The Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr Charlie McConalogue T.D., today launched a major investment of €10 million in a pilot Soil Sampling and Analysis Programme. This substantial programme is aimed at putting soil carbon, soil health and fertility at the very centre of our future agricultural model.

Minister McConalogue said, “Our farmers know that a healthy soil is the bedrock for all farming be it livestock, tillage or horticulture. A healthy soil equals a healthy crops and grass and this equals healthy livestock  Having knowledge about soils on our farms and using the knowledge to drive soil health will improve both the economic and environmental sustainability of farms. 

“I am pleased to announce my Department’s support for the Pilot Soil Sampling and Analysis Programme to establish national baseline information on soils across Irish farms.”

Minister McConalogue added, “As well as thesoil fertility and soil pathogen assessment, the programme will measure baseline soil carbon levels which will guide future actions to support carbon farming. It will also provide the basis for the next generation of soil-specific nutrient management advice and underpin targeted fertiliser and organic manure applications (right nutrient type, right application rate, right time and right place) across all farming systems in Ireland.”

Our soils will play an important role in meeting our water, air, climate and biodiversity targets of both the CAP and Green Deal.  This sampling programme will provide farmers with the critical information to make farm management decisions from improving nutrient use efficiency to soil carbon levels in our soils. Advisors will be up-skilled to assist farmers in translating the results of the programme into meaningful guidance for farmers. In this way, the pilot programme will realise the potential of managing soils on Irish farms.

Minister McConalogue emphasised: “Soil health and nutrient management are high on my Department’s priorities and feature strongly in commitments of the Programme for Government therefore this pilot programme is an important first step in delivering on these. It is also in line with my Department’s Action Plan 2021.”