above.
Link to current list of advisors qualified to complete a carbon navigator for BDGP participants here.
Useful Contact Details
Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine:
Phone Number – 076 1064423.
Email Address – Beefschemes@agriculture.gov.ie
Phone Number – 059 9170200.
Phone Number – 1850 625 626
Email Address – firstname.lastname@example.org