“Don’t overlook the technologies already available to reduce emissions” – these are the words of Teagasc’s dairy knowledge transfer manager, Dr. Joe Patton.

Dr. Patton was talking to Agriland editor Stella Meehan on the Agriland live stream at the National Plowing Championships today (Wednesday, September 21).


Second day of Agriland live stream covering the 2022 tillage focused on sustainability in the agricultural sector as it strives to meet emissions reduction targets.

Joining the livestream, Dr. Patton spoke about Teagasc’s Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC): “The MACC has been a very useful tool in describing the technologies needed so far.

“It’s important that farmers and industry don’t wait for new technologies that are currently being explored to implement what we already know.

The MACC curve has a total of 14 cost-effective, neutral and cost-effective mitigation measures to reduce agricultural emissions, including methane and nitrous oxide, according to the authority.

These measures are expected to reduce emissions by 1.85 MT of carbon dioxide equivalent per year between 2021 and 2030, if implemented.

The main contributors to the reduction are the use of protected urea, the improvement of the dairy economic index (EBI) and the spreading of low-emission slurry (LESS).

Joe Patton speaking on the Agriland livestream

Reduction of emissions

Dr Patton said it is often tempting to wait and see what comes next, but there are many things farmers should be doing now.

He said: “Farmers will have heard them all, like type of fertilizer, clover and more.

“Where do we go next is the big question. There is a huge amount of work going on at Teagasc and it complements the work that is being done internationally.

“Around the soil carbon issue, the genetic issue for beef and dairy, people are also talking a lot about additives – almost hoping for a silver bullet.

“There is a big challenge there. At the moment, what we are saying is that there is a lot of work going on. However, we need a little time and patience on this.

In summary, Dr Patton said, “But don’t discount what we already have at our disposal.”