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The Impact of Achieving Targets set out in Food Harvest 2020 on Nitrogen and Phosphorus Usage Noel Culleton.

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Presentation on theme: "The Impact of Achieving Targets set out in Food Harvest 2020 on Nitrogen and Phosphorus Usage Noel Culleton."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Impact of Achieving Targets set out in Food Harvest 2020 on Nitrogen and Phosphorus Usage Noel Culleton

2 Food Harvest 2020 Targets  Increase value of primary output by € 1.5 billion  50% increase in milk output  Increase in output value of 20% in beef and sheep  No targets for cereals

3 Principles and Issues around Sustainable Fertiliser Usage  Maximising output from grassland  Soil phosphorus (P) balances and spreading strategies  Environmental challenges to FH 2020

4 Maximising Output From Grassland  Grass grazed efficiently is cheapest feed source  Remain competitive by reducing concentrate and silage fed  Productive grassland depends on adequate soil fertility “To achieve FH 2020 targets by maximising grass output, rather than increasing concentrate feed, means that maintaining soil fertility is vital”

5 Soil Nutrient Balances and Fertiliser Strategies Table 1. The Phosphorus Index Soil P Index Soil P Range GrasslandOther Crops 1< >8.0>10.0  Phosphorus maintenance and build up  Concept of P balance  P balance and stocking rate

6 Environmental Challenges to FH 2020  Grassland and nutrient cycling  Environmental issues: Water quality Climate Change Biodiversity

7 Water Quality  Nitrates Directive vs. Water Framework Directive  Negotiations on water quality vs. Increasing fertiliser use - (P balance)  Source verification

8 Climate Change  Proportionate burden sharing across sectors poses a threat to 2020 targets  This threat must be challenged: No increases in stock numbers (FAPRI) Emissions per kg of product are low Forestry may help resolve issue More efficiencies to be found in farming

9 Biodiversity  Will a reduction in biodiversity pose a threat to achieving targets ? unlikely!!  Template needed to find local solutions to local problems, with mechanisms for cost benefit analyses  Nationally, stocking rates are still low  More regulation in high conservation areas  Opportunities for more biodiversity on intensive farms

10 Predicted Impact of FH 2020 on Phosphorus Usage Methodology: 1. CSO data for milk and beef in reference years ( ) 2. 50% increase in milk sales 3. FAPRI data used for beef and sheep production in P offtakes as reported by Coulter and Lalor (2008) 5. Cereal production in as recorded by CSO 6. Cereal production in 2020 as predicted by FAPRI 7. Calculations based on p balance - adequate soil p status is assumed

11 P offtakes Table 2. Estimated Phosphorus Offtakes (tonnes per year) in Milk, Beef and Tillage Production Type Phosphorus offtake (tonnes) Reference Years2020 Change in P offtakes Tillage*8,3016,953-1,348 Meat10,86011, Milk4,93474,01+2,467 Total P offtake24,09525,754+1,649 % Change+6.9%  *Tillage figure based on FAPRI estimate of 18% reduction in tillage area  P offtakes kg/ha/yr in each enterprise Beef4-6 kg Milk10-14 kg Tillage30-40 kg

12 Soil P Fertility Table 3. % of Soils in each Soil Index Category Index Source: Plunkett 2012

13 Future Soil P Fertility Table 4. Speculative data on soil P status from 2007 to 2020, based on estimated data and linearly extrapolated projections from Table 3 Index % change per year 2020 (Projected)

14 Implications of Poor Fertility  1.5 t DM per ha less at Index 1 than at Index 3 (Teagasc)  Table 4 implies that an additional 750,000 ha of grassland will revert to Index 1  Therefore there will be approx. 1 million tonnes of grass DM less than current output  If output is to be maintained, extra concentrates must be fed

15 Issues that need to be addressed  Phosphorus is a finite resource (Cordell et al.,2009)  Sustainable P usage by farmers  Water quality cannot be ignored  More knowledge: Soil chemistry P recycling Soil type and recommendations Overland flow prevention measures

16 Predicted Impact Of FH 2020 on Nitrogen Usage  Predicted livestock numbers  Predicted changes in land use in 2020  Predicted fertiliser nitrogen for grazing livestock in 2020

17 Livestock Numbers Table 5. Predicted Livestock Numbers in 2020 ‘000 Head Reference Years FH 2020% Change Total Cattle % Dairy cows % Other cows % Total Sheep % Source: FAPRI-Ireland Predictions, Donnellan and Hanrahan,2011

18 Land Use Change Table 6. Predicted changes in % of land used by different enterprises in 2020 Enterprise Reference Years FH 2020% Change Dairy30.1 %35.5 %+ 18 % Cattle46.7 %43.0 %- 8 % Sheep13.8 % 0 % Tillage9.4 %7.7 %- 18 % Sources : FAPRI 2011 ; Farm Management Survey 2011; Fertiliser Use Survey 2008

19 Assumptions and Calculations  Farmers moving out of beef and tillage will move into dairying  The extra land available to dairying will moderate stocking rates to a 10 % increase  Stocking rate increases will occur across all stocking rate groupings

20 Table 7. Nitrogen Fertiliser Use on the Dairy Grazing Platform under FH 2020 Scenario

21 Nitrogen Projections  Mean N use for dairying will increase by 18 %  50% of cows will be in the kg/ha of organic N grouping resulting in a 24 % increase in N usage  More scope for lowly stocked farms (<170 kg/ha of organic N) to increase cow numbers compared to highly stocked farms due to land availability and Nitrate Directive restrictions.  Significant increases in cow numbers at high stocking rates, requiring derogations.

22 Nitrogen Fertiliser Table 8. National Nitrogen Fertiliser Use mean N fert use (kg/ha) distribution of total N fert use FH 2020 mean N fert use (kg/ha) FH 2020 change in total N fert use FH 2020 distribution of total N fert use Dairy % Cattle % Sheep % Tillage % Weighted Mean FH 2020 Total N Fertiliser Use (% of reference years) 116 %

23 Summary and Conclusions (1) 1. There will be 2,467 extra tonnes of p removed per year from dairying. To maintain soil fertility this must be replaced 2. Due to the projected decline in area under tillage p use should decline by approx 17 %. this may be a pessimistic view 3. Modest increase in P usage in beef systems - approx. 540 tonnes per year 4. Over all increase in P usage in use of 6.9 % 5. The % of soils in Index 1 and 2 have increased from 40 % to 55 % in the last 5 years

24 Summary and Conclusions (2) 6. If we extrapolate this decline to 2020, there will be 47 % of soils in Index 1 and 37 % of soils in Index 2 7. There is a decline in yield of 1.5 t DM/ha/yr from Index 3 to Index 1. This means a reduction of 1 million tonnes of grass DM per year, should this decline continue.  Extra concentrates will be required to replace this grass  This will result in a decline in competitiveness 8. Need for an awareness campaign to highlight the importance of P to the industry. Point out that there need not be a deterioration in water quality when P usage is increased, if good farm practice is adhered to 9. Urgently need more technical information on P cycling/ chemistry/ recommendations and measures to prevent overland flow

25 Summary and Conclusions (3) 10. Trends in n use are more difficult to predict % increase in N use in dairying, due to increases in stocking rates 12. Little change in n usage in beef or sheep 13. Decline in N use in tillage, due to predicted reduction in tillage area. This scenario may not arise 14. Nitrogen use in the whole sector is projected to increase by approximately 16 % 15. The major change is in the dairy sector 16. In , Dairy used 53% of the total N. By 2020,dairying is projected to use 64 % of the total N

26 Summary and Conclusions (4) 17. Research on improving N recovery/ recycling needs to be expanded 18. The projected fertiliser increases in usage in this paper can be achieved without breaking the Nitrates Directive regulations. The P increases are due to increased output and maintaining P balances 19. The extra nitrogen is needed to maintain the increased stocking rates that are still within the organic nitrogen thresholds outlined in the Nitrates Directive.


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