Changing farm practices to meet climate goals will require “incentives and supports” as well as “training and financial resources”, the chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) Marie Donnelly has stated.

But she cautioned that agriculture has used up 44% of its sectoral emissions ceiling over the first two years of the carbon budget period and that further emissions reductions will be necessary for the industry to remain within its limits up to 2025.

Donnelly was reacting to the findings of the recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report which found agriculture could cut emissions by as much as 18% to 19.1m tonnes by 2030, if a range of additional measures set out in the Teagasc MACC and Climate Action Plan 2024 are implemented.

These include the adoption of low emission slurry spreading, covering of all slurry stores, increased adoption of protected urea, limiting the use of straight urea, rewetting of some peat soils, lowering cattle slaughter ages and cutting crude protein in animal diets.

“The [CCAC] council has reviewed a number of scientific options and new farm management practices, as well as sources of diversified income for farmers to achieve the emissions reduction required,” Donnelly told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“Embedding these changes at farm level will require the provision of appropriate incentives and supports, including advisory services, training and financial resources,” she insisted.

Marie Donnelly, chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council.